Australia reverses ban on ‘Outlast 2’ after worldwide edit of challenged scenes

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A week after Outlast 2 was refused a rating classification in Australia — effectively rendering the game illegal across the country — the Australian Classification Board has re-evaluated the upcoming horror game and reversed its decision.

Speaking with Press Start, Red Barrels said, “Outlast 2 has been rated R18+ by the Classification Branch in Australia and will be released 26th April 2017. There will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide.” In a statement to IGN, the Australian Classification Board claimed that the original version submitted had been modified, which when combined with the developer comment, suggests that the controversial scenes have been removed from the game worldwide.

The game was originally refused a rating classification by the Australian ratings board because, as Kotaku Australia learned, it contained several instances of “sexual violence” that take place when protagonist Blake is hallucinating — including a scene where he is implied to be raped by a monster of some kind.

“Although much of the contact between the creature and Blake is obscured, by it taking place below the screen, the sexualized surroundings and aggressive behavior of the creature suggest that it is an assault which is sexual in nature,” the ratings board said in a statement to Kotaku. “The Board is of the opinion that this, combined with Blake’s objections and distress, constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence.”

The original Outlast wasn’t banned in Australia, but a number of other popular releases, including the first-person shooter Syndicate and Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, were banned for high levels of violence and an implied rape scene, respectively. 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth was originally banned in Australia, as well, due to graphic sexual scenes that fit in line with what is seen on the television show, but these were later censored, replacing the scenes themselves with an explanation from the game’s creators as to why they weren’t included.

Outlast 2 is out in other regions for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 25. A physical version containing the original game, its DLC, and the sequel will also be available on consoles.

Updated on 3-24-2017 by Steven Petite to reflect the removal of the ban.