Warner Bros To Appeal Mortal Kombat RC Rating

Warner Bros To Appeal Mortal Kombat RC Rating

Warner Bros has just released a statement confirming that they’ll be appealing the decision to ban the fighting game deemed by the Classification Board to contain “violence that exceeds strong in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play”.

Interestingly, the game will be resubmitted for consideration unedited.

Here’s the statement in its entirety:

After careful consideration Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment Australia have decided to appeal to the Australian Classification Review Board against the RC (Refused Classification) decision given to Mortal Kombat.

After reviewing both the game play and the Board’s original decision WBIE Australia believe the violence in the game is on par with numerous other titles readily available for sale in the Australian market. As such the company wants to exhaust all options to make the game available to Mortal Kombat fans in this country. An identical version of the game will be submitted for appeal.

Mark reported last week that Australian government censors refused the game classification over fatalities in gameplay and realistic graphical violence. Do you think the appeal will be successful?


  • It will pass on review like every game appeal does. Another game that has no business being an MA15 game will squeeze though. Broken, broken system.

    • When I was 7 or 8, I was in Cash Converters with my mother and brother and was excited to see a cheap copy of Mortal Kombat 4 (on the N64).

      My mum mustn’t have trusted the words ‘Mortal’ or ‘Kombat’ so she asked the sales guy if the game was suitable for kids – specifically asking if there was any ‘sex’.

      The salesman responded that aside from maybe some kissing in one of the fatalities, the game would be fine. There’s a pretty certain irony around the fact that’s “some kissing” was the most concerning part of something called a “fatality”, but nevertheless I ended up with the game.

      I had no problems with the violence in the game, or any other violent games for that manner. The only time I remember being shocked by violence at that age (a bit older, even) was seeing Mr. Takagi being executed in the beginning of Die Hard.

      It’s all about context, really. A universe where supernatural people can get their spines ripped out through their throats is far less threatening and relatable than a universe where innocent people are killed for money or political power.

      Everyone is different though, and for that reason every classification system is broken.

      • Richard, I think your story just goes to show that the Classification Board have a harder job on their hands than some people give them credit for.
        When you have uninformed or apathetic sales people who willingly sell a Mortal Kombat game to an uninformed parent to give to a seven-year-old, it clearly suggests that we can’t rely on salespeople or parents to do their research and enforce the ratings.
        I’m not saying that all salespeople or parents are uninformed, or that the Classification Board always make the right decisions, I’m just saying that their job isn’t always a walk in the park.

        • All this would easily be solved with an R +18 rating. It wont stop younger kids playing the games any more than you can stop younger kids smoking, or obtaining alcohol. But at least it puts the responsibility where it should be, on the childs parent/guardian.

          • Although I wouldn’t expect high moral standars from an employee of Cash Converters…

        • The thing is, though, that I was allowed to play MK4 at the age of 7 because I had the consent of my parent (guardian).

          It’s the same thing in the US – M-rated games are available for sale to people over the age of 17 but can be played by people under that age as long as their parents OK it.

          Classifications are never based on context, because assuming common sense is something that you can never do with laws and rules.

          Just like that famous McDonald’s coffee spill lawsuit – the suit was successful because the person had insufficient common sense to not hurt herself with something that was obvious to pretty much everyone else.

          The website kids-in-mind.com actually does a great job of being objective with film content, and it’s the closest thing to

          • (sorry about the cutoff)
            a content advisory review that actually gives the audience some credit.

          • Liebeck suffered burnt genitals from superheated coffee – far beyond a drinkable temperature – not obvious. Macdonald’s has a duty of care to its customers – one that was ignored despite repeated complaint. When Liebeck spilled coffee, trying to add sugar, while in a stationary car the damage was severe. She was awarded $2.86mill – the profit McD makes in one day from coffee alone. McD steamrolled the media vilifying Liebeck.

            People need to be made aware of dangerous content. Macdonalds = the broken system.

      • But having played such a violent game at that age I am sure that now, as an adult, you are walking up to people in the street uppercutting their heads off (or if you hold the right buttons you can uppercut three heads off).

        That is what violent games do right?

