Oh Good, Kingdom Come Deliverance Has Been Banned As Well

australia banned games kingdom come deliverance classification board

So we've got DayZ, Hotline Miami, We Happy Few, Katana Zero ... what else can we add to the RC pile this year? Come on Kingdom Come: Deliverance, join the club.

There hasn't been much news about Kingdom Come: Deliverance since the release of its last two DLC packs, A Woman's Lot and Band of Bastards. Our UK friends, who loved Kingdom Come Deliverance at launch, checked out Band of Bastards in February and found the DLC a little tough to enjoy.

A Woman's Lot is a huge change of pace for Kingdom Come, though. It lets you play as Theresa, who the player can romance during Kingdom Come's main story, and shows how she and her dog survived the raid on Skalitz. The missions are slower and more stealth oriented than most of Kingdom Come's gameplay. But there's obviously something that's been added to the game that has fallen afoul of our guidelines, because the game received an RC rating at the end of last month:

Kingdom Come: Deliverance has been rated R18+ twice in Australia before, first for the release of the original game and again in May this year for the Royal Edition. Koch Media, Kingdom Come's publisher and the parent company of Kingdom Come's developers Warhorse Studios since mid-February, has been the publisher for all three applications. The main difference with the third application was that it was filed through the IARC process, as opposed to a direct application with the Classification Board (but IARC ratings have the same legal effect as ones from the Board itself).

(WARNING: the following contains descriptions of implied sexual assault.)

The most likely cause of the RC rating is a scene about two hours into A Woman's Lot, where soldiers begin raiding the town before pushing Theresa against a wall and proceeding to assault her. One soldier then attempts to rape Theresa, before getting an arrow in the back. I couldn't confirm how the sequence plays out if you fail the stealth segments, but the intent in the cut scene is pretty implicit.

The classification guidelines are pretty straight forward about implied sexual violence, and it's the reason why Hotline Miami 2 continues to be banned today. In circumstances more similar to Kingdom Come, Outlast 2 was first refused classification over scenes that depicted implied sexual assault.

Although much of the contact between the creature and Blake is obscured, 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.

Here's Why Outlast 2 Was Refused Classification In Australia

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

Read more

I've reached out to Koch Media and the Classification Board for comment and clarification on the reasoning behind the ban, but neither had responded to multiple emails by the time of writing. The Classification Board is pretty straight when it comes to post-release content: if content is patched in that exceeds the scope of the original rating, the game has to be rated again. But what happens if you only buy the base game and not the Royal Edition (which now includes all of the DLC)? Is everything banned, or only the DLC and versions with the offending content?

What's extra complicated about this situation is that Kingdom Come: Deliverance was also announced as one of this month's inclusions for Xbox Game Pass. I asked Microsoft Australia what the situation was there — would Xbox Game Pass feature only the base game, all the DLC, would Australians get the game at all now that it's received an RC rating, and if not, would Aussies get a replacement game. Microsoft's local team didn't have any answers at the time of writing, but they did confirm they were looking into it before publication.

Hopefully we can get some answers soon. And until then, it's another reminder that Australia's classification guidelines for video games sorely need updating.


Comments

    Jeez, todays the RC day. The classification board needs to review how they classify games. It's a joke compared to the rest of the world.

      They don't get a choice. The guidelines are set by the states - the Board just has to enforce them.

        That just sucks. Their hands are tied and devs and consumers suffer because our pollies are lazy to review anything

          While I hate censorship in pretty much any form, it's understandable why something like this gets pushed to the backburner. There is a ridiculous amount of legislation being managed by the government, created, reviewed, changed, occasionally removed. Unfortunately the more important* legislation gets priority and stuff like classification changes lag way behind.

          * important can mean important to society, or important to the Government to get votes for re-election.

            Not to mention the guidelines can only be changed with the expressed unanimous agreement of the state attorney generals, regardless of the position of the federal government or their agencies regarding guideline review

      It's not the board that is the problem. They classify based on the rules they're given. It's the rules that need to change.

