The Witcher 2 Modified For Australian MA15+ Release

The Witcher 2 Modified For Australian MA15+ Release
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

Namco Bandai has confirmed to Kotaku that The Witcher 2 has been modified for Australian release under an MA15+ rating. The change comes after the Classification Board refused to give an MA15+ classification due to ‘sex as a reward’ appearing in one particular side quest.

According to Namco Bandai’s local team:

In the original version your character Geralt was given the choice of accepting sex ‘as a reward’ for successfully completing this particular side quest. The Australian Classification Board originally refused classification as they deemed the inclusion of ‘sex as a reward’ as not suitable for an MA15+ classification.

The change is only minor, in that the character choice is now made automatically for him. The character and the side quest are still in the game but presented in a slightly different context. No other changes have been made and this change has no impact on gameplay, storyline or character development.

A minor change that seems to ultimately hit that perennial question of ‘interactivity’ as a critical issue for game content. You can’t choose sex as a reward, but if the game removes the choice from you without necessarily removing the content it becomes acceptable. Hmmm…

UPDATE: We’ve tried to clarify with Namco Bandai and it does seem that, in this side quest, the offer of sex is rejected automatically. Given all we know of The Witcher 2 it seems there will still be plenty of sexy time for Geralt, just not in the specific context of ‘sex as a reward’.

Comments

  • Was there ever a choice in the first place for getting sex as a reward? Is anyone really going to choose ‘no’ if offered digital RPG sex?

  • Does this mean that the decision is now automatically made *not* to accept sex, or is the sex now automatic and thus not a reward per se?

    Our classification system is so broken… 🙁

    • At first I lol’d at your response and then realized that the distinction is not clear. So, if sex is the reward and not provided as a choice is that then suitable under the ratings guidelines? As there are other games released in Australia (Mass Effect) where sex is available in the game.

  • I don’t care if it has no effect on game play, I now have to import a non bastardized version. Putting aside the whole artistic principle of the matter “sex as a reward” is almost exclusively the reason anything as been done since forever.
    I mean you don’t think the metrosexuals are feminizing themselves for the fun of it do you??

  • So you still get the sex, you just don’t get to choose yes or no. I mean if anything this seems kind of worse, in that you get it even if you don’t want it. Seems like a silly ruling to me, I’m sure there have been other cases where sex can be considered a reward in a game, but I guess with such a minor change it doesn’t matter too much.

    • Uh, I’m guessing that NO YOU DON’T GET SEX AS A REWARD AT ALL since sex as a reward is not suitable for an MA15+ classification.

      • Sorry posted this before the update. From this comment “You can’t choose sex as a reward, but if the game removes the choice from you without necessarily removing the content it becomes acceptable” I had thought the sex was left in, it just wasn’t a choice any more.

        Though I still think this is a little silly, if the game has sex in it, that you can choose to have, does it matter if it is a reward for something you did?

        • If you’re getting sex as a reward for something, then I’d read that as the person giving the reward is a prostitute.

          However, if you’re having sex in Mass Effect etc the two characters are choosing to have sex.

          Is this a logical distinction?

          • you are talking about the aussie classification board here, logic has no place. =]

  • So do you automatically accept or decline?
    Either way, offering the choice seems like a more mature option.
    I suppose 15-year-olds just aren’t that mature for another three years.

  • Maybe i’m reading this wrong but – the choice of whether or not to have sex is worse than no choice at all? weird..

  • And how graphic will the sex be? The reality is there will be no actual visual depiction of sex. From this we can infer that there is no reward for sex and as such no need for an RC in the first instance. Telling someone they got laid and giving them a picture of a semi naked girl as a ‘reward’ does not equate to sex – in text, cinema or in interactive gaming this classification really is bollocks.

  • Thank god for the OFLC.

    Now all of the mature adults for whom this game was designed won’t be at risk of perceiving sex a mutual agreement between rational individuals, rather than an inevitable consequence over which they have no control.

    I’m glad they cleared that up for me.

  • Must have been a tad graphic since there were quite a few occasions in Mass Effect and Dragon Age Origins where sex was a reward.

    • Mark, I’m also curious as to how this is going to effect the GoG digital download… will they be giving us an Australian sex reward declining patch, or will the GoG version be uncut?

  • bahahahahhhhahahahhahhahahahahahahah

    Watch the imports come now hahahahahah

    Australia is a laughing stock

      • Really?

