Here's Why Outlast 2 Was Refused Classification In Australia

Image: Outlast 2

Kotaku Australia has learned that Outlast 2 has been refused classification in Australia, predominately for the depiction of implied sexual violence.

Earlier today we reported that Outlast 2 had been refused classification by Australia's censors, but the precise reasoning why wasn't known. It was a surprise, given that the game's publishers went to the effort of putting the demo through the classification process - which resulted in it receiving an R18+ rating.

But Outlast 2 will not be rated in Australia. The board's decision, which have been provided to Kotaku Australia, was based on multiple scenes where - even though it is implied that the main character, Blake, is hallucinating - sexual violence is implied.

One particular scene shows a female creature thrusting against the main character while his wife is tied up in chains:

(WARNING: the following passage contains a description of implied sexual assault.)

In one cut-scene in the game ... a female creature prepares Blake for a ritual. She says, "I want to see your true face. Your seed will burn this world." Shortly afterwards, he objects to having psycho-active dust blown into his face, yelling, "Nope! Nope!" before he stumbles into a forest clearing.

His vision blurring, he witnesses what appears to a ritualistic orgy. His wife, Lynn, calls out for his help, saying, "It hurts! Oh god!," as she hangs from chains on a raised platform at the front of the clearing. Humanoid creatures, their skin grey, spattered with blood and scarred, implicity have sex as others pray, or chant, or gesticulate.

One creature has another bent over a rock, thrusting as they implicitly have rear-entry sex, another sits astride the pelvic region of a creature prone on the ground, moving their hips rhythmically as they too implicitly have sex. Two other pairs of creatures in the clearing are also implicitly having sex.

As Blake yells for the creatures to "Get away from her!" a female creature, her greyish breasts bared, pushes him onto his back, holds his arms to the ground and repeatedly thrusts her crotch against him. As Blake protests, saying "No! Stop that!" the creature thrusts again, before placing its face over his midsection and then sitting up and wiping its mouth.

Although much of the contact between the creature and Blake is obscurred, by it taking place below screen, the sexualised surroundings and aggressive behaviour of the creature suggest that it is an assault which is sexual in nature. The Board is of the opinion that this, combined with Blake's objections and distress, constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence.

In the Board's opinion, the above example constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence and therefore cannot be accommodated within the R18+ classification category and the game is therefore Refused Classification.

The Board's report noted that "without the depiction of implied sexual violence listed above", Outlast 2 would be eligible for a R18+ rating. However, they added that the scenes described were not "an exhaustive list of the content that caused" Outlast 2 to be refused classification.

Kotaku Australia has reached out to the game's local distributor for comment, but did not hear back at the time of writing. If the developers and its publisher decide to resubmit Outlast 2 with a modified version of the game, we'll let you know.

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Comments

    Ok so I know the whole interactive thing makes them think that games can have a higher impact than passive media... but when it's passive media within the interactive media, how can it be considered any worse than any other passive media with the same content?

      The impact of it holds greater weight when you've been controlling with the main character for hours prior and these events take place, thats where the interactivity comes into it, would be different if you were playing a game and your character happened to walk past an ingame TV-set displaying such content. That would fit in better with your argument.

        I dunno about that. Though also it seems strange in that the character is the victim of the act, when usually the objections would lie in the player being the perpetrator of the act.

      It's rare that explicitly depicted rape makes it through even in things that are not games.

        Not overly explicit though by the sounds of this excerpt. There is a few crappy B-grade movies like "I spit on your grave", where the whole half of the movie is a rape scene :-/

          In Australia, when something is banned for "sexually explicit" reasons, it usually means "sexually explicit towards a male".

          I spit on your grave was banned for over 20 years in Australia. Not for the 30 minutes of rape, but because of the scene where she cuts off a guys penis.

          Pretty messed up.

        The girl with the dragon tattoo novel and film have incredibly violent rape and is lauded as a brilliant novel.

        American Psycho, the novel, has the most horrific sexual violence I have ever read and is "
        "available at all good bookstores" and has been since the early 90s.

        It's only games. About the only thing that triggers books and films is the depiction of underage sex.

    yeah, that's fair. Rape shouldn't ever make it through

      Why not?

        Its a strange phenomenon for sure, murder carries a harsher punishment than rape in this country, yet depictions of murder in games are not treated as such.

          Ever see an attractive person having sex on screen and have an *ahem* "involuntary physical reaction" that makes you want to participate in that sort of activity?

          Murder and violence don't do that for (most?) people.

          That's why they get upset about depictions of violent or unwanted sex. Even if the crime isn't worse the physical and mental response is stronger and it's best not to normalise people to fantasising about that kinda thing.

          For example, having read the above, I now want to be molested by a grey topless demon lady.

          Last edited 17/03/17 9:16 am

            Ever see an attractive person having sex on screen and have an *ahem* "involuntary physical reaction" that makes you want to participate in that sort of activity?

            Sure but I've never in my life seen a rape scene that made me want to f$$$ing rape someone.

            I think I had an erection during an episode of Kitchen Nightmares too, didn't mean I wanted to go refit a crappy rundown Restaraunt after dropping F Bombs at their cook?

            Last edited 17/03/17 11:05 am

              That’s a silly argument, of course most people don’t act out these things.

              The point is that the natural response to sexualised stimuli (arousal) is fundamentally different, stronger and more persuasive than the natural response to violent stimuli (usually somewhere between revolution and indifference).

              I don’t care if it’s “not you”, I guarantee you that if half the population watch a violent film at breakfast every morning and half the population watched a rape film at breakfast every morning, the rate of sexual assault would rise at a much higher rate than incidents of violence would.

