Can You Guess What The Walking Dead Is Rated In Australia?

A while ago, we reported that Telltale Games wouldn't be submitting the award-winning adventure game The Walking Dead for classification in Australia, for fear of it being considering above our ceiling of MA15+. But as of yesterday, the Classification Board has The Walking Dead registered and ready for sale. The classification? MA15+.

While the classification report cites themes and violence with a strong impact, oddly, it claims the game has no offensive language. Anyone who has played or seen the game knows this isn't true. It'd be fair to say the language is "realistic" to a zombie apocalypse.

The Classification Board relies on videos sent from qualified applicants that show a game's most questionable material, as well as presentations from the applicant to explain what's happening. If one were to speculate on how that might occur, it's possible the videos that Telltale sent didn't include the colourful language spread all throughout the game.

A difficult task, since nearly every intense moment has a verbal reaction.

If they were to send a video without swearing, it begs the question, why didn't they submit it in the first place? Perhaps they thought the violence alone was enough to be refused classification, and not worth the money to apply. Luckily, this hasn't stopped many Australians from playing the game.

It's impossible for the Classification Board to rate all the downloadable titles that come to our shores. Big publishers are more likely to adhere to regional guidelines, but it seems Telltale Games simply didn't fix the mistake of The Walking Dead being available to us through Steam and iOS. As a result, many of you, like me, would have already bought, downloaded and played the game.

It's now ready for a multi-platform release, however, so we may even see the multiple Game of the Year award winning title on shelves soon. Keep an eye out!

Thanks, @Shane!


    Don't forget it was also available on iOS, which was where I played through the series (iPad). I imagine this is a frustrating development for those who were looking forward to playing this on consoles last year. Yeesh.

    This is great news. The Walking Dead is many folks' GOTY for 2012 (mine included), and it was always a tremendous shame that it had to be obtained 'under the counter' or not at all.

    Delay might have been unnecessary, and perhaps even a disappointment, but ultimately this is very, very good news.

    Last edited 22/01/13 1:25 pm

      it also means that it's in the running for console game of the year for 2013 :p

    See the language isnt offensive IMO, sure they swear a bit, but thats nothing you wont hear just walking through a mall.

    The violence i can understand,

    The scene with his brother was brutal.
    Edit: fixed spolier tags, apparently even though it doesnt work on my end you, its still working

    Last edited 22/01/13 1:34 pm

      Pointy brackets with "s" between them is how to spoiler tag.

      FYI there's actual spoiler tags you can use when posting here :)

        Like i said they didnt work, using a busted re-worked version of IE8, thats been stripped of all functional use at work... "security flaws in HTML code used by IE" (personally i call BS, but hey)

        @shane, i attempted that, but didnt display as working on my end, so assumed it didnt, will edit it

        Last edited 22/01/13 2:29 pm

      if you knew the spoiler tag wasnt working, or that you couldnt use it, then why did you post it knowing that it was a spoiler?

      might have been better to leave that sentence out or be really ultra vague.
      like "theres some scenes that I thought were really brutal" rather than explicitly state who was involved.

      Edit: hit submit too soon.

      Edit2 : spoilers fixed. thanks @dnr also, sorry if I came across as a bit of a dick. just that there are a whole bunch of people who havent played this yet (myself included) who wanna stay spoiler-free.

      Last edited 22/01/13 2:24 pm

    This is probably one of the most graphic and gory games I’ve played. I don’t understand how it could be put at MA15+. Could it be because the graphics aren’t “realistic”?

      Probably. Also most of the violence occurs against non-humans. I'd also say that the agency of the player has a role. The violence is pretty much all scripted, which reduces the potential for gamers to rampage against innocents GTA-style.

      Last edited 22/01/13 1:36 pm

      For comparison's sake, the entire Saw series to my knowledge (I've only watched the first 3) has only ever gotten an MA15+ rating, and those films are pretty damn twisted.

      Personally, MA15 is right for the series.

      Also, @Shane, that reasoning would once again have us asking why L4D2 was refused classification heh, not that you're wrong.

        L4D2 was refused classification simply because they used the words "Infected Humans" on the application, instead of "The Infected". I may have the specific terms wrong, but the basic idea is the same.

        Difference being, in the rating application for L4D1 it was implied *but not actually stated* that The Infected were once humans, whereas the application for L4D2 *actually stated* that they were Infected Humans, which apparently made all the difference to the Aussie Classifiers.

        I hope they re-apply, I want to play L4D2 so hard that I refuse to play "L4D2 Lite : Friendship Is Magic." edition or whatever it's called. If that makes sense.

