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Games Entertainment

Dead Space To Launch Early, Banned in Three Countries 87

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-with-the-bad dept.
EA Redwood Shores' Dead Space seems to be one of the few games that has its release constantly moved forward. Shortly after news that the game's European debut was moved up to Oct. 24th, the company announced that the US launch date would be moved up to October 14th. Unfortunately, EA's Ben Swanson also said the game has been banned in China, Germany, and Japan. (Announcement here, sound toggle to the upper right of the page.) Previews of the game are available from Ars and Gamespy.
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Dead Space To Launch Early, Banned in Three Countries

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:03AM (#24898005)

    But Japan? When did the Japanese jump on the censorship protects kids bandwagon?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Conspicuously absent is Australia.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NoobixCube (1133473)

        Don't worry, the OFLC is just a little slow. It will be banned, I'm sure.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2008 @02:19AM (#24898315)

          Don't worry, the OFLC is just a little slow. It will be banned, I'm sure.

          I doubt it. The OFLC already gave it MA15+ (RTFA). The only time the OFLC bans something is if a) enough soccer mums complain) or b) it involves lots of drugs, gang membership, prostitution, killing civilians, or murder sprees in general. Actual violence level has rarely been a criteria.

          Even then lots of things slip through - Fallout 1, 2, Tactics, Half-Life, various versions of GTA, etc.

          Australia ain't some totalitarian regime like China, mate.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:14AM (#24898059)

      From the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]:

      Previews of the game have universally drawn attention to the high levels of gore and violence in the game, in particular the tactic of 'strategic dismemberment' when battling the Necromorphs. The aliens cannot be subdued by a single shot, rather they have to be incapacitated by shooting off their tentacles and appendages.

      Remember, the Japanese take their tentacle porn [wikipedia.org] seriously. It is one thing to show graphic violence with humans. But if you do it with tentacle rapists, you have crossed the line!

    • by KGIII (973947) *

      I am more surprised by Germany. The Germany of today has seemingly been about freedoms. Then again, Japan is surprising as well but not as surprising to me as Germany being on the list.

      • by Corbets (169101) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:33AM (#24898117) Homepage

        I am more surprised by Germany. The Germany of today has seemingly been about freedoms.

        Well, I don't quite know how to respond to that. As someone living in Germany's southern neighbor, I have to say that I haven't found the Germans to be about "freedoms" in our field at all. Have you followed the recent laws where even having a copy of Wireshark installed your laptop is a crime? I work in IT security, and I go to great pains to ensure that any security tools and documents are thoroughly encrypted so that I can't be charged.

      • by arth1 (260657) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:35AM (#24898121) Homepage Journal

        I think you have the wrong impression of Germany. Quite often, there are special German versions of games because of their stricter regulation. Mostly it's the strong prohibition against displaying any nazi symbols, but there's also laws against showing gratuitous violence.

        Which I think is pretty much OK (except for when it prevents historically correct depictions of e.g. planes and uniforms due to the swastika). I find our laws here in the land of the free, which make a nipple or penis a more horrible thing than brain splatter and bloody guts, far harder to understand.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "Which I think is pretty much OK"

          Why? What beneficial effects do you expect from having your government dictate what your citizens can see, hear, create, and play?

      • Germany's been reacting [slashdot.org] very [slashdot.org] badly [slashdot.org] to violent games. Their reactions towards games are much, much worse than the US's (from my perspective, anyway).

        Also, part of me feels like I should make some comment about nazis, but I can't think of anything. Go ahead and pretend that I said something witty, please.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KDR_11k (778916)

        Nope, violent games have always been subject to indexing and bans. I'm not sure Dead Space really got banned, could just have gotten indexed (no advertising allowed, includes putting the game on a shelf outside an 18-only area) but console manufacturers block indexed games completely.

        Usually it's not just how the violence is depicted but what the context is, if the player is encouraged to be unnecessarily cruel that ups the chance of a block, if killing isn't even necessary to proceed (e.g. in a stealth gam

      • Surprised about Germany banning a game? Most violent games released there are toned down. Essentially the content filter on every game is set to on and the knob is broken off. Executive Producer Glen Schofield said that 'the primary theme of Dead Space is dismemberment'. (Source) [gamespy.com] He probably refused to make a low-gore version, which would change the game completely.
        • by KGIII (973947) *

          That is something I didn't know (I'll respond here instead of all the other topics). It would seem to me that if they are soul searching and putting on a front (see main stream media) of visionary freedoms for their citizens then this does not compute.