              Factually, that’s why they take a harsher view of scenes of sexualised violence than they do other forms of violence.

                You cannot possibly guarantee that, you've got no basis for it, no evidence for it and no possible reasoning for it. I'm sorry but *that* is a silly argument *and* a silly claim. I know what you're trying to say but again, time and time again it's been proven *wrong*. They take a harsher view of these scenes because at the current time the ratings board is run by older people who utilise older research, research that has been debunked consistently over the last decade.

                Every single instance almost of violence where people have blamed videogames have found either mental illness or troubled upbringings as the cause of such issues, not merely sitting there watching something such as this. The idea that simply watching something like that and becoming desenstised will eventually put those ideas iin someones head? Horseshit.

                The idea now that someone with a mental illness? That someone who was abused? That combining a hundred different factors external to that and then ladelling this on top? That this may be a *contributing factor*? Possibly, but then which do you blame? The person who beat them? The mental illness? The game? The way the healthcare system may not have helped them (as has been the case with mentally ill patients for a long time).

                It's *far* too simplistic the way you're putting it, trying to look at it black and white like that. I'm sorry, but it is. The reason they look at scenes such as that harsher isn't because of what you claim, that's not fact. It's because of older information they're misinformed about, a range of issues that aren't considered and a ratings system that needs to be drastically overhauled because of the stigma that video-games still carry with them. Not because someone might watch a rape scene at breakfast then rape someone. Jesus how f***ing ludicrous was that statement you made. I watch Spongebob in the mornings sometime, doesn't make me want to go live at the bottom of the sea, but dumb comments like that sure do.

                *Thats why*.

                Last edited 17/03/17 1:46 pm

                  I think you need to take off your ‘disgruntled nerd who didn’t get the game he wanted’ hat, and put on your sensible adult hat for a minute.

                  Sexualised stimuli -> strong positive response (driven by most fundamental of human drives), arousal. Things people may wish to act out.

                  Violent stimuli -> mild negative response. Things people won’t want to act out.

                  People have a strong, positive reaction to sexualised stimuli, which can make the mixing of that particular stimuli with an assault an increased risk (not a guarantee or an excuse). For that very rational, science-based reason the legislation prohibits COMBINING THE TWO. It’s not the same as the debate about violent games leading to violent actions, because violence elicits a negative or neutral reaction from people instead of triggering one of our core drivers.

                  I know you tend to stick to Spongebob and cooking shows, but have you ever watched an erotic movie and had the strong urge to have sex? Ever watched a violent movie and had and urge that’s commensurately strong in any way? Hopefully not.

                  The guy above asked a simple question about why censors were concerned about the mixing of sex and violence but not murder and I explained it.
                  it’s why the legislation is worded the way it is, it’s not because of “old people”, rightly or wrongly it’s for the reasoning I stated.

                  You understand the concept, right? You can Google it if you don’t understand positive and negative stimuli and their relationships to sex and violence.

                One factor in this outcome is most certainly a result of the harsher punishments for violence than sexual assault.

                Bring in castration as a punishment for sexual assault and regardless of how much rape films people watch, you won't see anywhere near as many incidents.

                  Now *that* would have an impact. We do live in a world that is increasingly lenient on sex crimes. Just saw someone on the news last night get 3 years, an NYPD sargeant I believe it was. However, if castration was brought in? Cut the entire appendage off and leave a tube there for it to drain out? I guarantee you there's a very real incentive not to do it that would bring about some *very* real second throughts.

            "Ever see an attractive person having sex on screen and have an *ahem* "involuntary physical reaction" that makes you want to participate in that sort of activity?"

            So if it gives you a boner then it's somehow worse? I got a boner playing Sonic once, didn't mean I wanted to screw the blue hedgehog, it meant I was a male and my penis decided now was the time it wanted to say hello. No one is fantasising about anything in any of the outlast games, if you are then seek mental help!

        I'm of the belief that the classification boards standards for Film and Video Games should be the same. If it can be displayed in film and released in Australia accommodated within the classification boards standards it should be able to be in a videogame.

          Agreed, Irreversible was on Stan, I am pretty sure it still is and that has a truly brutal rape scene.

            Irreversible is an art film. This is a dude getting raped by a demon in front of his gf for scares.

        because it's rape, it's onscreen and it's seemingly unskippable. Literally forcing someone to have sex against their wishes, the definition of sexual violence. Admittedly one of the few cases in media I can think of showing a male victim of rape but still it's a bad idea to even insinuate rape let alone show it, because the only people who could really understand that feeling would be victims of rape and I don't think they'd want to relive anything that would bring those feelings back up.

        Last edited 16/03/17 4:52 pm

          So we should just pretend it doesn't exist instead of ever letting any media explore it in any form? I can't agree with that.

          Murder is forcing someones entire *life* to to end against their wishes. It's in nearly every video game.
          I think rape being in other media is quite shocking and horrific, implied and described in print media and implied in movies. How is a game different?
          If the game is restricted to only adults, and adults can choose to play it, then so be it.

          Boo...

      But it's ok to be in movies?

        Nope, those should also have been refused classification.

          Why?

            Because the few times a rape scene actually occurs on film ie not cut directly to the aftermath. It usually follows a dude trying to overcome a woman saying no to sex. It's played off as no meaning maybe if you try harder than an actual no. That's a dangerous mindset for anyone to think is ok

              That's incredibly generalistic and very alarmist thinking you've got going there. That plays directly into the 'movies and games can make/influence people to commit acts of violence'. This has been *endlessly* disproven.