    Walking Dead was never refused classification, Telltale never submitted it because they believed the content in the game was mature, thus didn't waste the money submitting it only to be rejected. My guess is they've resubmitted it now an actual adult classification is available. Walking Dead is far from the graphic content seen in other titles.

    I took issues with their decision not to submit it. They claimed it was because they believed the content to be of adult in nature and not suitable for the rating system here, yet they were happy to release the game to Australian buyers over iOS and Steam, without classification approval. If the government paid more attention, they would have pounced and thrown out all sorts of fines to both Telltale and Steam.

      Don't take my word for it but here's my explanation based on my minor knowledge.

      The classification board classifies games that are imported to our shore for retail or wholesale purposes, this sounds like an old law intended for games of a physical nature.

      The law can't be enforced unless special circumstances permits it on foreign soil.

      One would assume this is how they got around it and why they couldn't do a thing about it. Not only Telltale, there's games without classification and for some time and MMO's have been non-classified for some time (the ones without physical copies in our stores, think gPotato is one of them)

      Steam is also not liable for distributing it either, they are not required to abide by our laws. They are a goodwill company in my view and will take the game down on request.

      What I'm saying is, it's not as simple as fining a company for breaking Australian laws. When it comes to things like this, think of it like your neighbor. Just because your house has it's rules, doesn't mean you can enforce it upon another household (Unless you're house is bigger, you got guns and they don't)

        This is a fair statement, but by the same reasoning, games like Postal, Manhunt and Left 4 Dead 2 (uncut) would be available through Steam. None of these are, they're region locked. Steam has the facility to block sales based on region, yet it was not done for Walking Dead. I have no issue with the game itself, just the developers standpoint that they didn't submit it for classification as they deemed their title wasnt suitable for minors, yet made it available to minors via Steam.

        As it has turned out, the Aus government has approved it for 15+ audiences, even with the inclusion of an 18+ rating, which goes against what everyone else has decided is suitable for the game (see ESRB, PEGI)

          The problem is that when a game is submitted for classification and receives the RC stamp, then it goes onto a list of illegal imports, and is considered an illegal game to possess in the country. If the game is never submitted for classification, it cannot get RC rated - and since it never gets onto any of the lists, and governments have MUCH better things to do than to look at all of the games out there that they haven't been explicitly asked to analyse, it's not illegal to own it - simply illegal to sell it through an Australian store (since by law the game needs to be classified in order to be sold).

          This means that companies like Steam, who are not Australian stores, and we even get charged with every transaction for an international transaction (so it's pretty much completely separated) are allowed to sell us these games. It's not illegal for us to possess them, it's not illegal for them to sell them. Everyone wins. The flip side is it can't make it onto any Australian online stores, or any shelf stores (and publishers want that to happen, but what they want less is for there to be literally NO way of selling to the nation - which is what Telltale were worried about)

          Games like Left For Dead 2 DID get classified, they received the RC rating, and consequently became illegal for Australians to own. No organisation wants to get caught up in supplying illegal material, so Steam isn't going to sell us those games.

        The law doesn't make any real distinction between physical and digital copies. What does make a difference is whether it is considered an Australian store (in which case it needs to conform to the various state classification enforcement acts), or an overseas store (in which case customers are effectively importing the goods, and need to satisfy customs regulations).

        It is a little confusing with Apple's App Store, since it is probably hosted overseas, but is presenting a special Australian version (requiring Australian accounts, and payment in Australian currency). They also have a local subsidiary handling pre-paid credit. They probably should be bound by classification laws, but I guess the politicians like their iPhones too much to enforce the laws (which is a shame, since it reduces the pressure to switch to a more affordable cost structure).

    I'm just glad we're getting the opportunity to play this (the normal way).

    I'm surprised they neveer bothered to submit the game back then though. I never thought the violence in it was anything over and above most games out there already.

    There's heaps of PC games that are sold overseas that aren't even released here, and would have a hard time trying to pass through the archaic classificiation system. Go play Chivalry: Medieval Warfare to see what I mean.

    Hang on. If it hasn't been rated, how was I able to buy it off the Aussie Steam store?

      Says so in the article (second last para). Long and short of it: Steam isn't really policed.

      Last edited 22/01/13 2:25 pm

        That'll teach me to read properly! They should have just flown under the radar for L4D2 in that case.

      It seems Steam only excludes games from us if they are Refused Classification.

      Unclassified games are rife on there. Just think of all the indie games that aren't classified.