        The Collectors Edition is like $45 on websites like GoG and Ozgameshop. Whereas Steam have it listed as $90 which we all know is aligned with retail prices in Aus.

        I never buy PC games from Australia anyway because of this 100% markup compared to buying from an online store.

    • As GoG don’t have an official presence in australia(i think) they can’t really be charged by the govt.

      Unlike Valve which kinda has to accept since they have content servers operating here and the like.

      I’ll be more pissed if the collectors edition i ordered from overseas was to get pulled up

      • My GOG pre-order lists my TW2 preload as “The Witcher 2 (AU edition)” which is why I first went looking to see if something was cut. ARHG!!!!

  • Meh – i am getting from ozgameshop so this dosen’t really effect me and by the sounds of it the changes are minimal anyway.

  • Not fussed over this, only a side quest anyway.

    I just want to be able to download my Steam version come the 17th.

    My thinking all parties to do with the Witcher 2 in Australia knew about this and thats why it was pulled from the Australian Steam store, now they can upload the Austrlian region version of the game to our Steam store.

    I wonder if this will addect the GoG version?

  • Now I suppose the question is will steam get the censored version, or is the only option for people now to choose another distributor, be it digital or retail.
    On the same note, I hope that GoG doesn’t block it for Aus buyers too.
    I’m not fussed if that’s the only change made, but out of principle I don’t want to support sales of the ‘censored’ version.

  • What do they think, people 15+ don’t have sex or something?
    Guess we better tighten our sex laws as well.

  • You know, just playing Fallout: New Vegas I have met multiple characters who have rewarded me sex for completing the quests. One rewarded me sex just for finding her Vault clothing.

    and I know I’ve played plenty of other games that had the same result.

    • though fallout sex scenes probably aren’t as graphic as this (the screen goes black, wake up fully clothed)

  • Isn’t sex the reward in games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age for developing a (virtually) meaningful relationship with the (virtual) people you travel with?

    Pretty inconsistent, guys. Again.

    • Well, without knowing the exact quest, it could depend on how the reward is.

      In Mass Effect, you form relationships, which can eventually culminate in sex.

      For all we know the Witcher’s one works more like “Yay, you found my missing cat, here’s some sex”, which is more close to prostitution then a relationship, which is seen as being quite different.

      • My point is that it’s functionally the same. As far as I’m aware, prostitution is the exchange of wealth or coin for sexual acts or gratification. This is not what’s demonstrated in a quest chain, unless the final part of the quest is “Pay 10 gold crowns”, or whatever the equivalent is.

        To oversimplify it:
        Perform task -> Sex.
        Advance relationship -> Sex.

        Aren’t those functionally the same? The nature of the tasks may be different, but either way, the consequence of the players’ action is sex.

        That’s all I meant; that it’s the same from the designers’ perspective, and when you strip back the flavour of the tasks, it’s the same from the players’ perspective, also. As such, differentiating them based on the flavour is kinda pointless.

  • OFLC once again proving their hit and miss methods of ratings.

    Mass Effect sex? Sure, no problem.
    Witcher 2 sex? ZOMGWTFBBQ?!?! NO!

    Do you think they could be any more inconsistent? Really?

    Not that I care either way since mine is coming through GOG too 🙂

    • I mean seriously; Why do we even pay these clowns at the OFLC?

      If any other enterprise were as inconsistent as the OFLC they sure wouldn’t be getting their Australian Quality Endorsed Company 5 tick seal…

      • This is consistent im pretty sure it was their main issue with Risen, and one of the reasons hookers were changed in GTA.

        The rules say that drugs and sex can’t be incentivised.

        Meaning if you take morphine it can’t give you a +5strength bonus.(See Fallout renaming to fake drugs so as not to confere a real world legitimacy)

        You can’t be able to pay a hooker for sex even if it’s only implied(Risen &GTA)

        And you generally can’t reward Sex for doing well at Video Games. Though one would think it would work well for things in real life.

        “Ok all of you people weigh 250% more than your medically ideal bodyweight, first one to hit the 100% mark gets to sleep with this supermodel”

    • The sexing in ME was not rewards based. It was as a result of a (well or not so well intended) relationship within the game.