              Last edited 16/03/17 4:20 pm

              In every form of media where I've seen/read rape protrayed, it is only ever portrayed as the monstrous, villianous and sickening act it is, and is FAR from what you're describing

                Almost every romantic comedy ever. Boy wants girl, girl says no, boy attempts to win girl over with wacky hi-jinks, girl is worn down over time and says yes.

                How many movies can you think of where someone says No I don't want to go out with you and someone respects that decision? It's a lot less than the amount where a no is seen as an invitation to try again.

                Hell, there's at least one Ryan Gosling one where he climbs a damn ferris wheel and says if you don't go out with me I'll kill myself

                Editing this to add additional information.

                I understand what I am describing is not rape, that's my poor word choices in a previous comment biting me in the arse. This comment specifically is talking about how the NO≠NO mindset that is often portrayed in media is a tool that rapists use because it helps normalise their thinking

                Last edited 16/03/17 6:22 pm

                  That's not rape. You really need to learn what rape is Tofu.

                  Way to frame a great scene from The Notebook in an incorrect manner too. Not only does he lose *all* power in that scene, he's also never in any real danger, she actually has all the control and hell, the whole scene is effective and cute with *her* taking control of the whole situation. Here for anyone who wants to see it:

                  https://youtu.be/3Up9NA6YLNA

                  Last edited 16/03/17 4:53 pm

                  Rape is horrible, regardless of circumstance... but we can't just "ban all the bad things", hide our heads in the sand and stick fingers in our ears.

                  You're advocating censorship.

                  I can only hope nobody ever listens to you.

                  Someone being persistent in trying to get the attention/affection of someone else is not rape, and even implying it is remotely the same is so dishonest and deceitful it is staggering.

                  Not to mention it basically diminishes what actual rape victims endure when you're essentially like, "Oh that's just like one time someone asked me out and I said no... Then they asked me out again!"

                  Disgusting.

                  Wow... 10/10 troll, I almost thought you were serious lol

          In film classification, it's currently a bit more lax:

          FILMS: Sexual violence may be implied, if justified by context.
          GAMES: Implied sexual violence that is visually depicted, interactive, not justified by context or related to incentives or rewards is not permitted.

          If the scene in question is visually depicted but justified by context, then the same scene that would cause a game to be refused classification would only grant the film a minimum of an R18+ rating.

            Unfortunately the classification board are not hiring but the next time positions open up I'm going to seriously think about putting an application in so I can try to push for some kind of consistency for these types of things.

            I don't really have an issue with games being refused classification, but the rules should at least be consistent across media.

              Apparently the classification board is explicitly *not* allowed to refer to previous decisions when doing their classification. Which is how you get ludicrous cases like the Atelier game that went from PG to R18+ when re-released on Vita because of someone on the board's interpretation of a single text-based scene, despite the same scene having been in the original PG-related release.

            The key word is interactive. If it was purely in a (skippable) cut-scene with no player control, then it should pass.

            Not that I'd want to play it anyway. :)

              It is in a cutscene, although admittedly, that doesn't preclude basic camera control. But the guidelines are fairly clear - this case would fall under the implied action being "visually depicted". The way the guideline's worded, interactivity is not a requirement for classification refusal (which is silly, imo).

              And I do want to play the game, because it's made by one of a very small selection of developers who understand how to evoke that kind of horror that builds slowly and stays with you... too many just resort to black corridors and jump-scares, which ends up either frustrating, or worse, forgettable.

        Generally games and film depict rape differently; in games, it tends to be front and centre because your character is either perpetrator or victim. In movies, generally even the most upsetting rape scenes won't be as explicit.

        I think what's interesting about where the ACB are drawing the line is how it highlights how badly games tend to treat rape. Several high-profile games have been refused classification based on this line, and when the ACB explains their reasoning it's always a little embarrassing for the developers. Like, they did realise they gave the hero a rape gun? And no-one thought that was odd?

          I dunno if that applies in that case. I can't because we don't have the full context of the game. Horror as a genre often uses terrible things as a metaphor, or as part of making some broader point... We have no idea if Outlast 2 is doing this or if it's just shoving in rape purely for the shock value. It's my opinion that even if it is it still shouldn't be RC'd, but that's a different point.

          I have seen movies with depictions of rape that are much more explicit than anything I've seen in a videogame - the first example that comes to mind is the original I Spit On Your Grave (haven't bothered with the remake), which has an extended sequence where the protagonist is chased and repeatedly raped on-camera for something like half an hour. And that movie is almost pure "nasty for the sake of it" exploitation with little space to argue that the film's artistic vision somehow justifies the extreme content. It was pretty controversial at the time, but it was classified and screened in Australia in the 80s. None of the movies I could think of as examples are exactly mainstream, but lots of them also aren't RC'd.

          I think it's still a case of videogames receiving special treatment they don't deserve.

          IMO If A Clockwork Orange could get away with the level of content it did way back when and still be classified with only an R18+ rating, I don't see why games get pilloried for containing much less abhorrent content.

      That's wrong. Pulp Fiction (R18+) had a dude getting raped. There are plenty of examples. This is just the Classification Board being pricks.

    If anything, the MRA-types that bang on about SJWs around here all the bloody time should welcome this decision and how it's protecting poor Blake.

    Seriously though, it's very difficult to 'objectively' talk about such a ludicrous in-game set-piece moment, when it's presented like this.

    The Classification Board can only present its findings in the terms it deems appropriate, 99% of the time that is accepted.

    The laws of this country have to be respected, full stop. I don't agree with every rule and regulation under the sun we have to abide by, but when others wantonly choose to do otherwise, they deserve to be called out.

    Games, and other media put up for sale need classification ratings. Simple as that. It's consumer advice. It's how retail and commerce gets done in this country. And frankly, the consoles/services better bloody well comply if they still want to take our cash.