  • Our system is even more broken if we allow this through under MA15+. The game is above that and needs to get An R18+ (If only we had one :()

    • I have to agree with that. I’m not sure if I want this to go through or not. I’m pretty anti-censorship but I do think this probably shouldn’t be played by under 18s.

      If it doesn’t get through then I don’t get to play the game either. If it does then younger people will be playing it which is bad; but then it shows that the system is broken which will hopefully bring more attention to the need for change, which is good; but then the game may cause negative press against the gaming industry because it is a pretty immature representation of violence in games, in that it is violence solely for violence sake, which is bad.

  • Love to see the actual application and whether they name the games that they believe are on the same level. Also be interesting to see if its rating stays RC whether any other groups make appeals to get those games reviewed.

    Then again its not like this sort of thing has never happened before (AvP I’m looking at you).

  • Ever since they allowed Alien vs Predator through with no changes, they’ve lost all rights to ban games simply because of violence.

    AvP was the most violent and disturbing game I’ve ever seen and I can’t imagine a game with any worse violence than that.

    MK’s finishers may be bad but they can’t possibly be any worse than some of the stealth take downs that were in AvP.

    • As someone said in the last article the issue is most likely context. Context is what got AvP through as the violence was gory however it was shown in a horror setting with aliens and monsters and so was within a context for it to be appropriate.

      This is just a fighting game, to have people suddenly go from punching one another to decaptitations and ripping out spines is unexpected and a lot more shocking because of it.

      I know when I played AvP I thought the kill moves were cool, it felt right for the alien to be biting heads off, but when I watched the Mortal Kombat fatalities I actually thought they were pretty shocking and a little bit stomach turning, and I’m used to that sort of stuff.

      • Yup the issue with mortal kombat is the fatalities since there normally done to a defeated enemie there more like an unnecesary execution.

        I actually think that if every fight ended with there death no matter what the context would legitimise it more

  • At the very least we might get the Rating issue back onto some mass media and back into the spotlight (Maybe another 7pm Project Slot), which could maybe influence the Meeting later this year. I do not however think that the Appeal will go through, the guidelines are pretty clear, and it does exceed those guidelines from what I have seen. Those guidelines nee to be reviwed ASAP.

    • 7PM Projects should never be relied on for support. I lost all respect for the panel when I realised none of them had done any research which was very apparent with the comments following the segment. Jennifer Byrne of all people should have done a tiny amount of research before commenting.

      • I lost all respect for them when they started doing the whole ‘one of these new diet types works wonders, watch the show to find out how’ or ‘something in your foods could be making your children ill, we’ll tell you all about it on the show tonight’

        They are pretty much as bad as Current Affair and Today Tonight with quality of news, simply aimed at a younger audience.

      • I completley agree dude, the fluff peice that was on 7pm was just that, fluff. However, I work in a games retail outlet and after the last story aired, a few “normal” people started asking about the ratings issue in the shop, and the local paper came in to do a story on the lack of a rating in AUS. I agree, a more well rounded peice is needed, but it is refreshing to see that this issue is around in mainstream channels, which we need to continue to garner support for the ratings change. And yea, that Jenifer Byrne chick can go back to her book club. (I bet some of the books she reviews are just as “Inappropriate” as some games, but because it is in a more traditional media, its an “artform”)

  • Considering how archaic MK is in regards to violence and gore, its suprising that the RC just chose to ban this game.

    Does this bode well though for Dead Island? Showing a zombified child in the trailer and her eventual death might incline the committee to base their decision on that one video without looking at the game :/

  • I believe this is the sort of game that should have an 18+ rating and I hope Australian Classification Review Board refuse classification once again as this will provide positive pressure towards gaining an R 18+ rating for video games.

    I have nothing against MK and believe it should be readily available to adults that choose to play!

    • Most likely, the Classification board will reject it again. But it’s not gonna put any additional pressure on the Attorney’s General. Because if last year has taught us anything, it’s that Jim Wallace has majority, if not complete influence over the SCAG.

  • I’d rather just import it than get a censored version. Only prob with imported titles is that DLC doesn’t work. I’m glad the PS3 is region free.

  • this is good news. im not a fan of the MK series, but seeing WB resubmit an uneditted version to the review board means they are sticking to their guns.

