Red Barrels has had an up and down journey with attempting to get a rating for Outlast 2 in Australia. They finally secured an R18+ rating after a bit of a back and forth with the ratings board in the land down under, all because of one scene.
Polygon is reporting that originally Red Barrels sent in their game to be rated and included material of a scene that wasn't supposed to be in the game. It supposedly came from an earlier alpha version of the game -- a video reference file that supposedly managed to make it into the Outlast 2 package to the Australian Classification Board.
The scene in question involved a nightmare-like sequence involving a demonic orgy with creatures performing implied sexual acts. The main character, Blake, sees his wife hanging from chains as part of a sacrificial ritual, while Blake himself is subdued by one of the creatures and it's implied he's sexually assaulted by the creature.
Back on March 16th there were reports about the Outlast sequel being banned in Australia when it was refused a rating classification, as reported by Destructoid. In Australia and in Germany if a game is refused a rating, it cannot be sold at retail outlets. This news sparked a lot of controversy because the Outlast 2 demo was rated R18+ by Australia, and there were no problems at all.
However, for the full game the implied sexual assault was enough to get the ratings board to deny Outlast 2 classification in the region. Some people thought this was an odd move given that R18+ isn't even the highest rating in Australia... X18+ is. Quite naturally people questioned why they would outright refuse classification for the game instead of simply giving it a higher rating?
This conundrum actually managed to catch ire from New South Wales Senator, David Leyonhjelm. GamesIndusry.biz reported that after the Classification Board refused to rate Outlast 2, the Senator took the Board to task for their inconsistent ratings and constant censorship of material when it comes to video games; Senator Leyonhjelm told the Australian Classification Board to "leave gamers alone". The odd part about it was that on March 20th Leyonhjelm made the speech in front of parliament to the Prime Minister, and on March 21st the Australian Classification Board reversed their decision on Outlast 2.
The Classification Board and Red Barrels withheld making statements about why the ratings decision was reversed, but they mentioned that they would share the details on March 25th. Later on, the board updated the classification rating for Outlast 2, showing that a "modified" version had been sent in and that it was applicable for the R18+ rating. We now know that it was rated after Red Barrels clarified that the implied sexual assault scene was not in the game.
Red Barrels also confirmed to Australian gaming website Press-Start that there would only be one version of Outlast 2 released worldwide. They stated that on April 26th every region would get the same version of the game. So the modifications that were made for the Australian version will also apply to the North American and European versions as well.
Outlast 2 is due for release on Xbox One, PS4 and PC starting April 26th... sans the controversial scene that almost got it permanently banned in Australia.