      If anything, the MRA-types that bang on about SJWs around here all the bloody time should welcome this decision and how it's protecting poor Blake.

      *rolls eyes*

      Do you think before you type, or does it just... happen without your knowing half the time?

      Personally, I don't find this an acceptable finding, just because of the fact we have movies with *far* more graphic situations.

      Many, many movies have graphic rape in them, extremely graphic. While I don't advocate rape *obviously* in real life, the inconsistent nature of our ratings between media causes this sort of issue, where this sort of situation seems 'worse', yet the fact is, it's realistically no worse than seeing a movie (actually potentially less so because quite frankly, the movie's real people).

      Last edited 16/03/17 3:52 pm

        Yep, Irreversible made it in just fine, also Salo (though it took 30 years after its release for it to be ok), and while not quite the same, all 3 Human Centipede movies seem to be all good in this country. I've not seen anything in games come close to those 3, and Salo came out in the 70s.

          Human Centipede II was RC on review after initially being passed with an R18+. The home video release has some minor cuts that allowed it to be re-classified R18+.

          Outside of porn and films with straight-up illegal content in them there are very few films that have actually been banned in Australia since the classification system was introduced in the 1970s, and the majority have since been classified R18+, uncut.

          Last edited 17/03/17 1:11 pm

        I can't think of any films that display sexual violence to this level. Then again I don't really want to watch that so very likely I would avoid a film that did.
        I would expect that a film released featuring that scene would also be classified as RC

          Anti-Christ vol. 1 and 2, I Spit On Your Grave 1 and 2 were graphic as hell, Pulp Fiction has scenes of male on male rape, Se7en has some horrific scenes as well. As far as 'to this level' goes, I don't believe you've seen any video of this, just read the document have you? Do you know for sure? I've seen some *goddamn graphic* movies, such as I Spit On Your Grave remake which was heinously brutal, even the actress herself complained of the scene being way too real.

          Hell, as far as rape on the silver screen goes, we've had Once Were Warriors which had a surprisingly graphic scene despite not showing any nudity, Salo (the WORST of the worst), A Serbian Film (banned, so it doesn't count, but damn man... damn)... the list goes on.

            I spit on your grave has been RC in Australia at some stage
            Salo has been RC is Australia at some stage
            Se7en didn't actually show much even if the scenes were horrific, they mostly happened in your head
            Had not consider Pulp fiction
            I remember Once were warriors having a huge impact but don't actually remember the scene being that graphic. Although has been years since I've seen it.

            There is also the 'artistic merit' criteria or whatever they call it and if it is a necessary part of a story or just there for the hell of it. Which does affect the classification as well. Being able to create a film showing the impact of sexual assault should be an option, but I'm not so sure about having it as a tacked on part of a different story.

            "To this level" is working purely off the description, you are correct in the fact I don't know.

              I spit on your grave has been RC in Australia at some stage
              Salo has been RC is Australia at some stage

              And both are now legally available to purchase/rent in Australia under our current guidelines, just as R rated games are available to purchase just under our current guidelines.

                And if an industry group or festival decided to challenge this in court and push for Outlast 2 to be R18+ then there is a fair chance they could push that through and get it overturned.
                Didn't it take some film festivals something like 30 years to get approval to show Salo?

                  Yep and no doubt you're right. We *absolutely* need them to do things like that, games and movies should be subject to the exact same standards. What's good for a movie is good for a game, because game ratings are informed by pseudoscience and misinformation as we know :\

                  I think the problem is that games generally don't change on appeal, and that it costs thousands of dollars to re-submit.

                  "Didn't it take some film festivals something like 30 years to get approval to show Salo?"

                  No, Salo was rated R 18+ in January 1993 after previously being banned for 17 years.
                  (Funner fact - in January 1976, 2 months before the first ban, there was ONE authorised Adelaide film festival screening to a packed house, including some cops!)
                  Then, Salo was re-banned in February 1998.
                  Standalone film on DVD only just banned (by the skin of its teeth) in a 7-6 decision in July 2008.
                  Then, 2 disc version rated R 18+ in April 2010.

                  Total length of ban time across 2 ban periods = 29 years.
                  (16 years and 10 months + 12 years and 2 months)

                  That's the shorthand version, ommitting all the action taken by the God Squad, including (but not limited to) former Senator Julian McGuaran and former Queensland Attorney-General Denver Beanland, and various groups with "family" in their names.

                  In September 2016 the 'standalone' (ie. no additional extras) and obviously uncut version of Salo was aired on Foxtel and screened at the Astor Theatre.

                  http://www.refused-classification.com/censorship/films/salo-or-the-120-days-of-sodom-1975-1.html

              Its the "at some stage" part that I struggle with. Especially Salo. The original VHS release was RC, but the higher detail Blu-Ray version is all good. Apparently.

                The Classification Board has never seen a VHS version of Salo. Therefore they never RC'd a VHS version. The Board has only seen 35mm cinema film reels, DVD, and as you mention, Blu-Ray, of this film. It was the additional content on both the DVD and the Blu-Ray that turned an RC into an R 18+.

                http://www.refused-classification.com/censorship/films/salo-or-the-120-days-of-sodom-1975-1.html

                Also, if you search the classification database you won't find any mention of a VHS version of Salo. The database includes RC decisions. But some Italian video stores in Australia did stock a VHS copy of Salo back in the '80s / '90s in original Italian language and without any English subtitles. It's fair to say that this VHS had never been seen by the Classification Board and would therefore have been illegal as the cinema version was banned in Australia during some of that time - and even in the 1993-1998 period when the cinema version was rated R.. the R rating was on the proviso that Salo wouldn't be released on video. The distributor Premium Films didn't have the video rights anyway and had no intention of attempting a video release.