      The Witcher 2 has it in the form of a reward based approach. Now what I find funny as hell is that you do not see or hear Fox News going on about the Witcher 2. Look at the shit storm those morons kicked up over ME 1 😀

      Having said all that…I am still not happy with our ratings board. Which is back to your main point. They are not consistent at all (present example excluded of course).

  • Why don’t we just make all sex illegal and be done with it? And by done with it, I mean done with the human race. Then there’s be no more OFLC to restrict what no fully grown, consensual adults can do or not do in a non-existent virtual world.

    • Hardly, if i say Hey look if you go kill this orc leader who killed my brother i’ll have sex with you.

      Same as if a brothel owner said look ill set you up with 2000 dollars or a root on the house, its not rape.

      Rape is unwanted sex. if the offer is made. rape is non applicable(unless she changes her mind midway).

      Be different case entirely if it went ok youve completed this quest heres some money or rape this person. But im guessing it doesn’t because otherwise rape would have been mentioned as an issue

  • Welly well. I’m debating cancelling my LE order as this could cause delays with DLC/mods having to account for our different version. The only differet version on the planet……

  • I have to say I am annoyed at censorship appearing again but will admit to not really caring. I have it ordered on Steam and see no reason why this change will influence the game play one way or another.

    • It’s the censorship of such a small part of such an overly large game that people have the problem with, especially since sex will be available from nearly every chick in the game, just by staring at her an agreeing that you want to have sex with her.

      It’s more about the pointlessness of the censorship than what they’ve actually censored.

      • Agreed, it is pointless to censor what they’ve actually censored.

        It’s Just the Classification board treating Adult gamers like Children again.. But as before, they are just following the rules set down by the “wonderful” Attorney Generals

        You know, if we are not actually “mature” enough to make a simple choice like this in a RPG COMPUTER GAME, then I guess we are not “mature” enough to actually vote… so these guys are in power again why? Obliviously we can’t make choices for ourselves…

  • I will now be importing the REAL version from overseas.

    Good job Classification board you inconsistent morons. The amount of censorship in this country is DISGUSTING.

  • I love how its ok to rip someones arm off and repeatedly beat them with it in Gears of War 3, however when sex is involved its all “oh my god hide the kids, they can’t see this natural human interaction!!!!”

    And yes, I know that is a naive and oversimplified comment because the actual problem in this scenario is the reward element and not sex itself, but it’s all too often that sex or sexual acts are censored/butchered but it’s fine for little 15yo Johnny to shoot a terrorist in the face.

  • Is this for all versions of the game or just the retail versions? If I’ve purchased it on Steam will it be censored? If I’ve purchased it on GoG will it be censored?

  • Will this game use steam? If so and steam detects an imported version being played in Australia is it possible for them to patch it to make it edited?

    I heard you can’t download some games because steam detects what region your in.

    Sorry if it’s a dumb question I’m a noob to steam.

    • Nope. Steam can’t do jack if you bought the copy that is supposedly illegal.

      Steam can only change the sale of a game. so they can change it from one version to another but once you have a specific version it would be technically illegal for them to change it on you.

      There is no game you can’t download in australia, there is however a limit on some that you can buy, but theres ways around that(such as having an american gift the game)

  • So sex being a reward was the problem? Not sex in general, since it (apparently) still appears in the game?
    Funnily enough I was playing Arcanum today and got up to a quest involving a cult which worshipped a golden idol of a goddess of lust and beauty. Upon completing said quest, the leader of the cult gave me a blessing then invited my character to take part in an orgy.

    Admittedly you didn’t actually see any naughty bits or hear any noises, but nevertheless its heavily implied (your character wakes up surrounded by dozens of NPCs, all in their underwear, all passed out on the floor from exhaustion.
    This was released in 1998.
    Hmm..

    • difference being that it’s back when games weren’t in the spotlight and rating was probably even less common.

      Also it would have been rated by the old board, which would have let things like leisure suit larry through

  • I didn’t even know about this game, nor do I seem likely to play it, but even so I’m still annoyed that it gets censored for next to no reason.

    That said, for those of you who want to give an official “F*ck You” to our old man government for once again screwing with adult rights, just buy it from GOG.com

    They’ve confirmed that they’re selling the uncensored version to all users around the world, just that the pricing will vary by region:
    http://www.gog.com/en/forum/the_witcher_2/germany/post5

  • US version here I come, not that “importing” PC titles is difficult thanks to digital distribution.

