New Mortal Kombat banned in Australia


update Australia’s content classification regulator has banned the highly anticipate remake of the classic Mortal Kombat video game series from being sold in Australia, deeming the game’s violence outside the boundaries of the highest MA15+ rating which video games can fall under.

The full text of the Australian Classification Board’s decision is available in PDF format here. It goes into detail about the decision, stating that the game contains violence which “goes beyond strong in impact” is therefore unsuitable for those under the age of 18 to play — particularly noting Mortal Kombat’s famously gruesome ‘fatality’ finishing moves.

Confirming the board’s decision, a spokesperson for the local branch of Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment said the group was “extremely disappointed” that Mortal Kombat — “one of the world’s oldest and most successful video games franchises” wouldn’t be available to adult gamers in Australia.

The lack of an R18+ classification system for video games in Australia, which Mortal Kombat would likely fall under, has resulted in various popular video games — such as Left 4 Dead 2 — being censored for the Australia market or refused classification so that they are unable to be sold locally. Some game publishers have been forced to modify their games prior to release in Australia, meaning some local releases have been delayed.

The Warner Bros spokesperson said the organisation would not market mature content where it was not appropriate for the targeted audience — and backed persistent industry calls for an R18+ rating to be introduced into the Australian jurisdiction to cover games like Mortal Kombat.

“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 Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, WBIE is reviewing all options available at this time,” they said.

The iGEA represents a number of video game manufactuers and distirbutors in Australia, including heavyweights such as Microsoft, Nintendo, Activision, Sony Computer Entertainment and more. The organisation has for several years been pushing for the introduction of an R18+ rating locally.

In December, Australia’s Federal and State Attorneys-General — who are required to reach unanimous agreement on the need for an R18+ rating for it to be introduced — further postponed reaching a decision on the matter. The NSW election is expected to postpone any agreement further.

iGEA chief executive Ron Curry said the fact that another game “clearly designed and targeted at adults” had been refused classification again highlighted the shortcomings of the current classification scheme.

“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?” he said.

Furthermore, Curry said when a highly anticipated game was refused classification, two things could happen — interest in the game would actually increase, and people would still get the game via importation or piracy.

“Ironically, the game is then widely available in Australia without any identifiable classification markings. How is this informing parents and protecting children?” he asked.

“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.”

Image credit: Screenshot of Mortal Kombat game trailer


  1. This is just adds to the ongoing frustration of being an Australian gamer *sigh*

  2. Well,Guess ill be Importing this from the states,glad ive tee’d it up with some friends already

    • Yeah, the ordering it from over here in the states is the obvious answer for you. You can beat this obvious idiocy that way. The thing is, over here on this side of the big pond we have our own sets of idiocy to deal with…

  3. Good ole stupid Australian government trying to save us from Mortal Kombat…hahaha…haven’t they heard of the internet and buying online lol…looks like I’ll be buying it from overseas now and probably buying it cheaper than if i’d bought it here :o)

    • Hey Philip,

      Any ideas on the best way to get my hands on a copy of Mortal Kombat from oversea that would work on the Australian (Asia- Pacific) region coded xbox? Where have you bought banned games in the past?

      • I didn’t know the Australian Xbox was region-coded — I thought you could play games from any region that uses PAL? Or am I chronically out of date here?

  4. And this ongoing debacle is another reason why I’m happy that I’m moving to Canada at the end of the year.

    I’m trusted to teach young people in my classroom and yet I’m not trusted to make a decision for myself in regards to mature games.

    Go figure…

    • Canada… seriously?

      I live in this country and I am leaving it for the USA. Why? I am absolutely sick and tired of idiotic governmental agencies telling me what I can and cannot do here. Our CRTC mandates what can be on tv and our tv stations here even hijack some American broadcasts with Canadian content. For example, during the SuperBowl, it is IMPOSSIBLE in Canada to see the US commercials, which is a large part of the SuperBowl experience. If I tune to a US tv channel, I will get the local Canadian station, that has hijacked that channel for the time of the program.

      Canada is a retarded country. Take it from me, a citizen of this place.

  5. Maybe in a strange kind of way big name titles being banned at this point in time is a good thing. With the next SCAG meeting coming up we need as much evidence as possible to demonstrate how ludicrous the current system is. This is one of the biggest examples of the stupidity of our current system yet, and will no doubt put more pressure on the government for a complete overhaul of the classification system and the long overdue introduction of an R18+ rating.

    In the mean time anyone who wants the game will import or download it, so it’s not a massive loss for the gaming community.

    • It’s not a massive loss for consumers, but the retailers should be stepping up since they’re set to lose a pretty decent chunk of that pie…

      • True — there are hundreds of thousands of Australians who won’t buy this game now — won’t go to the effort of importing it etc.

        • I was never overly interested in mortal combat – but now I’m going to import it as an act of civil disobedience.

    • True — that is one good way to look at it. However, to be honest, I can’t see attorneys-general watching trailers for Mortal Kombat and wanting to vote for an R18+ classification. The game is just too gory. That’s why it’s awesome :)

      Of course … it’s been that gory for decades now.

  6. I have ZERO interest in games of this type, so this does not directly affect me.

    However, it’s just another demonstration of how the simple omission of a single rating category can screw things up for people. A rating category that either exists or has an equivalent category in other forms of media in this country – (eg: the AV rating for television).