        Do you think before you type, or does it just... happen without your knowing half the time?Had to upvote for this :P

        I still see the difference between the movies and the games is that in this instance, the player themselves is the victim of sexual abuse. It's not watching it on screen happening to a fictional character distanced from oneself, it is directly tied to your own person. Moreso as this is in first-person. The person controlling the character of Blake is an unwilling participant in a sexual act.

        In cases where games effect violence on others, the player is most often making a conscious choice to participate in this fictional violence, or sexual acts of a consensual manner, or whatever. There are of course first-person unwilling violent acts in games (the hand-slicing of Resident Evil 7 comes immediately to mind) but to be honest I see that as far less of an impact than being sexually assaulted like this. Sexual abuse has been shown time and again to be more affecting to its victims than, say, being shot.

        It's not that we shouldn't participate in sex in videogames, it that we shouldn't be "forced" (by virtue of wanting to play the rest of this game, the sequel to a very popular, well done horror game) to participate in being raped in videogames.

          But that's not being forced to participate. That's still choosing to participate. "I want to keep playing this game even though it includes a rape scene" is a player choice. Nothing is forced.

          One of the core purposes of horror regardless of its medium is to be confronting and disturbing. It doesn't really make sense to argue that some things should be off-limits in horror because they'll be too upsetting to the audience. In that sense its a perfect place for portrayals of rape, since as you mention, there's not much more confronting than that, and all the moreso because of the interactive, first-person nature of videogames. In /good/ horror it'd also serve some other purpose other than just to be upsetting - not really enough information to know whether or not that'll be the case in Outlast 2, but even if it's not... well, we don't usually ban things just because they're a bit crap.

          People should know its in there from the classification and then they can make a determination for themselves as to whether or not they want to play a game that portrays sexual violence. The job of the classification board is to try and keep inappropriate material out of the hands of children, and to inform adults about the content of media so they can choose whether or not it's something they want to expose themselves to.

          It's not (or at least, shouldn't be) their job to decide that some things are too shocking or disturbing for any adult to be allowed to view.

          Ok so what if the movie is a 'first person movie' ala REC and the same thing happens, but the game is a third person game ala Gears of War, or even a game like The Sims where you have no direct control as per se but merely 'guide'?

            Still different; probably more so because up til that point of Outlast you have been in control of the character who then has control taken away from them during the abuse scene - making it even more stark and debilitating of an effect.

            First-person movies like Hardcore Henry etc are still a static, passive experience - to have active control and then have that taken away during that scene is even more 'realistic' when it comes to sexual abuse, seeing that is exactly what happens when someone is raped; they have no control over what is happening to them, when up til then they did.

              Except the level of interactivity is the same. During said scenes in the game at no point do you get "Press X to beat the crap out of the woman" or "Press Y to insert penis" rendering this a passive experience exactly akin to a movie. The 'passive v active' argument has been used and disproven multiple times as far as increasing aggression, infact if anything it's been *proven* thoroughly to decrease aggression in people.

              I'm sorry but all I'm seeing here is Christian lobby level rhetoric and hyperbole which has been thoroughly debunked time and time and time again and gets trotted out like a bad smell like the rotting corpse of dead information it is, when something controversial arises.

              Last edited 17/03/17 1:03 pm

                You're the one bringing up "Christian lobby level rhetoric" - that has no basis in what I'm saying, and I'm slightly miffed you would even align my thoughts with them.

                The trouble I have here is that control is taken away - it is a passive cutscene to watch, yes, but the impact is that you have had control up to this point, and then it is taken away; which in a way simulates what happens in real life with someone is sexually abused, which I would not wish anyone to experience.

                  but the impact is that you have had control up to this point, and then it is taken away;

                  Not only is that reaching, that's some plastic man level reaching going on...

      There is a massive difference between consumer advise and deciding that nobody in Australia can play that game based on one small group that doesnt represent the group they are making decisions for.
      Consumer advice would be "this game contains implicit sexual violent, adults only". What they have actually said is "I find this offensive, so you cant try it and make your own mind up". And quite frankly, as a grown adult, I find being treated like a child by a group of people assuming I can't handle whatever content I chose to be insulting.

        It's not one small group deciding what is or isn't good for us here, it's simply an employee abiding by the guidelines outlined by the classification board. This scene clearly breached those guidelines. I'm not saying you shouldn't protest this decision, but your ire is far better directed at the guidelines themselves. I'd bet there are employees there who's hands are tied with the decisions they have to make.

        The only way these rulings will change is to petition against the current guideline structure.

        Edit: Unless the 'small group' you referred to is actually those responsible at the classification board for setting guidelines. If that's the case, carry on with your protestations.

        Last edited 16/03/17 4:06 pm

          The small group is anyone responsible for setting those guidelines.

        And then when the board does that you say to them screw the lot ya ill buy this game elsewhere with out your meddling

        Last edited 16/03/17 4:28 pm

      The problem is that the law allows for a select group of individuals to make a decision as to what is or isn't allowed to be sold. It's completely arbitrary, with only vague guidelines as to the different ratings to be applied.

        The same process applied to the food and drink you put in your mouth today.

          Not really the same, eat or drink something you shouldn't and it can have some pretty serious consequences.

            My point is we appoint a 'select group of individuals' to do everything. Your customers or clients did that with you only today.

            Games as a medium are in this apparently never-ending battle for attention, for legitimacy. That means complying with the status quo first, before we think we should go about changing it. Sometimes that means the same thing, as in the case of R18+.