  • I’m sure many Witcher fans would greatly appreciate if Kotaku could contact gog.com and ask them if their downloadable version of the game is going to be censored.

    I have a hunch it won’t be because they did say in the past that the downloadable version from there will be the same all over the world and because their servers are not located in Australia, so yeah..

    Please ask them Kotaku! I’m sure they would be much more willing to answer you than I.

  • Hi Guys,

    Just a word from developer:-) We are certainly not happy to apply any changes, but other option was to have kind of “adult” classification which cause that our game practically wouldn’t be distributed:-\ Decision surprised us but, well…life..

    Good thing is that changes are really minor, as for the whole, huge content of the game.

    Other thing is that same as with Witcher 1 censored for US market, you can expect almost “day 1” fan patch, to add missing content. We know our dedicated fans and they love to correct things like this (technically is piece of cake). And even if we want to stop this thing to happen we can’t do anything about it 😀

    Other option is to get international version through digital distribution. I know that the game is not available on Steam (we are on the way to solve it, hopefully more info soon) but on other services I’m pretty sure, that you can still order it. I don’t want to advertise any particular one here, but there is one which I would recommend, of course, the most;-)

    All the best!

    Michal Kicinski
    CD Projekt RED

    • Thanks for the info Mike, that is exactly what I wanted to hear. 🙂 It’s a shame that The Witcher 2 fell victim to our flawed classification system, but it’s great to know I’ve got one more reason to support certain digital distribution companies. Can’t wait 😀

    • Excellent News. CDPR just keeps doing things right.
      Really like that you’ve addressed the community directly like this.

  • oh well, i will just import the game. not that i care about the sex option, i just will not give my money to any censored game out of principle.

  • just give us a god damned R18+ rating already
    i want my uncensored MK and i want…godamnit i just want uncensored games, i’m a legal adult, i think i can choose for myself what is and isnt appropriate to play

  • Bioware and Santa Monica Studios got away with it because the rating board is extremely inconsistent, they ban certain games for things that they don’t even blink an eye at in other games..

    They really are ridiculous, we need a R18+ rating and a new rating board to go along with it, one that is consistent..

  • Sadly even after GOG.com staff and CDPR members stated on Kotaku Australia on two separate articles that the GOG.com version of The Witcher 2 would remain uncensored for Australians, that is no longer the case.

    I just received a e-mail from GOG.com support stating the following:


    Hello,

    Unfortunately we had to release a slightly edited version of The Witcher 2 to conform with the restrictions imposed by the Australian Classification Board. This is the case for every release of The Witcher 2 available in Australia, however as far as we’re aware the changes are very minor and make little impact on the game experience.

    Regards
    GOG.com Support

    How very disappointing. I will now have to import the game from overseas instead of buying from GOG.com and will not be able to support CDPR fully as I would have really loved to..

    TheEnigmaticT (GOG.com Marketing Director) stated to me in a PM on GOG.com before that they will be contacting the Australian gaming media about this today and will be trying to have a few interviews done and such..

    Sad day for Australians 🙁 Off to import I go.

  • Under the “FAQ” section of The Witcher 2 page on GOG:

    Will there be any censorship in your release?

    The Witcher 2 will be uncensored, however the Australian version has been edited slightly.

    I probably wasn’t even going to buy this game, but now i’m tempted to go out of my way to import it just to stick it to the Australian board.

    Not having R18+ ratings is ridiculous, and everyone who campaigns against it really don’t understand what they’re campaigning for. They don’t seem to understand that not only does it deprive us adult gamers from content we should have every right to play (or to choose not to play,) but it also forces games that would naturally be R18+ to be released as MA15+ – consequently ‘harming’ the ‘children’ they’re so vehemently trying to ‘protect.’

    Hypocritical politicians and uninformed populace.

  • Guys it couldn’t be easier, grab a US VPN for a few dollars, buy the game from GOG.com (the owners of which are CDprojekt) for $45 (25 dollars lass than in Oz!) and get the US version. I’m preloading as I speak.

  • sillykaybear on August 24, 2011 I just pre-ordered Little Big Planet 2 and Batman Arkham 2 from Amazon. And I got them for FREE! Just went to oudpjndadmy.webs.com and clicked on the free ps3 banner, Sign up and fill out a couple of surveys. I thought it was a scam, But I got 2 ps3 games now for free to show for it.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!