A funny thing apparently happened on the way to releasing Amnesia: The Dark Descent in Australia.
Uh... it didn’t.
Despite winning a tonne of accolades (including being called the scariest game ever made by quite a few gaming press), it was never passed for classification in Australia. Not even the current local distributor , AFA Interactive, isn’t sure why. “For some reason the game never got released here,” said David Nye, of AFA. “No idea why. We knew that the game was pretty cool and gaining a reputation for being excellent; we took a chance and paid the cash to get it rated and it paid off.
“The game is now available exclusively at EB.”
Why the game was never put through is bit of a mystery, but given then nudity and horrific content (it’s that scary, apparently), it’s possible that people were simply assuming it wouldn’t get through. Given the games we’ve seen fail classification, or the changes that other games have had to make, it seems a fair consideration.
But what’s important now are two things. Firstly, that the game is finally now available (though only through EB Games), and secondly, what this illustrates about the importance of being smart with the way a publisher or disty presents a game. Obviously, in this case, someone’s been careful to put the game’s content in context. We’ve spoken about this before, but it bears repeating – if you’re a publisher of a challenging game, think about how you’re going to present it to the OFLC. Don’t just assume it’ll understand or even appreciate what you’re showing them; walk them through the salient points. Give them context.
Regardless, this is great timing, given that the sequel, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (man, that sounds happy!) is due out next year.
EDIT: Interestingly, it appears this game has technically been available in Australia for a while, via Steam, according to many commenters. However, the listing for the game at the Australian Government's Classification Website clearly states the game received its MA 15+ classification on the 13th of July this year.
It would appear then, that, by the letter of the law, Steam's been a little naughty...