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Australian Classification Allowed This Grotesque Imagery In Outlast, But Changed Its Mind With Outlast 2

Posted on Thursday, March 16 @ 11:00:00 PST by James_Kozanitis

Any informed gamer of the last decade or so will be familiar with Australia's rough standards of video game censorship. Whether it was completely sterilizing Left 4 Dead 2 or putting the ax down on  Hotline Miami 2, the Australian Classification Board has shown an overall aversion to violence and especially sexual violence.

So when this immovable object was met with an unstoppable violent force known as Outlast 2, the results were about as everyone expected: Outlast 2 was refused classification. This means that, unless Red Barrels alters the content of their game, which would be accepting blatant censorship, Outlast 2 will not be sold in Australia.

While unsurprising, it's also disappointing to see game developers continually strapped down by rigid censorship organizations, and that includes the ESRB and the MPAA for movies and filmmakers. A free expression of ideas should be the norm in the creation of art. You may feel that games like Outlast, which routinely pushes the envelope, aren't what you would call "art," that's the price we pay for freedom. For instance, a blanket ban on the depiction of sexual violence, which is what the Australian Classification Board seems to be suggesting with refusal of Outlast 2, would deprive the world of great works of art like 12 Years a Slave, The Road Warrior and Elle to name only very few.

Beyond that, the ACB's decision is completely inconsistent with their acceptance of both Outlast and Outlast: Whistleblower, the latter of which boasted being the first game to feature male genital mutilation while the former of which boasted being the first game to depict necrophilia. And even that sentence doesn't accurately describe the horrors that appear in the original game and its story DLC.

Let's just go through some of the things that the Australian Classification Board considered to be appropriate for 18+ in a VERY NSFW gallery below:

So all of that was fine? But some surreal implied sexual assault scene isn't? Where's the line, exactly? I'm not going to pretend that these games are for everyone. They're a lot to stomach, and I'm always a proponent of letting people know what's in a game before they buy it, especially when it comes to serious violent or sexual content. But to actively attempt to censor that is going to far, especially when its done on such an inconsistent basis that game developers can't possibly navigate effectively with any regularity.

While Red Barrels has yet to comment, and I doubt they will, I'll go ahead and say it for them: the ACB and its ilk are complete and total hogwash.
Related Games:   Outlast, Outlast 2

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