The Australian classification ratings board handed down their verdict on Idea Factory International’s dungeon crawling RPG, Meiq: Labyrinth of Death. The title is due out this fall in Europe and North America for the PlayStation Vita. However, it won’t be arriving in Australia due to the ratings board denying the game classification because they feel as if some of the characters appear to be underage and that they appear to be involved in sexually suggestive activities.
Censored Gaming sent out a tweet notifying the gaming community that Meiq won’t be landing in the land down under. He links to the Australian government’s classification page for electronic software, where they explain that Meiq violates two specific standards for their ratings…
“[…] computer games that “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified,”
So what is it that is so abhorrent about Meiq that the Australian ratings board would believe it to be offensive to adults and “revolting” to reasonable people above the age of 18? Well, underage sexual activity.
The second part of the reasoning for the denial of classification states…
“[material that] describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not).”
So the second part of the rating denial is a lot more clear than the first. The first part simply sets the ground rule that the denial of the rating comes from the fact that the material would be deemed objectionable amongst most “reasonable adults”, where-as the second part of the rating works as the modifier that clarifies what it is the ratings board finds objectionable about the game. In this case, it would be the perception of underage sexual activity.
Now the game is a mech-oriented dungeon crawling RPG, so players will pair their all-female team with mechs they acquire throughout the game. The title has typical JRPG mechanics that most long-time fans of series such as Super Robot Taisen or Front Mission would be familiar with. If you need to see what the actual gameplay looks like, you can check out a trailer below, courtesy of SushiTV.
Now keep in mind that the reason for Australia denying this game a classification isn’t actually based on the game containing sexual activity. As they pointed out in section 1. sub-section (b), the character in the game who appears to be under the age of 18 “whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not” can still warrant a denial of classification for the game.
So even if a loli character is simply dressed somewhat provocative, that’s enough for Australia to drop the banhammer. And in this case, whether or not Meiq has any actual sexual activity involving young-looking characters – simply having young females in the game while other females appear to be dressed provocatively enough to insinuate sexuality, is enough for Australia to uphold their ruling regarding 1., (b) of their classification process.
Despite Australia recently adding an R18+ label to their games line-up to allow for mature titles to be sold, it appears they won’t even allow some content to manage that label and will simply ban them with prejudice.
It’s interesting because Idea Factory International made it known in a previous interview that they would not be censoring their games in order to get them onto store shelves in other regions. In fact, they mentioned that some of their titles simply do not leave Japan due to the heavy amounts of censorship required for them to be exported. In this case, I wonder if they would make the change to get Meiq to sell in Australia? Or would they simply leave Australia out of the release line-up altogether?
On the upside, Meiq: Labyrinth of Death is still coming to North America and Europe this fall. If you live in Australia and you want to get your hands on the game, you’ll have to order it through import sites like Play-Asia.com.