Kingdom Come: Deliverance's Refused Classification Disappears, Replaced With R18

kingdom come deliverance banned australia r18 refused classification

At the start of this week, we reported that Kingdom Come: Deliverance had been refused classification in Australia. The game was one of several to be slapped with an RC this year, although the circumstances around KCD were a little strange: the latest DLC had been available for months, and the game had been rated R18 in May ahead of the release of the Royal Edition.

Developers Warhorse Games, their publishers Koch Media and the Classification Board made no mention of the ban until early this morning. But it might have been all for nothing, with the original Refused Classification rating vanishing, and having been replaced with a R18 rating instead.

It's an unusual situation because refused classification ratings usually stay on the Classification Board website, even if the rating is later revoked or replaced by a human review or an official Review Board appeal.

Here's screenshots from the Classification Board listings when I first reported about the ban:

The important part of the listing here is the classification number: 102354440. The application was filed by Koch Media GmbH through the IARC classification tool, and even though it's an automated process ratings assigned by IARC have the same legal force as reviews by members of the Classification Board.

As of this morning, the RC rating has vanished from the website and been replaced with an R18 rating:

The individual listing confirms that it's the exact same IARC application that is now showing as R18, instead of Refused Classification, too.

Why has the same application been given two ratings?

The official IARC website notes that developers can get a review on any game or app that's been rated through the IARC system, without having to go through the formal process with the Classification Board. IARC isn't a tool just for Australia — it covers most of Europe, North America, Brazil, South Korea and Australia, so there are going to be times where the system fails.

That said, if someone lodges a challenge to the IARC rating (as in, the IARC tool was wrong rather than "we believe this game should be rated R18 instead of RC") the reviews are still conducted by the relevant ratings agency — which in this case in the Classification Board.

"Developers will have to include a brief explanation of why the rating should be different and may be asked to provide supporting evidence — such as video clips or a build of the game or app — so that the rating check request can be evaluated by the rating authority(s) in question," the IARC FAQ says.

It's a weird situation that's frustrating and confusing, but it's worth remembering amongst all of this that the IARC automated tool, on the whole, is an outstanding net benefit for everyone involved. Manual classification applications aren't cheap: it can cost thousands if you need to demo your game in front of the Board (or if the Board requests a live presentation), and even if you're just sending over a recording of gameplay, the game and all the forms, there's still a four figure application fee attached.

The fees for Trion Worlds' Warface application back in 2012. Image: Classification Board

But IARC applications are entirely free, which is enormously helpful to indie developers and smaller studios that can't afford thousands of dollars in applications for every part of the world they want to sell their game.

I've contacted the Classification Board, Warhorse Studios, Kingdom Come: Deliverance's director and Koch Media's Australian representatives for a response, but none had replied by the time of publication. Daniel Vavra, however, quipped that he "should not visit Australia in order not to be arrested for my crimes".

Update: The Classification Board responded just as this story was published, responding some outstanding queries I'd levelled prior to KCD's ban.

In regards to IARC classifications, they said the following:

· The IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) Tool produces classifications for digitally delivered games for Australia.

· IARC decisions are determined to be decisions of the Classification Board.

· The IARC tool is a classification questionnaire tool that enables game developers to classify online and mobile games available in participating storefronts.

· The IARC tool is programmed to automatically generate classifications tailored to each participating country’s classification criteria.

· Different versions of a game may result in different classifications.


Comments

    So basically its the automated system tossing out an RC before a human see's it and makes the final call if I'm reading the article correctly. Good that it got it's R+18 rating in the end though regardless.

      Sounds like the system works when it comes to the times when the IARC system is questioned and a human that can use nuance and context can review the decision.

      What it sounds like is that it’d cut down a lot on the drama headlines if there was an ‘accept’ or ‘review’ button at the end of the IARC process so that in instances where it might get hit by an RC that they want to review that it gets put in holding rather than having the interim decision posted.

        Thing is, the interim decision isn't a temporary thing. It has the full legal force of a normal decision - it's not designed to be reviewed, it's designed to stick.

        What's happening is that a bunch of applications are going through IARC for games that have already been rated - maybe developers are resubmitting because new DLC is coming out, or for other reasons - and it's causing complications. That's the most logical reason for applications that had previously received an RC rating being given R18; if it was a genuine RC rating that was being challenged, the RC would still be in the system.

          Sometimes it's difficult to look at any of this as logical though.

    Damn it, now I feel like a fool for going out and buying a PS4 copy thinking they might pull them off the shelves. Have been waiting for it to (quite slowly) come down in price. Oh well, guess that's what you get for paying too close attention to these things haha.

    The Classifications notes are about as clarifying as pouring a can of coke into a jug of water. Seems so weird for it to disappear like that. What a mess.

    Honestly, this "game" is extremely problematic, the ban should be upheld. Giantbomb was 100% in the right by boycotting it, there is absolutely no room in this industry for racist developers. Period.

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