      The classification says it was done via IARC, so no Classification Board members would have been involved in this. The rating is purely based on information fed into an online survey by the publisher or distributor.

    Does anyone really care what the board says they are outdated and not fit to run the in the digital age. I dont know why the consider them selfs relevant when you can get around them so easy.

    I wonder if this increased trend of refusing classification will impact on Cyberpunk's release?
    Of most concern is the games depictions of drugs.

    I remember a gameplay trailer where there was a in game cutscene where they do drugs through what looks like a Ventolin inhaler while crims check out some merchandise.

    That seems like the kind of thing the board would pull out the ol' RC stamp for

      If it's a fictional drug or nanites style sci-fi stuff I don't think there will be a problem.

      They can just call it a combat stim or something like that for gameplay issues

        Exactly, Fallout 3 has performance enhancing drugs but they're just fictional names and it was allowed. They won't care if it's fictional.

        Dont be so sure. Fallout 3 was a problem because it was originally morphine, and changing it to Stim-X (or whatever it was) was accepted, but We Happy Few started with a fictional drug with Joy and was denied.

        It seems the problem has evolved from being real drugs in the FO3 days to any drugs now. Its the act thats the problem, not it being repeatable. If its the act, then any drugs or even nanites might be too close to the guidelines for their liking. We'll find out soon enough.

        After the last week or so, I suspect Cyberpunk is going to have a few issues with the board myself.

          Well just like South Park I will just import it if that's the case.

          It's not just the act though, it's the impact. That's why Joy was reassessed and OKed. The drugs were shown to "be bad". Again though, it could make life tough for Cyberpunk since the drugs/nanites do appear to be performance enhancing.

            Yes I know that. I was talking about the initial blocker though and comparing the 2 games. Fallout 3 was blocked because it was a real drug, morphine. When just the name was changed to something fake, it was fine. With both morphine and Stim-X in Fallout 3 though, there were positive benefits to be had.

            We Happy Few didnt even get that far, and being a fake name didnt protect it in that first instance. At that point, before it was reclassified and approved, it was no different to Med-X in Fallout 3. Fake named drug with a seemingly positive effect to the player. We Happy Few should have gotten through on its first try for the same reason Fallout 3 got through after changing the name.

            It didnt, and needed that second review to show that it wasnt actually a positive outcome to get classified, which to me shows the issue has moved from it being a real drug to being any drug. So the standards arent the same as they were a decade ago, and the act itself of using drugs is going to be an initial blocker whether the name is fake or real. Thats what I was responding to.

            The impact is a secondary issue to that, and may be enough to change the classification as it did with We Happy Few.

              I think it's a thorny problem, especially because we use a ton of drugs every day without batting an eye. I mean pain-relievers like aspirin/ibuprofen/paracetemol or anti-hystamines or ventolin, or insulin and many more. Does taking ibuprofen for a headache or backpain make me think "oh I should try Ice"? Of course not. That's not how it works.

              But on the other hand if you had a game with an Ice analog and it was shown to be positive with no detrimental effects is that a good thing? Is it likely to encourage someone to try *real* Ice? Again I don't think so, but maybe there's some chance?

                Yeah, was thinking about that with the DayZ and cannabis thing last week. Originally, the whole morphine thing threw me with Fallout 3, because its not an illicit drug. Likewise, medicinal cannabis is a real thing now. Thinking about it though, while its not illicit, it IS controlled, so widespread usage of either isnt a normal thing.

                You cant just go into a pharmacy and get a vial of morphine for example, its very controlled for obvious reasons. And a lot of drugs we actually take for granted, like many of the ones you list are the same. They need a script to get, and are controlled as a result.

                So one of the thorns is trivialising the usage and that control, when it doesnt reflect reality. Sometimes drugs come out of that control, like Voltarin did a few years back (was a script drug when I first needed it), and sometimes it goes into that control, like cough syrup.