    Imagine the uproar if an Australian company developed a massively successful game, acclaimed around the world that fell into this classification abyss.

    A massive Australian success that wouldn’t be available here.


  7. Ergh… this is SO highly frustrating. As a gamer i was really looking forward to this game, and as an employee who works in retail games this really peeves me off…ergh… hopefully the people on the ratings board pull thier finger out and get this rating approved. Australian gamers deserve it!

  8. i just outlayed $130 last night on a preorder for the kollectors edition,now today,that has to be reversed.
    yet dvds like the hills have eyes 1 or 2 which depict rape are allowed in,i remember on the PS2 you could get manhunt,which the aim of the game was to kill someone as best as possible,be it a plastic bag over the head,garrotte,needle etc.
    this is a farce,the retailers will lose unimaginable amounts of money by the bureaucratic wankers,the killjoys,who are in an obviously non important role where certain things are allowed but not others,it’s ludicrous.
    people WILL import it.people WILL set up a new account to get the DLC.people WILL pirate it.
    wake up australian government.this game will be on our shores.
    get an R18+ classification,try to monitor it as best you can.
    the gamers will revolt,there will be an uproar!

  9. “this is a farce,the retailers will lose unimaginable amounts of money by the bureaucratic wankers,the killjoys,who are in an obviously non important role where certain things are allowed but not others,it’s ludicrous.”

    You get joy from this? No wonder the world is screwed up.

  10. Well, if the game is not going to be officially released there is alway the bit torrent network.

  11. Sing it with me…

    “onward christian soldiers….”

    If only we could infect these knobheads with a clue….

  12. Note that according to Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor , many existing MA15+ games (eg Call of Duty: Black ops) would be moved into the new R18+ category. Those currently refused classification as MA15+ would in general still be refused classification. Mortal Kombat would be given an RC (Refused Classification) or R18+ rating. It is illegal to sell RC material in Australia.

    Material on the Internet that is refused classification (RC) would be blocked by the mandatory ISP filter the government has specified be put in place, but which is continually being delayed.

    Current Labor party policy is that R18+ material on the Internet should be blocked by the mandatory filter, and that there be a universal opt-in filter against MA15+ too, but they’re letting this die a natural death.

  13. “Material on the Internet that is refused classification (RC) would be blocked by the mandatory ISP filter the government has specified be put in place, but which is continually being delayed. ”

    Thats a lot of smoke and mirrors and a load of croc. You can bet it will be ineffective, as it can be easily and cheaply bypassed – even by a 15 year old.

  14. Wow, Australia is to be commended for their actions here. I mean, all western governments nowadays act like there are no adults among their citizens, but at least Australia admits it explicitly.

  15. Australia. Where government tries to control its citizens morality and has created an idiotic system to do so.

    I’m sure that the irony of who their companions are in trying to control what their citizens can and cannot buy escapes their advocates of moral censorship.

  16. This problem is easily solved. Simply rename it Mortal Kombat – Islamic Edition. Not only will the ban be lifted, the game will be a mandated part of diversity training.

  17. I wont be importing it, I’d like to but I think customs will be on the lookout for it. I read about a guy getting a $1000 fine for attempting to import Left for dead 2.
    It’s a big release, recently a fair few games have been refused like alien vs predator but after appeal they get released unedited.
    WB is a big company hopefully they can give us a hand to free Australia of this bull crap.

    • I don’t know, I didn’t think they could stop the import of RC material for person use? It’s only illegal to sell it or broadcast RC material in the majority of Australia.

      • I might ring customs to find out… I’d like to import if possible but I’m not very confident.

        • I called customs and spoke to a guy called Ian, he said that if a game is refused classification in Australia it’s also illegal to import and would be seized.
          So good luck if you get it out here.

          I’m sure we’ll find a way to get a hold of it but f*cking hell what a hassle.

          Elections are coming up soon, I’m going to draw a MK sign on my ballet paper as a crappy protest attempt.
          Either that or I’ll draw a massive dong lol.

          I might spread that around try to get people to do the same.

  18. Average age of a Gamer is something like 30. an R18+ rating make sense. computer games are developed and aimed at mature people. Computer games are no longer “for kids”. The video game industry is as big if not bigger then the movie industry at the moment. Retailers, who are already crying from lost sales going to internet merchants, will loose out drastically. Mortal Kombat Is an icon of this industry, and the reason why the current rating system was applied to video games. Let the new Mortal Kombat be the reason for passing the R18+ classification. I will be sourcing a copy from overseas..

  19. Australia Banning Mortal Kombat: Good Publicity for Neither Realms Studios! – I’m SO going to buy this game now…

  20. Judging by the above consensus, I won’t find friends with my comment, but I do find it a complete oxymoron to use the label “mature content”. I don’t believe it should be banned, classification seems the right way to go so people can make informed choice, but really, “mature content”. Let’s call a spade a spade. How about: simulated extreme violence not suitable for mature audiences?

  21. this is fucking retarded wtf is Australias g thinking thay never banned any other mk before wtf pissed

  22. Rofl that comment about the spine rip made me lol.

    Anyway, how can we get a hold of this game
    for ps3?

    I bought the first 3 versions and loved the classic MkII on snes from back in 1992-93. How nostalgic it would be to play this again 19 yrs later!

    Is it as easy as buying from the UK? Or will I need someone to put the disc in an alternative casing.

    I really want this kollectors edition though. Bloody hell what will it take to get this game?

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