Silent Hill: Homecoming banned in Australia

Horror thriller to possibly be modified for Australian release.

The upcoming video game Silent Hill: Homecoming has been refused a rating by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), preventing its release within Australia.

Silent Hill: Homecoming is the sixth title in the horror action series, which started in 1999 and included a 2006 movie release.

Gamespot Australia has reported that a spokesman for the game’s local distributor Atari Entertainment said the OFLC refused the game classification based on representations of violence.

The OFLC report includes references to graphic elements such as dismemberment, decapitation, torture and blood spray. There is no information available on the advisory board’s Web site regarding the reasoning behind specific classifications.

The debate over Australia’s lack of an adult rating for video games has been reignited by the verdict, following a decision in August to reject classification of the post-apocalyptic role-playing game Fallout 3. A modified version of Fallout 3 was subsequently given an MA15+ rating. The smash hit Grand Theft Auto IV also required modification before being offered for sale in Australia. People importing unmodified versions were at risk of being fined up to $110,000, according to the Australian Customs Service.

A study sponsored by the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia last year found that the median age for gamers was 28, and that the governmental decision to exclude an R18+ classification was “based on incorrect assumptions”. The study recommended a full range of classification ratings be introduced in order to bring Australia “into alignment” with the rest of the world.

Atari Entertainment and the game’s developer, Konami, are set to discuss possible modifications of the game in order to secure an Australian release, but the process would mean the title would not make its original November release date. Gamespot Australia reported Atari’s spokesman as suggesting the release would be “on the backburner until early next year”.

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