                So I get why the view would have changed over time. As games have reflected reality more, its an important aspect of society you need to respect. You DONT want to trivialise using any drugs as they have real impacts on someones life. And that includes a lot of over the counter drugs, even down to asparin or ibuprofen. They're considered safe because the impacts are minimal, but they are still there. Take enough ibuprofen and you can get diarrhea, which in the wrong circumstances can be life threatening.

                These are things the average gamer isnt going to think about or consider, but if you put yourself in the position of the classification board they HAVE to thing about it. Thats the very core of their role. And as you say, something you dont want to trivialise when it comes to the more illicit drugs in society.

                  Actually the only one that needs a script is Insulin (because it's use can be quite dangerous). Some variants of painkillers/anti-hystamines need prescriptions but many of them are over the counter. But yeah, some of them have moved between prescription and over the counter and vice versa as we've got a better understanding of them and their risks.

                  I find it frustrating though, because whether it's prescription or not as an adult you should be reading the medical information (or listening to your doctor) so you know the risks, benefits and side effects. Seeing someone using any drug in a game or a movie shouldn't make you say "Oh I'll just do the same". As adults we should have a degree of personal responsibility (and common sense).

                  Now if they were to ban all drug use in games aimed at a younger audience I could understand. Since a 13 year old might be more impressionable than a 20 year old.

      I reckon there is a huge chance of Cyberpunk being RC'd.

        Maybe at first, but I don't see CDPR being the type of people to just accept an RC ruling leading to their game being unsellable in a fairly lucrative market (and I'd be remiss not to mention the resulting backlash in countries where it is accepted when they hear the game got banned for a legit-sounding reason somewhere else). I'm guessing it'll be something like with Fallout 3 way back in the day; rejected for depictions of drug use, then they scale back the drug use for the game in all regions to the point where it's accepted.

    Is using the IARC submission common?
    It seems almost every recent banning had been through that method and almost every time it's mentioned that the publisher used that method after traditionally doing it directly.

    Whats the dealio, is it faster/slower? More/less likely to get flagged/banned?
    Is it a statement from the publishers? Is it becoming a marketing tool to raise demand for the games?

      It is these days. IARC was implemented so ratings agencies and developers had a more cost effective and efficient process for dealing with the deluge of digital releases.

      Store fronts don't want to sell games that aren't rated, so a system like this needs to exist so everyone can cope.

      IARC is free and gets you ratings in a bunch of different countries. It's built into most online game/app stores these days. Aside from steam...

      Filling out the IARC survey once results in classifications covering multiple countries at once. So even if they planned to submit manually in Australia they might still want to rely on the IARC derived classification in other countries.

    new article idea. @alexwalker

    does the puritanical video games classification system in Australia encourage people to 'sail the high seas'

    What is happening? Usually its one new game in a blue moon, but multipke games in a few days and mostly re-releases or ports being banned. These are not new games? these are not games or publishers blindly walking into this scenario on purpose? Or are they?

      Games are in a bit of a weird spot that causes them to get constantly re-litigated, and right now we're just by chance in a point where a bunch of them are blipping onto the radar again fairly close to each other. DLC means a game can have different content from releases, some of which (like in this case) adds to the classification rating in ways the base game didn't. Additionally, new releases of games--we're talking both stuff like GOTY editions with packaged DLC and just straight ports--have to go through the classification system again, leading to a frequency that doesn't happen with, for example, movies.

      It means that games get re-litigated more often than anything else, even if it's just a formality. Hotline Miami 2's Switch port got rejected, but Hotline Miami 2 always gets rejected, it isn't really something new to get alarmed about.

      I guess there is something to be said that there seems to be a bit of a phase of games trying to push these boundaries and getting knocked back for it, because it is a tiny bit more than usual. I think it's just sort of a weird stroke of chance.

    Why are movies allowed to depict "implied sexual violence" and video games not?

