The Call of Duty series is mostly about shooting people in the face, that's sort of its thing.
But despite this, all Call of Duty games up until this point were rated either MA15+ or below. Until now.
According to the Classification Board, Call of Duty: Black Ops III has received an R18+ rating. A first for the series.
Locally Activision are not providing any official comment on the decision, but we have confirmed that Activision will not be appealing the decision. There's a sense, I think, that this was expected given the content of the game this time round.
The game has been classified as an 18+ in other regions, as have previous games in the Call of Duty series.
Black Ops III was classified R18+ as a result of its violence which was described as 'high impact'. As per the classification report:
Early in the campaign mode, a soldier is hit by an explosive spiked wheel and his left arm is torn off, with blood spray and wound detail such as bone, muscles and tendons viewed. As the soldier falls to the ground, the spiked wheel explodes and he is hit and pierced by multiple blades, with copious blood spray on impact.
There were also moments of reportedly high impact violence in the game's multiplayer mode:
In multiplayer mode, some of the specialist "Cybercore" abilities cause dismemberment and gibbing. For example the special weapon ability "Swarm" shoots tiny drones at the enemy, which then eat them to death, severing body parts such as arms and legs. Another weapon called the Outrider bow explodes enemies in a shower of blood and giblets of random body parts.
Deaths in multiplayer are viewed again using a "Killcam" feature which replays dismemberment and gibbing such as that described above. An example was viewed where the player moved in behind the victim as their arm and leg were blown off - the impact of the copious blood spray and fleshy wound detail was significantly heightened by the closeness of the perspective.
All in all it looks like the game does deserve its R18+ rating. Is it a good thing? Probably. If anything it may force parents to reconsider buying the game for the many children who populate the game online. It is possible that, under the previous system, a game like Call of Duty: Black Ops III would have received an MA15+ classification, so you might argue that the system works.