Salida dear readers,
my name is Jim aka "OpiumHerz" and as some of you may already guess by that nickname: I am german. With the blog series "The worst thing about censorship is ███████ " I want to simply give you a little insight in videogame censorhsip, which is still pretty much alive and kicking here in Germany (but I won't restrict myself to Germany exklusively). I'll try to post entries at least all two weeks or so. Feel free to comment for suggestions, corrections or critique.
This episode is about: Dead Space
I have touched on Dead Space a bit in the GTA episode, but I'm short on time this week and can't do an episode at all next one, so here goes.
In short: Dead Space was (almost) uncensored so far here in Germany. Part 1 came through without any cuts, but the publisher had to give it to the USK multiple times for getting it greenlit (see GTA article for infos on this procedure). The game was finally rated 18+.
Dead Space 2 had one tiny censorship that was one of the most stupid in recent: friendly fire was turned off in the Mulitplayer. This was especially stupid since you still saw the blood splattering when you hit one of your teammates, there was just no health loss. Dead Space 2 had, like it's predecessor, no good standing with the USK here. Once more it went to the highest instances to get punched through in an uncensored version. Why the friendly fire had to be removed is still riddling and the consensus between players is, that it simply was not necessary. So far, no logical explanation as to why this was done was given. However: the "Severed" DLC for Dead Space 2 was not released in Germany at all. Again, the game was rated 18+.
Part 3, apparently, had an easier ride, since no stories of multiplce instances with the USK surfaced. It came through, completly uncut, with an 18+ rating and so far no DLC or something like that was held back from Germany. It seems the USK acclimated a bit more to it, like it did with Gears of War (later more on that one).
The german version of "Dead Space: Extraction", the Wii railshooter spin-off, however, was censored, besides having an 18+ rating. Splattereffects for human enemies were completly removed, as was decorative corpses and gore. But not only that, even a little quick time event was removed. After fighting the boss of level 9, the boss shoots sort of a sting at you. It pierces the characters hand and you have to pull it out while blood is gushing and the character is screaming in pain. This part was completly removed! The level just ends after the bossfight.
While the censorship in part 2 was at least acceptable, especially if you didn't care for the multiplayer, this version could not be recommended at all.
So why was this apparent discrepancy between getting Dead Space through uncensored and not getting rated? Well, Dead Space unites all the things the USK "likes" and hates. For once it is a very brutal game, it has a lot of blood and gore. You have to (!) dismember the enemies and can't just simply kill them quickly with one head shot or such, you are being forced to cut their limbs off. And while there is no instant rewards like getting points for this, it is, so to say, the main target of the game. You watch people die, get torn apart, the whole tour. It's a very violent horror trip and it was clear that this wouldn't sit well with the USK.
However, there were factors that were surely redeeming. First of all you were fighting monstrous enemies, not humans. The things you shoot apart don't even resemble a human form. While fighting human or human-like enemies are no reason for indexing a game anymore, it goes to show that the USK still doesn't really feel good with human enemies in gory games. That they are aggressive monsters is another factor: the player is thrown into situations where he has to defend himself. You are never the aggressor, you are fighting for your life after being attacked without any fault on your side. When the police chases you in GTA because you drove through a horde of seniors, then shooting them gleefully in the legs, well... then it's your fault. In Dead Space, however, you are simply defending your own skin. Another good thing is that your characters don't spew out one-liners. The tone of the games is dark, claustrophobic, very serious and tense. It's clear that the situation is treated properly and not like a fun shooting gallery.
While we will never know for sure, considering these things one can assume why Dead Space finally got an approval and wasn't indexed. That said, it was a good thing that the publisher was so eager to bring the game to Germany. It shows that some things no one ever though possible are in fact possible. Because no one expected "Dead Space" to be uncut here, after we saw the first trailers. We were all ready to import. But we didn't have to and that'S a good thing. Too bad not all publishers are this persistent in their attempts.