          • Not really.
            Germany has a long tradition of censoring entertainment media, especially those that are new and not yet established with the generation that provides the current bunch of politicians. The main differences are
            -The emphasis is on censoring violence rather than sex like in the USA. Try selling a brothel management game with graphic sex scenes in the USA, and you'll get an idea of how some German politicians view violent games.
            -The censorship is ostensibly about protecting juveniles from material th

    • Is there human decapitation in the game anywhere? As I recall, in the case of Ninja Gaiden (not the original trilogy) the game was censored for Japan and uncensored for the US, in that human decaps were not included in the Japanese version based on some law. Perhaps that is the cause, or some similar issue.
    • Don't worry. The nation that gave us Battle Royale will never protect their kids.

  • Uh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BJH (11355) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:32AM (#24898113)

    I've been seeing this rumor for a couple of days, and as far as I can tell any talk of it being banned in Japan is bollocks. Can anybody post a single source which provides proof of this?

    The Japanese rating associations can't ban a game, as their role is advisory only, so it's not them. The government normally only takes an interest in uncensored porn, and even then it's usually the police in an after-the-fact kind of thing where the distributor gets arrested and charged.

    This isn't China - there is no central authority that has final say on what may or may not be sold. Customs could possibly block it at import, but even then there would normally be a court case first.

    A ban for a game which hasn't even been released yet? I don't think so.

    • by Panseh (1072370)
      It's from an EA blog in the second link:

      Hey Everyone,

      I've got some good news and some bad news.

      Good News: Today we announced that the ship date for Dead Space has been moved up to October 14th (20th on PC) in North America and October 24th in Europe! We're happy to give everyone in our community a chance to play the game a week earlier than they otherwise would have. As you may know, ship dates have a tendency to move around, and usually that means you get the game later. Fortunately, due to the tremendous efforts of the Dead Space development team, we are able to move the date in and distract you from working on your awesome ghost costume!

      Bad News: Unfortunately, we've recently found out that Dead Space will be banned in Germany, China and Japan. This is hard for us, especially after we got a chance to meet and hang out with so many amazing German fans and getting some great coverage at the Leipzig Games Convention last month. We'd like to thank the German, Chinese and Japanese communities for their amazing support and enthusiasm and say that we are truly sorry that you will not be able to find Dead Space in your local shop next month.

      -Ben

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by BJH (11355)

        Yes, I know, I did actually RTFA.

        That's not a source which inspires me with confidence in its accuracy. No official announcement? Nothing in the Japanese media?

        Who banned it? Why? Not a word so far.

    • by grumbel (592662)

      there is no central authority that has final say on what may or may not be sold.

      There actually is a central authority and that is Microsoft. I can't speak for Japan, but in Germany titles that don't get a USK rating are still allowed to be sold to people above 18 years, however Microsoft doesn't publish titles that don't have a USK rating. So what should be just sales restrictions ends up being a complete ban due to Microsoft not publishing those titles. Maybe the situation is similar in Japan.

      • by OSXCPA (805476)

        You raise a creepy, not entirely new but nevertheless interesting point - self-censorship. Which is worse - big brother / the nanny state filtering material that it finds fault with, or people (even corporate 'persons', whether you agree with the concept or not) being so utterly terrified of releasing works that might be construed as 'harmful' (note the quotes, please) that they simply stop producing them?

        Frankly, I was never a fan of 'Piss Christ' (for example) until it occurred to me what would happen if

        • Sounds like you're talking about what's known as "a chilling effect" [wikipedia.org] and if it is, then you'll LOVE schoolbook adoptions [textbookleague.org]. Just about all textbooks in American schools come from a handful of publishers and those publishers won't publish any textbook that has been rejected by what are called "textbook adoption committees", which are committees in a handful of states, most notably Texas and California, whose decisions determine all public school purchases for their state's public schools. These committees, btw
          • by OSXCPA (805476)

            I was aware of the limited publishers for texts. I knew there were adoption committees, but I assumed their effects were local. If you are correct, then I must thank you for providing a good reason to toss some whisky in my Sunday morning coffee. :)

            Sadly, while I wouldn't say Americans 'cant think their way out of a paper bag or election booth', the only real support for my position would be that those who can think rarely make the news. Weak argument, unfortunately, when placed against widely available new

    • by nomadic (141991)
      Sure, no problem. [slashdot.org]
  • by ilovesymbian (1341639) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @02:35AM (#24898415)

    Japanese cartoons are full of violence, not to mention Japanese underground rape-porn and other shoddy media. How come Japan has banned this game?

    Germany... well they are still in the 1940's trying to make amends for what the nazis did. I won't blame them for trying.

    China banning this game? Yawn... so whats new? They ban everthing.

    • by magus_melchior (262681) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @04:02AM (#24898719) Journal

      The primary reason is likely the increasing incidents of teenagers killing people, and the increase in conspicuous murders like the infamous massacre in Akihabara this year-- and the couple of copycat murders or attempted murders. So instead of improving the ratio of quality of life to cost, education system, and its directionless (and decidedly GOP-like) government, an agency decided to ban a graphically violent game. Essentially, if the LDP don't have an easy scapegoat, they will have to deal with issues they'd rather not touch.

