After speaking with the Classification Board we can confirm that the rumours currently flying around the internet are correct - Mortal Kombat has been refused classification in Australia.
We've just received a statement from Warner Brothers which states the following.
The highly anticipated video game Mortal Kombat, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) in Australia, has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board and will not release in Australia. We are extremely disappointed that Mortal Kombat, one of the world's oldest and most successful video games franchises, will not be available to mature Australian gamers. WBIE would not market mature content where it is not appropriate for the audience. We understand that not all content is for every audience, but there is an audience for mature gaming content and it would make more sense to have the R18+ classification in Australia. As a member of the iGEA, WBIE is reviewing all options available at this time.
Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association had this to say:
The granting of another RC to a video game clearly designed and targeted at ADULTS again highlights the shortcomings of the current classification scheme. In particular, the absence of an adult classification.
As with many other forms of media, there is a demand and place for an adult themed narrative. We trust adults with this material in other media forms, yet deny them similar access simply because it’s a ‘game’. We would not accept the argument that because it’s “unsuitable for a minor to see or play” that it should therefore be banned in any other media form, so why video games?
When a highly anticipated game receives an RC we can expect two things to happen; interest in obtaining the game will actually increase and people will still get the game either through importing (ordering online) or pirating; the latter an encouragement to commit a crime in order to perpetuate the crime of accessing illegal content. Ironically, the game is then widely available in Australia without any identifiable classification markings. How is this informing parents and protecting children?
It is the industry position that an adult classification sends a clear message to the public that the content is not suitable for minors and is the most effective means of guiding access to mature content. Refusing classification of titles that meet adult rating criteria in every other Western country in our digital age is ineffective and naïve.
It is also important to highlight that content that exceeds the guidelines of an R18+ classification, should it be introduced, would still be refused classification and banned in Australia.
More news as we get it. For more information on the R18+ situation in Australia click here.