      Interactivity. The players choice and interaction is heavily weighted.

      It also does not tend to differ if its a cut scene or QTE or ingame engine.

        Which is another failing of the system. Interactivity shouldn't make a difference if you're playing the game as an adult. And if it's in a cut scene that's even worse, it is effectively the same as a movie at that point.

      Because the rules were set by people who believe that games are for children, not adults, no matter what the age restrictions say.

        i think it's a combo platter, what you just stated plus they have bought into the interactivity in video games will make boys killers or rapists and the fact that they don't play games so they don't care but they do watch GOT and they don't mind seeing some boobies in their chosen entertainment.

        essentially the difference comes down to the people writing the guidelines that the board has to follow being ignorant and stupid.
        @novasensei

      I was just thinking about the scene in GoT where Jon kills a man who was about to sexually assault a woman.

    You know what? I think this is great. I wanna see every major release coming up with alcohol/drugs/etc in the game/DLC that gets them banned in Australia. I wanna see GTA VI announced to the world, make a trillion dollars in preorders, then get banned in Australia a month before release. I want to see some ill-conceived lootbox reward or limited time event result in having Fortnite banned.

    I want the resultant fury to reach the mainstream. I want non-gamers in the office (and that's most of the employees here) talking over the watercooler, asking their geek coworkers, "What's with this censorship stuff in the news?"

    Then I want to see that pressure and attention getting the problem fucking solved.

      Lol. All you have to do is out the word "fagbag" in it, and you have your outrage.

        I'm not looking for outrage at the games themselves, but at the classification system that bans them for puritanical reasons.

        Cigarettes and smoking are revolting, of course bags full of them should garner outrage.

      My personal opinion is that the board agrees with you. When they took the unusual steps with We Happy Few last year, they tapped into the public conscious in a way they didnt expect and I think they're using that to do exactly what you want - build pressure and attention.

      We've never seen this much public interaction from the board, ever. And they would know that by raising awareness and anger like this, sooner or later some politician is going to jump on board that bandwagon just for the easy votes it brings. With how its all going its going to get votes from one group, and not lose votes in others. Thats a politicians dream right there.

      Its not ideal, but thats how the system works.

        Yeah, that occurred to me, too and I wouldn't be surprised if it's true. Alex mentioned something months ago about the Board looking like making moves to raise awareness about how their hands are tied.

        Though I'm less optimistic about politicians snagging 'easy votes' by loosening restrictions. Seems like the easy votes or populat votes these days are all about restricting peoples' freedoms for the sake of security or kids.

    ... and despite request, reviews and even a senate inquiry. The Board and the Department still refuse to ban the one real harmful thing about video games, the one truely addictive and insideous mechanic, the one thing many of us would be happy they banned.

    LOOTBOXES!

    Won't let adults make their own decisions. Pathetic, dumb, and disappointing, we need to sort this shit out and we can start by voting out the ignorant, incompetent, and harmful LNP.

      When adults make their own decisions, they cry about not being able to play games that include sexual violence or "promote" the use of illicit substances, but then have a whinge and bring out the pitchforks because a game has a soap bottle called "OGAY"

      Directly from another article today about a different game: "Voidpoint said that members of the team made “sexist and transphobic comments, and included homophobic language in Ion Fury,” declaring those actions “insensitive, unacceptable, and counterproductive to causes of equality.” The company apologised to women and members of the LGBTQ community and said it will implement “a zero-tolerance policy for this type of language,” which will include “mandatory sensitivity training” for employees."

      But hey, showing/implying a woman being raped is "sensitive, acceptable, productive to the causes of equality" amirite ;-)

        Man, that wilful ignorance of yours is pretty impressive.

          You go enjoy games with implied sexual violence and I'll go enjoy games that use the word "fag" in it. :-)

          Oh wait.. words = violence *rolls eyes*

            I mean, no. But words are often accompanied by actual violence, so the casual use of them makes the use of the violence seem ok too.
            It's not a difficult concept to understand and trying to equate it with sexual violence like it's some kind of competition is disingenuous and shows how little you actually care about it.
            But hey. Sure. Enjoy your video game, I guess? I'll enjoy my next round of down votes.