    That sucks! Because on Christmas day, episode 1 was free and the other episodes were half off (Xbox LIVE). I could have bought them then!

    and it should get an R rating. If it is as emotional as what I've heard it is, do you really think some teenager would be able to play it without laughing at the choices in an attempt to look tough in front of his peers?

    My question is this....

    This game was never submitted for classification in Australia yet it has been released and available on Steam for quite a long time already as well as through the Telltale Games website.. how can they sell games that are not classified.. and if they can do that anyway... why bother classifying it at all??

    Is it simply for retail (brick and mortar) distribution purposes only???

      This is my question as well. Why do Valve allow unclassified games to be sold to Australians on Steam, yet won't sell L4D2 to Australians?

      Or an even better question, who's going to punish Valve for doing so? Enforcement of classification is up to the state governments, which state is Valve/Steam located in for these purposes?

        L4D2 was classified. well... in the sense that it was refused classification. that means that it couldnt legally be sold.

        The Walking Dead, however, was never submitted for classification, and was a downloadable title, and so sort of fell into a legal grey area. I guess that Steam & the consoles just had differing opinions on taking the risk of putting it out unclassified.

          The law is you're not allowed to sell games without classification. Which is why when a game is refused classification it's not allowed to be sold (because it wasn't given a classification).

            downloadable games arent mentioned in that legislation, so thats the grey area.
            thats why nothing in the apple app store is classified (well, its self-regulated, not classified under australian law.)

    So does that mean we'll receive the retail disc copy with all episodes. Because that would be very sweet.

      I'm guessing it's on their radar, at least. I'm hoping they also release that limited edition thing the 'mericans got, with the first compendium of the comic.

    I'm actually glad about this development. I feared that the MA15+ would just be ignored but this restores my faith in the OFLC

    So this is the game i bought on steam ages ago and never played?

    Doesn't matter anymore! Seeing as the game doesn't even start up anymore ^.^ was once a god game but now they have kinda left it for dead and haven't resolved the bugs that stop it from running :'( miss you walking dead game

    The ACB and government classification shouldnt exist in the first place. Im 30, so the difference between MA and R means nill to me, but you better belive RC effects me! The government has no right to dictate mine or my kids entertainment choices provided they dont involve illegal activity. Classification is ultimately flawed anyway, Ive never met anyone who couldnt watch Pulp Fiction or Elm Street when I was in school.
    A voluntary industry code is fine, but stop acting like this new R rating is anything but a polished turd designed to keep the governments fingers in our personal lives.

      I'm confused. Shouldn't you be happy that R18 is in place now? That means pretty much no more RC.

        Its a poison pill that tastes like ice cream. I should be responsible for what I consume, not a legally backed mandatory classification board. I will not celebrate an unelected review board allowing a few extra goodies to come my way whilst still retaining their right to make the choices for me.

      Funny story:

      For my 9th birthday I took my father, 2 older siblings and my grandmother to see Nightmare on Elm St 4. Let's just say that I was the only one who enjoyed it.

      And I turned out completely not f*cked up.

      Although karma is a bitch and I ended up talked into a double date several years later to the movies to see Clueless. Now that shit is enough to send anyone batty!

      There were no happy endings.

    Fantastic. I don't actually mind having been forced to wait months after the rest of the world to play this - it just means I'll be playing it for the first time, very soon.
    Anyone got any guesses about a release date? It being primarily a digital title, I'd expect it to be pretty damn soon. February 3rd sounds good, for absolutely no reason.

    I've been playing it since it was released on steam.
    I never realised it hadn't been classified and not released on other platforms.
    +1 PC Gaming

    Personally, the R rating for me is a case of too little too late. I've importing banned games since 2002, if they had implemented the rating back in 2001 when it was considered and rejected due to Michael Atkison, I might actually be celebrating. But it took them almost three years from discussion to implementation to actually get it done.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world was laughing at us and Aussie politicians were dragging their feet like an R rating was oh so complicated to implement. That's when I got real and began to refuse to support our greedy, overpriced industry and put up with being screwed over all because of Michael Atkinson and friends.

    Once I realised Customs had better things to do it was butter. Cheap or free shipping, 50% off, uncut games....What incentive is there to buy locally even now? I've owned and played uncut L4D2, MK9 and all the others for ageeeees. So they'll put an R18+ label on them now...So what? How does that benefit me? lol

      And meanwhile a lot of the MA15+ games clearly have the 18 logo printed on the disc anyway...

      Even so, the R rating is a step forward for Australia. At least we now have a clear category to identify these games in, even if it is really only significant to the parent/ gift buyer or more casual players...

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