              The only thing that is similar to the discretion that the Classification Board wields is the judicial powers of courts. The Classification Board even has an appeals process similar to courts. At least courts need to judge things based on probabilities and reasonable doubt. The Classification Board can and does get away with Denis Denuto arguments.

              Even when the status quo is wrong? Why not skip to the end where rationality wins the day?

              Last edited 17/03/17 8:55 am

      I can simultaneously agree with the application of a law without agreeing with the law itself. In this case, imo, the game is being correctly refused classification, as per the current classification guidelines. Simultaneously, I disagree with those guidelines, as they should be the same across both film and games, because as an adult, I can differentiate between game and reality, and am capable of deciding for myself what types of content I can safely consume.

      In these cases, the appropriate thing to do is voice your opinion and push for a change to the law so that it falls in line with your values. Which would be reasonable, except that the last time we tried to do that, it took over a decade and a half before there was any traction whatsoever on the issue.

      Hell, with the way games are heading, we'll have to amend the classification system again in a few years anyway to account for VR.

      It's consumer advice.

      This is correct. The ratings are advice for consumers to decide if they want to play it or not.

      I'm sure it's been said about a billion times, but at the end of the day, if you don't like it, don't play/watch it. I personally wouldn't be playing it anyway. Not because I find the content offensive, but because these games scare the shit out of me.

      It is high time that the OFLC realises that once you go over The MA rating, any consumer of the product is an adult, legally able to smoke, drink alcohol, go overseas and fight in wars, and certainly capable of deciding if a certain game or movie is acceptable to them.

      Those very same people, if on finding out that a game is graphic or brutal or whatever, decide they don't want to play it; no one else should have to suffer because of it.

      The OFLC seems to be of the opinion that because they don't like it then no one should be able to play it. This is completely incorrect. Why should I suffer because someone that is more fragile than me got offended? I'm offended that Justin Bieber is in Australia but for some reason he gets to stay.

      I digress. I hope that in future some common sense may be applied more regularly.

    I don't see the problem. It sounds like a regular Liberal Party Branch Meeting.

    The thing that sticks out in my mind most is the similarities between this and Far Cry 3.

    Spoilers*

    Okay, the sex in Far Cry 3 is not violent (from memory), but that almost makes it "ickier", as it isn't as condemned. In both games a man who just went through trauma is drugged and taken advantage of. Only in Far Cry 3, the perpetrator is continued to be seen as an ally (Obviously I haven't played Outlast 2, but it doesn't sound like the protagonist will be buddy buddy with these people any time soon).

    Why the difference between "aggressive" rape and basically getting roofied? Rape is rape, treat it as such.

      I thought the chick in Far Cry 3 was violent!

      She kills the dude after he ejaculates but she's basically still straddling him. If that ain't sexual violence I don't know what is...

        I just did a quick wiki: I never finished that game, got really close because I liked the world, went to finish the last few missions and realised i hated it. Looks like the end depicts murder after sex, while the middle contains rape. This makes things even more confusing, because now there IS sexual violence in there.

        Also, Far Cry 3: rated MA. What the bloody hell?

          R18+ for games didn't become available until the start of 2013; Far Cry 3 was classified in 2012.

          One of the big reasons for pushing for R18+ was the number of games inappropriately pushed into MA15+ because the guidelines were vague and had they actually been refusing the games that should have gotten R18+ there probably would have been riots.

            Dang, it's THAT old? Still odd to me that a game with sexualised violence got through before the R18+ rating came through while this one is being refused classification.

    Anyone remember the ending of FEAR 2? Granted it was over quickly (lol?) and seemingly much less graphic than this but they both seem to boil down to the same thing.

    Loved the first games. Can't wait. Love me some horror.

    And in today's issue of "EVERYTHING IS CENSORSHIP, REEEEEE", we have this.

    At least this time it actually meets the legitimate definition of censorship. Instead of complaining about how a private company not letting you say whatever you want on their private forum, or choosing to discontinue a business arrangement, are censorship.

    Disclaimer: my opinion on the refusal is neither here nor there.

      You're a lot more eloquent than me.

        Only when I try, half of the time I end up being terribly combative lol.

        On a vaguely on-topic note, I'm genuinely not sure how I feel about this.

        I do agree that, in a vacuum, this would be grounds for being refused classification. I personally have no interest in seeing a scene like this which, I'm going to go out on a limb here, isn't critical to the story. It's probably being played for shock factor.

        On the other hand, I do see the argument that movies get away with similar content and aren't refused classification, and I absolutely don't buy the whole "it's worse because it's interactive" thing. That's getting to borderline "GTA makes you kill prostitutes" territory.

        I suppose I do agree somewhat with the RC, but I can also see the arguments of the other side.

          I'm not going to waste me time comparing rape scenes and themes in other movies from almost fifty years ago, with as yet unreleased games in 2017.

          'Games are interactive media' is a 90s saying in the same way 'television will give you square eyes' is out-dated.

          Games can be anything nowadays.

          My original post was talking about things in general. We do a dis-service to the developers of the game and the people at the CB by taking the report as gospel, it's some poor bastard's job to distill what's happened in written form. Ordinarily, these reports aren't meant to be comment fodder on games sites.

          Rather than butt heads on the subject of implied rape of all things, we'd be better off talking about the game once it's actually been released. As others have noted, we can just link a Let's Play in any article once that happens.

            Oh, absolutely. This whole discussion is a moot point when we haven't/can't play the game.

            Maybe this scene is just one of many, worse scenes.

            Maybe the scene doesn't play out at all like what the report states and it's all been overblown.

            We don't know.