      Today's Japan is very much a reactionary culture, where the old continue to govern by striking down that which they fear without careful consideration of the impact of their decisions. And the next in line can't wait to smack down the younger generation, so the cycle feeds itself.

      And the "underground" stuff is technically contraband in Japan, IIRC. At least, I can't imagine an old cop letting an "ura" DVD slide.

      • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @05:09AM (#24898941)

        Um, I'm pretty sure Japan's culture being extremely conservative and disapproving of anything different than the status quo is NOT something new.
        In fact it's more the whole.. crazy weird kooky stuff.. that's new. That's how Today's Japan is different. The rest? That's just Japan being Japan. They're conservative, they're racist, they're self-conscious, and gosh darn it, people like them.

        • They're conservative, they're racist, they're self-conscious, and gosh darn it, people like them.

          A fact I continue to fail to understand at all.

    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      Unless the game actually involves Nazis it's unlikely that that has anything to do with WW2 amends. There are simply laws against glorifying violence (which for games means encouraging the player to be cruel or brutal) and there are strict rating systems (with the highest rating meaning it cannot be shown outside of 18+ areas that minors cannot enter). Most so-called bans are actually just the highest rating which for console games means the console manufacturer won't allow the game's release, actual bans a

    • "Japanese underground rape-porn" if you call selling it in street comic stands underground.
    • by ClubStew (113954)

      Japanese cartoons are full of violence

      But typically during duels or when the "good guy" is fighting a larger group. One might argue that is justified violence given the situation. As several on this post have pointed out, it very much depends on the situation. Maiming a character in order to kill it could go to far for some.

      not to mention Japanese underground rape-porn

      The fact that it's "underground" pretty much means that the government does care about it and doesn't want it, so your mention of it as jus

  • According to this German news site (link : http://www.eurogamer.de/article.php?article_id=230133 ), Andrew Green wasn't correct, and Dead Space has not gone through the German classification system yet.

    However, knowing their past, I would be surprised if it did pass classification.

  • _Banned_ in Germany? (Score:2, Informative)

    by RichiH (749257)

    Never heard of the game, but apparently it did not go through evaluation, yet. Note that there is a difference between 18+, 'harmful to minors' and banned.

    * The first can not be sold to anyone under 18
    * The second can not be sold openly and you can't run ads for it (which was great marketing, when I was under 18)
    * The third can not be sold at all

    I highly suspect it is the second.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2008 @04:26AM (#24898803)

    Obviously, violence is to Germans what sex is to Americans.

  • Why the Violence? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flnca (1022891) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @05:42AM (#24899113) Journal
    Why put so much violence in a game in the first place? There's an abundance of FPS out there. Wouldn't it be better to come up with some smart and witty game concepts?
    • by F-3582 (996772) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @06:31AM (#24899327)
      Why keep people making violent movies? And violent theater plays? Why do people keep composing music without any tonality? Why do people play jazz solos that makes people go crazy and beat each other up?

      They do it, because they can and they got a target audience for it! Apparently Dead Space is not for twelve-year-olds. Some right-wing conservatives (and Germany has been ruled by them for many years, unfortunately) seem to love liberalism in economy (neo-liberalism), but not in culture.
    • by grumbel (592662)

      From what I have seen of Dead Space a large chunk of the gameplay is build around being able to shoot limps and other body parts of of enemy creatures. There really isn't a way to do that kind of gameplay with less violence. Now I am all for more clever game concepts, but they don't seem to sell all that great, so developers and publishers go into the other direction making the stuff even more violent.

    • by Shihar (153932)

      Because some people like violence. Eh, simple enough? Not all games are for kids. God forbid we get the occasional truly adult game.

      The reason why violence is good is because it enhances the fantasy. If you shoot someone, and they die in a horrible and realistic way, it makes whatever fantasy they are trying to sell you more believable. Personally, I could do with a society without thought crimes. If this is what makes you happy, go for it. I would much rather people play out their fantasies, no matt

      • by flnca (1022891)

        I would much rather people play out their fantasies, no matter how unacceptable in the real world, in video games.

        Sure, but what's next? Rape and murder, sex and splatter games?

        And FWIW, where are the sex games then? Isn't sex per se more harmless than violence?

    • by Thiez (1281866)

      1. People enjoy violent games (I know I do).
      2. Make violent video game.
      3. Sell violent video game.
      4. ???
      5. Profit!

      It's really that simple. I don't mean to suggest that there is no market for smart and witty game concepts (I really enjoyed portal), but many (most?) people enjoy violence. And in a way, this game does have a new and witty concept, that of removing your enemies' appendages.

