[UPDATE] Kotaku Australia have obtained information regarding the offending scenes that informed the Classification Board’s decision to deny classification to Outlast 2.
The Board’s report noted that the game would potentially be considered for an R18+ rating “without the depiction of implied sexual violence.”
More details can be found on Kotaku’s story, but readers should be aware of potential spoilers and descriptions of sexual assault.
[ORIGINAL STORY BELOW]
Upcoming horror game Outlast 2 has been refused classification in Australia, meaning it will not be released in the region.
In a ruling issued on March 15 2017, the Australian government’s Classification Board stated that Outlast 2 has been identified to “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.”
Kotaku noted that the demo for Outlast 2, released in September 2016, received an R18+ rating which acknowledged the game’s high impact violence, blood and gore, strong themes, moderate language, and mild nudity.
Outlast 2 will not see a release in Australia unless developer Red Barrels decides to resubmit the game for classification with changes that would help their work meet Australia’s rating guidelines in a manner that appeases the Classification Board.
GameSpot has contacted Red Barrels for a statement.
Until 2013, Australia’s highest classification rating for games was MA15+, meaning games that had themes unsuitable for those above fifteen years of age would be refused classification. In July of 2011, after years of contentious lobbying, all Australian state governments finally agreed to begin the process of introducing the R18+ rating for video games in the same manner that has existed for films since 1970.
Because of the historically narrow scope of Australia’s video game classification system, many significant games have been banned in the country. Fallout 3 was banned in 2008 for portraying morphine to have a positive effect on the player, causing Bethesda to rename the drug “Med-X” in all versions of the game. Since the instatement of the R18+ rating for video games, games that have been refused classification include Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, Hatred, and South Park: The Stick of Truth, although South Park’s offending content was eventually humorously edited for the region.
Outlast 2 was originally due for release at the end of 2016, but was eventually delayed until April 25. Red Barrels also recently announced Outlast Trinity, a physical collection of all three Outlast games, also releasing on April 25. You can listen to some eerie tracks from Outlast II’s soundtrack right here.