              Now let's all play the 'did you see THIS PARTICULAR SCENE in that movie the same way I did?! ' game because we all feel the exact same way about the art we choose to let into our lives!

                PERSONALLY, I found the scene where Dory was reunited with her parents in Finding Dory the most objectionable thing I've ever seen. If you disagree with me then you're literally a child murderer.

                  Even though the title of that movie is a spoiler I'm still going to berate you for spoiling that movie for me.

                Spoilers, the most heinous crime of all. Forgiveness :(

                That's kinda the point isn't it? It should be about the art we choose to let into our lives, not the art someone else chooses to let into our lives.

                  It's about the art that wants to be sold commercially in this country alongside other products that already do sell here, lawfully.

                  Alcohol is lawfully allowed to be sold here in this country but a fair amount of the population sure can't be trusted with it.

                  @leigh Right, and what harm is going to come to adults who choose to purchase this for themselves? What is the law protecting us from, as it does by prohibiting alcohol from being sold to children?

                  You're not going to believe this but I can't reply to your below comment :)

                  Art/media works both ways, we can't expect to consume all of it 24/7 of the time like we could (if we had a death wish) every sort of food or liquid available for human consumption under the sun. You're not going to be able to play every game that gets released. That's where you need to exercise choice. This helps that.

                  Only the most vulnerable (or 'unreasonable adults' if you want to use the terminology of the day) people are going to be the most at risk here. You and I aren't at risk of anything if we binge a play-session or Let's-Play of this game, but the way the law currently works, it's most concerned with those who would be.

                  @leigh ...I don't think you understand what classification is or what it's supposed to do at all.

                  The law must do for people that which people cannot do for themselves.

                  Some kind of classification/approvals board is a part of entertainment in almost every country. And even non-entertainment areas, such as the FDA.

                  You can disagree with the RC classification and the application of the law, that's fine - in many ways I agree. But the board as such has a place. Even if that place is just to apply the ratings that are relevant so end users can then make the informed choice as to whether they want to consume that media, without banning anything necessarily.

                  We're not a libertarian utopia where you can say/view/play/do whatever you please because "individual rights".

                  @hotcakes I never said the board shouldn't exist?

                  @leigh The classification board has nothing to do with binge gaming, I don't know why you bothered to bring it up unless you were making posts by accident again.

                  My bad if I misinterpreted what you're saying, but I read:

                  Right, and what harm is going to come to adults who choose to purchase this for themselves? What is the law protecting us from, as it does by prohibiting alcohol from being sold to children?

                  ...as "the board should not be allowed to determine what adults purchase" - i.e. it shouldn't exist or, at the very least, shouldn't be able to restrict media from being consumed.

                  I read [quote] as "the board should not be allowed to determine what adults purchase"More or less, yeah.
                  - i.e. it shouldn't existUh... that's a huge leap you've made there.

                  It's the classification board. It should be classifying things. Telling us what they contain so we can make an informed decision as adults on what is most appropriate to purchase for our own tastes and circumstances.

            I agree with you in general, except for "games can be anything".

            If your game has no interactivity, no actual "gameplay", it isn't a game. Even those pseudogames like The Path or Gone Home have interactivity.

    this sounds really bad, but then it also reminds me of AvP(2010) where the descriptions for the predator and alien melee kills were pretty damn terrible, yet in practise were over extremely quick and the level of violence was on par with the Original Predator movie which at rlease was rated R18 and later on dropped down to that of MA15+. And it was because of that and sega refusing to change anything that the game was passed as MA15+ on appeal

      Damn...

      But yeah the original Predator movie was dropped to M15+ remember, MA15+ didn't come out til 1993 :) Just one of those tiny details.

    What about Fear 2? That came out before the R rating and you get raped in the ending.

    Thanks Kotaku, I trust that when the game comes out you'll also have a detailed guide on the best places to buy the international version.

      That's what I came to say. Outlast was a brilliant game and I must play the sequel. But how?

    Kotaku (AU) is a great site that lets us have these sorts of conversations.

    Why not pitch your own opinion piece instead of having it wallow away in the bottom of an article, or worse, Page 2 of the comments?

    Have the guts to put your money where your mouth is, and submit something to Alex and Mark for posting, they just might say yes.

    Go on.

      But...My opinion is, I don't really care. I can see both sides of the argument, but if I really have to take a side, i would say that instead of RC, they warn that there is rape scenes, right on the cover. Let the people make the decision. Why not also make it so the games like that are in a glass cabinet, where kids can't possibly get to them?

        ......because it's a criminal act?

          Lots of things are criminal. People still do it. A game isn't going to cause someone to rape someone else. If someone is going to commit rape, it's because they have no regard for the judicial system. No game will change it.
          At the same time. I say they should have a warning in case it is something that an adult wants to avoid.
          Have it behind the counter so that a kid can't even pick up the case, as I have witnessed kids attempting to get at the R18 games in EBGames before.
          That said, I don't mind that they've refused it classification, as it's not something that I really want to play personally.

      Yah, Kotaku will totally accept an opinion piece on a 'controversial' topic from a nobody.

      Just like they totally ran at least one single story on factually verifiable leads I sent to them about various things such as Microsoft practising illegal tactics.

        We see opinion pieces on here all the time, I don't doubt you've been knocked back (you should be commended). But there's a difference between shooting them something Watergate-like, as opposed to something sharing your thoughts that maybe we collectively hadn't considered about government ratings in this country.

    Fairness rarely works hand in hand with rigid guidelines.

    However, they added that the scenes described were not "an exhaustive list of the content that caused" Outlast 2 to be refused classification.This line stands out more than any other. Multiple items contributed to an RC and without knowledge of them any discussion of whether the reviewer was right or wrong - itself a ridiculous notion - is a waste. Comparisons to examples in other media are also fruitless for the same reason.