      • by flnca (1022891)
        Portal isn't the only non-violent game, there are plenty of adventure and puzzle games etc.; most of the action adventures, however, involve some kind of violence (and adventure games even). That's so boring! Beat up or kill X, then beat up or kill Y, rinse and repeat. Same old shit around the clock. I've played computer games for 25 years, and nothing new under the sun. We have still all the same game concepts as in the 1980ies. Very little experimentation.
    • If you haven't looked at how this game plays out yet, you should. The violence looks to be well-done, the horror very well executed and gameplay somewhat unique with a good back-story.

  • publicity stunt (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @07:08AM (#24899435) Homepage Journal

    Frankly, I think that's a publicity stunt with the "banned" - for the lack of details.

    What exactly do they mean? Makes a world of difference, and they don't tell. Germany does have age ratings, and it does have something they call "indexing", which sounds like "banning", but really isn't. It's just one step up from "18+" in that you also can't display it openly in the store. You absolutely can buy it, legally, with age verification, and quite a few brutal computer games are in that area.
    Americans: Think "sex" instead of "violence" and you'll understand. Germans don't mind nude models on magazines, but they do mind blood and gore, i.e. the exact opposite of what the US morals are.

    Very few games are actually "banned", and almost all of them because they break a law against the use of Nazi symbols. A law, I should add, that the Allies forced on the newly founded Germany after WW2.

    • Re:publicity stunt (Score:4, Informative)

      by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Saturday September 06, 2008 @09:43AM (#24900169) Homepage

      Germany does have age ratings, and it does have something they call "indexing", which sounds like "banning", but really isn't.

      For consoles "indexing" is pretty close to banning, since neither Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo allow an indexed game to be published in Germany, which means you can't buy a German version of Gears of War in Germany and neither can you download demos or add-ons from XBoxLive or PSN. You might still be able to find a shop that imports the game for you from another country and you might be able to create an XboxLive or PSN account with fake data that puts you in the USA, but that are just workaround to what is effectivly a ban. For PC games its different because there is no central authority that stops you from publishing the titles.

      Germans don't mind nude models on magazines,

      Germany doesn't have a problem with boobies, but hardcore porn is indexed by default, so freedom when it comes to "sex" isn't exactly there either.

      Very few games are actually "banned"

      True, but it actually does hit major titles, see Dead Rising.

      The real issue with the whole "indexing" and "banning" however is that its really just censorship in disguise. We already have rating agencies that can give a titlel a 18+ rating, its hard to find a reason why one would need restrictions beyond a 18+ rating.

      • by F-3582 (996772)
        Furthermore, there are games that are really banned in Germany. See Manhunt. 2005 the district court of Munich, capital of the state Bavaria which many people confuse with Germany ruled by a religious right-wing conservative party called 'CSU' (Christian Social Union) - infamous for their crusade against those so-called 'Killer Games' (with no real definition ever made by them) and flip-flop maneuvers in order to gain absolute majority in elections - for more than fifty years now, ruled that all copies of t
      • by Tom (822)

        Germany doesn't have a problem with boobies, but hardcore porn is indexed by default, so freedom when it comes to "sex" isn't exactly there either.

        Come visit me one day. I live in Germany and within walking distance from a street where you have a dozen sex shops right next to each other and can walk in and buy your hardcore porn with no more trouble than buying milk in a supermarket - as long as you're over 18.
        I find it hard to imagine how much more "freedom when it comes to "sex"" you could want, unless we're talking about abolishing age ratings alltogether.

        • by grumbel (592662)

          I find it hard to imagine how much more "freedom when it comes to "sex"" you could want,

          The trouble starts when you send stuff per mail and import it from another country, since sending indexed stuff per mail isn't allowed the the Zoll can confiscate it. Sounds to me like quite a serious violation of "secrecy of correspondence", but well the law sees that different. There are workarounds like "post-ident" and such, but I have some doubt that you can get that arranged with a random retailer outside the EU.

          I have absolutely nothing against age ratings, I am all for them, what I have a serious pr

          • by Tom (822)

            Yes, we agree on age regulations. I would find age suggestions useful, non-binding indicators for parents whether or not that movie is "good" for their kids and such.

            Which, btw., is mostly what the stuff is, at least here in Germany, because most age restrictions are void if you are with your parents (e.g. parents can take their 10 year old kid into a 12+ movie).

            But if you have age restrictions, then obviously you need to enforce them. If that means not sending stuff by mail unless you checked age first - t

  • This is BS. It is totally legal to buy this game, it is on the index meaning it cannot be advertised. And ofc it is illegal to sell it to under aged people. You may have to ask at the counter for this game (and chances are that the shop owner won't have it, because he too thinks it is forbidden like "mein kampf"), or you may have to order it online, but it is NOT banned.

    While there is a lot of stupidity going on in Germany regarding violent games and other stuff, and making advertisement for a product ill

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