Outlast 2 is the latest game added to the list of titles Australia will not allow. The game has been refused a rating by the Australian Classification Board due to one specific scene. The scene in question involves what is described as sexual violence and with no rating, the game cannot be released.
Kotaku Australia provided the official documentation about the nature and content of the scene that caused the issue. We will link it here (but be warned about spoilers and descriptions of sexual assault).
The scene is essentially a grindhouse sex dungeon. A lot of disturbed sexual imagery the player is forced to witness. The main problem however, comes from where the player himself becomes a victim of a creature’s sexual desires. There is no video of the scene so it is difficult to fully understand the nature of the content. According to all reports no explicit detail are shown but it’s not hard to figure out what is going on based on descriptions.
This is always a messy topic to cover. Australia’s laws have often been the subject of ridicule due to strict regulations on video games. While it has become much more relaxed over the years, it still often sees this kind of restriction. Outlast 2 is as much a psychological horror as it is traditional “jump scare” romp. These scenes are not new to the genre of Horror across mediums and for some time have been a common element of them. While criticism has always been leveled at the exploitative nature of such scenes, it is rare to see them outright barred from a release.
The Classification Board has noted that if the scenes are removed the game would be eligible for an 18+ rating and thus available for release in Australia. They did note to Kotaku however that the scene mentioned was not an “exhausted list of content” which forced the decision not to provide Outlast 2 a rating. Essentially, while this scene is the most problematic it is not the only concern found by the ratings board.
This is not the first time a game has not only been banned, but has been required to make alterations in Australia. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is the biggest example of this where the game is still unavailable for purchase in Australia through legitimate means. This was too due to a scene that depicted sexual assault, although this example has always been debatable within context. Developers Dennaton Games actually encouraged Australians to just pirate the game as they would not remove the scene.
It will be interesting to see how the Outlast 2 developers Red Barrels handle the situation. While the notion of removing content for more sales always makes the more logical choice, they could go the Hotline Miami 2 route and stick by their guns. Outlast 2 is just over a month away from launch on PS4, Xbox One and the PC. Coming out on April 25th, it will also coincide with the launch of Outlast Trilogy which is all three games (Outlast, Outlast: Whistleblower and Outlast 2) on both digital and physical versions.
Hopefully those Down Under will be able to join in the terror Outlast 2 has to offer. So put your brave face on because you probably won’t be sleeping well for a while.