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Final ruling emerges: No Mortal Kombat for Australia

on 15 March 2011

Late last month we reported that Mortal Kombat had been refused classification in Australia, effectively prohibiting the sale and distribution of the game in the region. Warner Bros. Interactive Australia submitted an appeal to the Australian Classification Board, which today we have learned was unsuccessful due to the level of violence that exceeds an MA15+ rating.

"We're obviously extremely disappointed that the Refused Classification decision has been upheld by the Classification Review Board," said a WBIE Australia spokesperson. "We want to thank the thousands of Mortal Kombat fans in Australia and around the world who have voiced their support during the appeal process."

One of the core reasons for the refused classification is the "explicit" violence portrayed in fatality moves, complete with blood spray and dismemberment. Thus, the reboot of Mortal Kombat was unable to meet the guidelines of an MA15+ rating, which is the highest classification rating in Australia.

"The game includes over 60 fatalities, which contain explicit depictions of dismemberment, decapitation, disembowelment, and other brutal forms of slaughter," the official Board report stated. "Despite the exaggerated conceptual nature of the fatalities and their context within a fighting game set in a fantasy realm, impact is heightened by the use of graphics, which are realistically rendered and very detailed. In the opinion of the Board, the game contains violence that exceeds strong in impact and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play. The game should therefore be Refused Classification pursuant to item 1(d) of the computer games table of the National Classification Board." 

Australia still lacks an R18+ classification. Without it, any game that is not deemed suitable for a 15 year old is effectively not suitable for someone 18 years or over, which in Australia is legally considered an adult age.