On my recent trip to the local games retailer I was bailed up in the corner and handed my $10 deposit for a Mortal Kombat pre-order. The game has not passed the first round of classification and the Australian Classification Board has advised stores to remove all displays and signs for release until further notice.
Warner Brothers Interactive have released a statement, and my contact at the retailer confirms, WBI are not looking to compromise the game to conform to the classification board. So I’m sorry to say this, but for now we are not going to see the release of this highly anticipated title on our shore’s. Here is the statement from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment:
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.
Meanwhile forums, and blogs all over the internet are flooding with people saying that they now plan on importing the title from overseas, and sharing links to various international games retailers. There is of course also the inevitable piracy of the game, and Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association had a few comments to make to Kotaku about it:
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?