Two weeks after Australia's Classification Board revoked a PG rating
for Tecmo's not-so-subtly-sexual 3DS fighting game Dead or Alive: Dimensions
, the board has decided to approve the game under a more restrictive M rating.
The approval of an M rating means the game will labeled as recommended for "mature audiences" with content that "is moderate in impact." The board's descriptors for the game include "violence and sexualized gameplay."
Dead or Alive: Dimension
's original distributor in Australia was THQ, which applied for the initial PG rating. After that rating was revoked, new distributor Nintendo Australia sought an M rating. The title has a Teen rating in the U.S., which is roughly analogous to the Australia's M rating.
With the M rating, the Australian version of the game will retain its original content. In Australia, when the classification board refuses to classify a game, that title is de facto banned from release in the country.
The country is currently embroiled in a debate to bring an R18+ rating to video games, which may come to a head later this month when Australian politicians convene to resolve the issue.
Currently, the strictest rating for a video game in Australia is MA15+, a rating that signifies that a game is not suitable for people under 15. If a game has content that is too risque for that rating, it is refused classification, and effectively banned from sale in the country.
An R18+ game rating would help loosen such classification restrictions, and give Australia the equivalent of the Entertainment Software Rating Board's M for "Mature" rating.
Controversy began to brew over Dead or Alive: Dimensions
in late May when European distributor Bergsala refused to ship the game in Sweden, Norway and Denmark to avoid possibly violating local child pornography laws.
The game features a mode in which players can pose the characters and take photos of them from every angle, including upskirt shots of virtual girls. Several of the female fighters are described as being under 18 years old in the game, though Nintendo Australia pointed out that its local version of the game did not list the characters' ages.