              "words are often accompanied by violence". Actually no, they aren't. That's is literally the stupidest thing I have heard today, and these articles are ridiculous... But sure, let's go with that, I would assume, in the example given in the article, derogatory terminology would be used during the sexual assault. So then, tell me again, why would people champion one and condemn the other? Especially since one doesn't contain any violence at all?

              trying to equate it with sexual violence like it's some kind of competition is disingenuous and shows how little you actually care about it.

              So you're saying that depictions of sexual violence, including rape, etc are more acceptable than the word "fag" in a game?

              I'm not equating anything. I'm literally saying that the word "fag" is in noway anywhere NEAR as abhorrent as depictions of sexual violence. People like you, trying to say otherwise, shows how little you care.

              I only down vote you, because you down vote me. Unlike you, I don't wish for people Togo into moderation hell, because I believe all views, even those I disagree with should be heard. And I'm not too much of a pussy to hear it.

                Sure, champ.
                You end your diatribe with calling me a pussy. I believe you.

                  I didn't call *you* a pussy. I said that I'm not too much of a pussy to hear opposing points of view.

                  Not my fault you happen to fit the description

                Not true. words are often accompanied by violence. it's just the those people aren't the same as the ones saying it is. these people are the ones running around screaming punch a nazi and then punching journalists... then the other journalists defend them.

                So he's right about words and violence but, wrong about the groups doing it.

        An adult should be able to understand context and see the difference between a subject being promoted as acceptable or not.

          "should be"

          That's the thing. Calling a brand of soap "OGAY" should be seen as what it is, a throwaway, not meant to be taken as anything serious. Yet here we are.

            Alright, so a throwaway of what?
            What's the context?

              Well it's a bottle of soap, that can't be called "Olay" for reasons... So they called it something that looks and sounds similar.

              That is the only context we are given, so we must take that on face value, unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.

                Obay.
                Otay.
                Okay.
                Oray.
                Ofay.
                Oday.
                Osay.

                Why'd they choose Ogay, particularly for soap, something some men still view as feminine and unmanly?

                  Why don't you ask them that?

                  Lol, "some men view as feminine and unmanly". Literally no-one thinks that.

                  But hey, I don't get my information spoon fed to me by a bunch of man hating feminists. Go back to complaining about a non-existent wage gap.

        I agree with you on this. While it might be insensitive and politically incorrect to make bad jokes like that in games, I think that as adults we should be able to view the game rationally and make decisions ourselves as to (a) whether it's appropriate and (b) whether we buy it.

        If the game is lower than R rated I'd be all for pushing it up to an R rating if it contains content like you're talking about. Just so you don't get kids thinking it's appropriate behaviour.

    So... explicitly and wantonly murdering people is just fine and dandy in games, but implied sexual violence and virtual weed is not? All despite studies finding there is no causal link between violent video games and real violence - so why should other forms of implied violence and/or drug use be different?

    I don't think they understand that games are legitimate adult entertainment, and instead of banning them they should instead tighten up age restrictions and verification. As long as the games don't glorify sexual violence, or make it explicit or a major component of the game. Just needs a little finessing, not a sledgehammer.

    Australia's becoming the Gilead of the South Pacific.

    I still think the worst part about this RC business is that a lot of them are good games. Hotline Miami is a bloody classic, and Katana Zero is a fantastic game D:

    i feel like we should be pirating these games just on principle

    Alternate title:
    Australian Classififcation Board Refuses Game About A Female Classification

    The government doing their part in promoting piracy like always, but most of us are not going to have a issue since we circumvent this entire ratings system to begin with via online stores.

    This certainly will just hurt the brick and mortar retail stores. From what I can see anyway.

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