    I alway feel that valve shot themselves in the foot when they submitted both a unedited version and edited version of L4D2, I made the board go ok, we will allow the unedited version only.

  • …And speaking of Jim Wallace, even IF(and that’s a big hypothetical IF) the Classification Board decides to accept WBIE’s appeal, what’s to stop him from influence one or more State Attorney Generals to counter appeal?

    • He can’t to do so would be to admit that thesystem truly needs an overhaul and needs one now

      If he specifically targets a game made for adults because of the kids it would bring pressure back on the issue pressure they would rather not have

      Mortal combat isn’t a series that has just arrived on thescene and is capitalizing via gore

      It’s a series that has always been violent and was established by gamers who are now adults

  • tyhco your dead on!

    Way to go WB for sticking to thier gunz 🙂

    Shame on you EA and Valve for taking the easy way out.

    WB have shown theres no shortcut home.

    Nice to see a big ol’ games company sticking up for the fans!!!

    Looks liek thier isn’t a low violence version in the works.

    I’ve played every other MK locally in the arcades and at home since I was a kid. What the hell changed? they havent banned a single MK ever.
    not to mention the games rating system was introduced for titles like MK orginally…


  • if MK loses the appeal it still won’t come back unedited under an R18 rating, so we’ll get a gimped version now or a gimped version later, lose-lose. too bad we cant force the government out like the middle east have been doing….

    • Govt has nothing to do with it

      We could have labour lib or green or the nats

      It’s the people in the scAg seats and there not determined by party

      • They are determined by party.

        If your AG is a liberal it’s reasonable to assume (but not always correct) that he or she is going to be of a right wing persuasion. That’s the party platform he or she was elected with. Furthermore portfolios within the government are decided by the party…

    • … by getting shot and killed by the hundreds?

      Get a sense of scale man, we’re talking about the classification of videogames, not one man holding uncontested power for 40 years.

      • chill out bro, asking for change not civil war. so serious…

        plus videogames arent the only thing the government cant manage properly. dump them all and get some smarter people in office for once.

        • The problem is us (the Australian people), we’re so damn divided that no one has enough of a majority to effect complete change… so we’ll go on limping along.

          • We can change the government in an entirely bloodless coup; it’s called a Federal Election.

            To remove our right-wing/religious/conservative mp dominated government all we need to do is vote for true progressive political parties (The Greens, The Australian Sex Party or The Secular Party of Australia), who will protect freedom of speech by introducing a bill of rights (right wing mps from both Labor and Liberal parties successfully stalled a bill of rights being introduced a couple of years ago) to ensure religious lobby groups (Australian Christian Lobby etc.)no longer influence government policy.

  • If it doesn’t get through then I’d prefer it stayed RC rather than getting a modified version. They shouldn’t be adjusting games to fit a broken system.

  • If i remember correctly didn’t AVP push the point that you didn’t have to perform the finishers? thus they became infrequent? Which I guess would be Warner Bros point… It would be a shame for this game to have to be edited to make it to our shores. But a broken system is broken and whether this makes it or not it still raises some talking points.

  • I think it will pass second time through, but then again, their version of “extreme violence” seems to change from submission to submission. Maybe they will have a better day this time.

    If it does get through it is totally up to the parents to see what their kids are buying, or to see what they are buying for them. That’s what a parents job is.

    Some parents are stupid, some parents don’t care, and some would have raised kids in an environment that can handle games like this.

    In my book,
    Broken system + broken parents = Fail
    Broken system + good parents = Win

  • One of the problems with this classification system is the costs involved. It cost’s somewhere between $1000 and $2500 to get a game classified (depending on the expected?!? rating and if you have trained staff members). But if you then want to appeal a decision it will cost you $10,000. In a market as small as Australia this is a lot of money. This is why you’ll see publishers push censored version of these games into Australia if they’re already available for other markets (or available but requiring small modifications), as it is cheaper to re-jig the game and get a NEW classification, then it is to appeal. In the case of L4D2 fro example they probably had lower violence settings in the game already, possibly had a version already for Germany, so when the RC came down instead of forking out the $10k to MAYBE get it through, they could just submit the less violet version for cheaper and have a much better chance of getting through.

