Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011) [UPDATED: WB is Appealing]

Jeff Greeson

Staff member
According to <b>IGN Australia</b>, the <a href="">Australian Classification Board</a>, the equivalent of the <a href="">ESRB</a> in the <b>United States</b>, will decide to <a href="">refuse classification</a> for <a href="">Mortal Kombat (2011)</a>. One of <B>IGN's</b> sources stated they received an e-mail stating that the game will "not be released in Australia. The e-mail added that the decision might be overturned in the future, but these steps were currently necessary."

<b>Update: 9:40pm CST</b>: IGN just updated their story with an official statement from Warner Bros. which we've included below.

The highly anticipated video game Mortal Kombat, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) in Australia, has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board and will not release in Australia. We are extremely disappointed that Mortal Kombat, one of the world's oldest and most successful video games franchises, will not be available to mature Australian gamers.

WBIE would not market mature content where it is not appropriate for the audience. We understand that not all content is for every audience, but there is an audience for mature gaming content and it would make more sense to have the R18+ classification in Australia. As a member of the iGEA, WBIE is reviewing all options available at this time.

Looks like Australian fans may have to resort to importing the game unless something changes.

<b>Update 10:40pm CST</b>: <b>Kotaku Australia</b> got a hold of their hands on the <a href="">classification report for Mortal Kombat</a> that has some major spoilers of Fatalities in it. We included part of it here, which states there can be up to four Fatalties per character to be unlocked. Read the rest at your own risk.

Initially, the Move List Within the game includes one finishing move per character, although a player is able to unlock up to four per character. The Board notes that fatalities cannot be performed in Story mode and are unlikely to be performed frequently during gameplay; however, it is also noted that there are more than 60 fatalities available and they are an important component of the game.

We also got our own order cancellation from <a href=""></a> as we had ordered some Kollectors Editions from Australia. They seem to think there is no way for Warner Bros to appeal this, so hopefully this controversy will cause Australia to consider implementing the R18+ classification.

Thanks for pre-ordering Mortal Kombat. We’ve just been given some disappointing news from the distributor. The Office of Film and Literature Classification have made a unanimous ruling to ban Mortal Kombat for sale or import into Australia, as it is a unanimous decision we’ve been told they are unable to lodge an appeal. Unfortunately we will be cancelling your pre orders. We will keep your emails on file in case a modified version becomes available so we can notify you.

<b>Update 11:12pm</b>: We found a quote from Ron Curry, CEO of the <a href="">Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA)</a> that the WB Press Release had stated. It's a good read about the problem at hand.

The granting of another RC to a video game clearly designed and targeted at ADULTS again highlights the shortcomings of the current classification scheme. In particular, the absence of an adult classification.

As with many other forms of media, there is a demand and place for an adult themed narrative. We trust adults with this material in other media forms, yet deny them similar access simply because it’s a ‘game’. We would not accept the argument that because it’s “unsuitable for a minor to see or play” that it should therefore be banned in any other media form, so why video games?

When a highly anticipated game receives an RC we can expect two things to happen; interest in obtaining the game will actually increase and people will still get the game either through importing (ordering online) or pirating; the latter an encouragement to commit a crime in order to perpetuate the crime of accessing illegal content. Ironically, the game is then widely available in Australia without any identifiable classification markings. How is this informing parents and protecting children?

It is the industry position that an adult classification sends a clear message to the public that the content is not suitable for minors and is the most effective means of guiding access to mature content. Refusing classification of titles that meet adult rating criteria in every other Western country in our digital age is ineffective and naïve.

It is also important to highlight that content that exceeds the guidelines of an R18+ classification, should it be introduced, would still be refused classification and banned in Australia.

<b>Update March 1st</b>: It appears that <b>WB Australia</b> is <a href="">appealing the ruling</a>, and is doing so with the same version of the game with no censorship changes made.

"After careful consideration Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Australia have decided to appeal to the Australian Classification Review Board against the RC (Refused Classification) decision given to Mortal Kombat. After reviewing both the game play and the Board's original decision WBIE Australia believe the violence in the game is on par with numerous other titles readily available for sale in the Australian market. As such the company wants to exhaust all options to make the game available to Mortal Kombat fans in this country. An identical version of the game will be submitted for appeal."

Considering that the upcoming Wii sex party game <a href="">Wii Dare got a PG rating</a> the fact that MK got a RC is looking more and more silly.
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Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)

The websites still have the links up, but yes we've heard they have begun to cancel them. I have a pre-order that is not yet cancelled from Australia. Lets hope it's a fluke!
Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)

Updated the story with official bad news from Warner Bros.
Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)

Wow that sucks for a lot of mk fans at in Australia.
Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)

It's just a game.
I don't get how the AU ratings board gets so worked up about a piece of software, and it's not like anybody is gonna go around and start shooting ice, breathing flames, or ripping out someone's spine...
It's a piece of fiction in a very fictional world...
Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)

I truly respect WB Games for the way they even had a small dig at the Classification Board, I knew this was coming, doesn't mean I'm not annoyed. Oh well, maybe they'll just do The Punisher thing and make things black and white during the violent parts. How do they censor Youtube then?
Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)

Wow, how asinine.

What is wrong with those people?

It makes me embarrassed, honestly. I never anticipated this, and I can't believe it actually happened to us. I'm nothing less than infuriated.
Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)

This is UNACCEPTABLE!! Screw this ****ing country and its backward ass Government!! That's it. I'm moving!!
Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)

Sorry to hear that guys.
I hope they overturn this decision quick.
This sucks for the Austrailian fans.
NRS is missing out on a lot of cash with this bullshit.
Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)

Why are they so strict? I remember Bethesda had to change morphine to med-x in Fallout 3 to avoid a ban in Australia. And the whole thing with AVP.
Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)


That picture sums it up perfectly.
Re: Australia Refuses to Classify Mortal Kombat (2011)

Just got my phone call to tell me my order is now cancelled. The guy on the phone reckons something will be done to get it through though. As far as the classification thing goes - cool spoilers there!