    The position that leaves us in isn't particularly constructive, at best we can discuss the framework, intent and function of the Classification Act and National Classification Code. There might be issues with both when considering expectations and guidelines across different media, but in this instance we'd be swinging in the dark to discuss their application.

    Essentially, at this stage we have very little information and we're going to have to wait before we get close to accessing the full picture. I'm not saying we shouldn't have discussions in that time, just that we should be mindful of their appropriateness and what contribution they actually make.

      Well if we take that quote at face value - as we should, since this is a report citing reasons why the game was banned - the position it really leaves us in is thusly:

      "Nanny State Australia continues to cuck its citizens by banning something just because."

    Sorry if someone covered this already in the comments but...I understand rape and sexual violence shouldn't be in video games, especially if it gives the player the opportunity to perform these acts. But sometimes it may also be needed (off camera or implied ofcourse) to tell an actual story. I'm just wondering if there was an art house indie game which touched on sexual violence and the after effects it has on its victims if it would be judged the same. I'm not trying to defend outlast's Demon rape orgy and it's heart warming story, but I also feel like as games get closer to movies the classification system should definitely grow. But hey, I'm pretty hard to offend so I could be completely wrong

      As previously said. Fear2
      Phatasmagoria
      Ummm...

      Isn't Jesus a child of rape? I mean Mary never knew about the act until she was pregnant.

        I don't think there was any act according to the bible story, I mean it is known as an "immaculate conception". You might be confusing it with the various impregnations of Greek mythology :P

        Last edited 17/03/17 1:18 am

      I'm just wondering if there was an art house indie game which touched on sexual violence and the after effects it has on its victims

      It's pretty rare in published games because the US market tends to be even more prudish with anything sexual and would slap an Adults Only rating on it which is a death sentence in the market there (Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft will flat out refuse to have it on their platforms, Valve might let it on Steam on a case-by-case basis).

      With the way the US is right now, you're really only going to get this sort of pushing the envelope in indie games and they're taking a big risk if they include really explicit content.

    Glad it got censored. This is demonic. My opinion, feel free to disagree. Also, someone earlier mentioned A Serbian Film I think. Yeah, that film is sick. Actually sick. I've seen the trailer/bits on yt. There are people put in jail for that kind of stuff and here is some person making a 'film' about it under the guise of artistic freedom? Gimme a break. Just no.

      This is demonic.

      Well then, I guess we better also ban:
      - Dota
      - League
      - Diablo
      - Any zombie/supernatural game
      - Any horror movie/show with zombies or supernatural themes
      - Etc

      Please, do tell us how living a mormon-esque life is the correct thing to do.

        No need to ban what's already been passed as acceptable. Glad you disagree. Not a mormon-esque life if you ban one video game right? That would be all TV. You exaggerate.

          Don't play dota or league, love diablo. Not the same category as this game. This game is on a higher plane of sexual violence with demonic creatures, which is not something i think should be allowed classification. Even at r18 rating. Where are you going to draw the line? Tell me. Freedom of speech is not infinite. Some things are unacceptable. I get people condemn actions like this censorship as an attack to personal freedom, we are adults and should choose for ourselves right? Well, why does censorship exist in the first place? Should we obliterate it entirely? Is censorship really so bad in this country that we don't have any access to violent media at all? I don't think so. Once again, my opinion, blunt but not intended as the accepted standard for everyone to swallow without question. Disagreeing makes the world go round.

    Given some of the discussion over this past week, let me thank everyone immensely for the tenor of discussion and how civil everyone has been.

    There were a couple of instances where it could have descended into mudslinging, but everyone's kept on point and I just wanted to thank you all for that.

    Just to play devil's advocate a little, I'd caution that the reasons the CB gave are not indicative of all of the content that's in the game. It could be worse than that. It could just be horrific all the way through. I'm not landing on either side, only pointing out that people should be a little more prescient of the information they don't know (the full content of Outlast 2).

    But that's for another day. Again to everyone: thanks.

      I'm having a schooner for my mate in other thread whose comment got nuked.

      I hardly knew ye...

      It could just be horrific all the way through.

      My question is: so what if it is?

      The pro-choice movement has already gathered steam:
      - Pro-abortion - supporting womens' right to choose
      - Pro-cannabis
      - Pro- drug legalisation - supporting people to choose, it's mental issue not criminal, etc etc
      - Pro open borders - we're all equal, everything needs to be fair, etc.

      People supporting one of these also likely support at least another couple. What happened to freedom?

        And that's totally valid. I'm staying out of this debate for now though; lack of time, more than anything else.

    It's just another way for people to have something to blame
    1st Books American psycho
    2ND movies A clockwork orange
    Now video games
    Can't people just be monster's from birth

      Fun fact!!! Way back in the 19th century, UMBRELLAS were certain to be our doom!

        Winnie the pooh is considered a sexual dievient in poland

    There are loads of unpleasant things in this world and sometimes that stuff is reflected through creative arts.

    Given nothing is real in video games, there are no real people shown (well, assuming it's all rendered), there should be zero reasons for a game to be refused classification in Australia. Adults should have the freedom to consume whatever kind of entertainment they desire, without overbearing governments getting involved.

    I'd never buy this game in a million years, sounds like tripe to me, but that's my decision to make, not some government agency's.

    To the bloke saying he was posting nothing inappropriate - it was because of the external link. Just repost without that and it's fine. (I don't want to go around editing links out of people's comments because then that opens up a whole can of worms and it's just easier for me to trash a post + explain why rather than people feeling like their integrity has been violated.)

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