  • I had a pre-order with EB and once the ban came through, they rung me and I transferred my deposit on the Kollectors Edition (The one for the Scorpion/Sub-Zero statue) onto my Duke Balls Of Steel Pre-Order.

    I just rung EB asking them what their policy is that in the likelihood of Warner Bros’s Appeal to succeed, I asked if I can return the deposit I had back onto MK. The girl on the line said No as its no longer on their system and if the appeal goes through, they would need to get the OK from their Head Office to sell it again, have it come back into their system then people wanting the pre-order would need to come into EB and put a deposit down.

    In light of games like Aliens vs Predator and the graphic detail in the trophy kills etc, maybe Warner Bros has a chance especially as some have pointed out, appeals have a good success rate in Australia.

  • There is one problem with WB’s statement with justification for appealing:

    “believe the violence in the game is on par with numerous other titles readily available for sale in the Australian market”

    There is no system of precedent in the Classification Boards proceedures of assessing a product so it doesnt matter what other games have or have not been allowed and how other products content compares with MK’s.

    The board will simply look at the game again and unless WB can somehow justify the violence in a manner differant to last time there will not be a change in the rating.

    • Commonly the appealing party will have to provide evidence that each objection the Classification Board has made has been allowed in the correct context in another game before. If they can find that evidence, the appeal will be accepted and a classification granted. This was what happened when Alien Vs Predator was initially refused classification. After every listed objection was found to exist in already released and currently available titles, the Board could not continue to refuse it’s classification.

      Working in retail I’ve advised customers to expect the same result as AvP – expect the appeal (which happened), and expect it to be on the shelf soon after. Hopefully MK can prove a good example to the general public why a game so enjoyable for adults isn’t the devil, it just shouldn’t be made available to kids.

  • I often wonder if these RC games that get through on appeal achieve better sales than they otherwise would have due to all the extra publicity?

    • It will probably pass the appeal with no changes, then the Classification Board will walk out while whistling inconspicuously and their wallets will be slightly larger than what they walked in with…

  • First Censorship is altering things or preventing them being seen. The most common example is bleeping out words on TV and radio.

    I am against Censorship

    Classification is not altering thing and rating them in such a way as you know what your getting before you get it. ie a DVD R18+ Strong Horror themes, Frequent Coarse Language, Gore indicates to me your about to buy a Horror movie. Not a wiggle DVD.

    I am for Classifcation.

    As many have pointed out, the Board would probaly love to give Mortal Kombat an R18+, they can’t because it doesn’t exhist. Our Problem is with a goverment system that relies on 6 people to make decisions for a country of 21 million. Now these people are out of touch IMO, simply because while they acknowledge the issue they are in no hurry to make a change. Political Paralys if you will, they can be seen to be doing something when they aren’t so they can get elected next term and not have to make a tough decision that could cost them votes.

    I beleive the first Mortal Kombat came out in 92, putting me at 12. I had it on the Mega Drive, and played it to death. And for the time the graphics where incredible, the game was brilliant and the fatalities where there. MK1 made it in before classification. Duke 3D almost did, infact these are the games that freaked people out the most. Until GTA made the move to 3D. Now I honestly haven’t seen the fatalities in this game, but I don’t think it’s an R18 game, MA15+ IMO. Sure the blood and gore are better now, but they where always there. And seriously I’ve never heard of anyone attempting to act out Mortal Kombat, possibly because unlike Doom, nobody uses guns. I don’t think the series has ever done a fatality where the winner simply pulls out a gun and shoots the guy.

    The worst thing is these will be on youtube if they aren’t already there and signing up a 18+ Youtube account is as simple as clicking a box.

  • Personally, I can understand why the ratings board are afraid of HD brutality, but with so many other games – Dead Space, Gears of War, God of War, etc, they have seen let through that 15 yr olds can buy, why deprive the mainly 25+ audience of a game that has gotten through scott free up-until now? Youtube any of the above mentioned games, and judge for yourself wether the ‘realistic violence & gore’are any worse than MK. Get with the times, whack a MA15+ on it, and it’ll make a lot of aussie’s happy that we’re not being treated like a 2nd rate society. Pretty sure i’ve never once felt the urge to go out and re-enact anything i’ve ever seen while gaming…people that do, well, they shouldnt really be able/old enough to be playing them.

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