The Australian government's Classification Board refused classification for THQ and Vogster Entertainment's CrimeCraft
due to in-game "drug use related to incentives or rewards," effectively banning the gang-based MMO shooter from sale in the country.
, players create, trade, and consume "Boosts," fictional drugs that can improve their character's performance. In the U.S., where the game was released last August, the subscription-free PC game received a "Mature" rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board due to its "blood, strong language, suggestive themes, and violence."
"In the board's opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the 'fictional drugs' available in game and real-world proscribed drugs," argued the Classification Board.
"Boost parallels the names, chemical elements, administration, treatment, and addictive elements of real-world proscribed drugs, and when used provide quantifiable benefits to a player's character," it continued. "The game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be refused classification."
Bethesda's Fallout 3
suffered similar troubles earlier this year when the board refused to classify the game due to its in-game use of morphine for helping players recover from injuries. The publisher eventually changed the name of the real-world drug to a fictional one ("Med-X"), and was approved for sale in Australia with an MA 15+ rating.
Midway's NFL Blitz: The League
, however, never released in the country after the Xbox 360 game was refused classification for its use of "illegal performance-enhancing drugs" and fake urine samples to fool in-game drug tests. Prior to CrimeCraft
, the most recent title banned by the board was Left 4 Dead 2
due to its "realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence." The game was later approved
after edits by developer Valve.
Many of the issues with refused classifications for games in Australia stem from the Classification Board's lack of an equivalent to the ESRB's Mature 17+ rating or the Pan European Game Information's (PEGI) 18 rating. Though the Australian board has R18+ and X18+ ratings for films, it has no such classification for games.