Those of us looking forward to EA's survival horror game Dead Space were given a shot of good news on Thursday...as long as we weren't in Germany, Japan, or China. The release date for the game in North America has been moved up to October 14th in North America (and October 20th for the PC release) and October 24th in Europe. We've got the original announcement, plus some analysis.
After announcing the game's early release dates on the official blog for Dead Space, community manager Ben Swanson went on to say:
Unfortunately, we've recently found out that Dead Space will be banned in Germany, China and Japan. This is hard for us, especially after we got a chance to meet and hang out with so many amazing German fans and getting some great coverage at the Leipzig Games Convention last month. We'd like to thank the German, Chinese and Japanese communities for their amazing support and enthusiasm and say that we are truly sorry that you will not be able to find Dead Space in your local shop next month.
The news filtered slowly across the gaming 'Net on Friday, with much speculation as to why the game had been banned. We like Michael McWhertor's take over at sister site Kotaku:
And by "banned" we can assume that, at least in Germany's case, Dead Space was refused classification by the Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, as many graphically violent games have been before it. In Japan's case, we're not quite sure if Dead Space was "banned" or given a dreaded sales-killing Z-rating by the CERO ratings board, making it essentially a money losing venture to release it in that country. And China? No idea.
The general consensus seems to be that by making strategic dismemberment an essential part of the gameplay, the makers of Dead Space were unable to create a less gory version of the game that would appease the USK in Germany, which often requests violent content to be toned down in order to secure a rating. As for Japan, a poster on respected video game forum Quarter to Three noted:
The Japan ban definitely has something to do with the ability to dismember fingers. It's a huge faux paus in their culture to show dismemberment of fingers. Something to do with the yakuza. Back when the Xbox came out, we were working on a launch title. It involved cartoon characters with four fingers. Japanese localization forced us to remodel every single character in the game with five fingers (four fingers plus thumb) or we couldn't release the game in their region.
Hmm, considering some of the in-game signage in Dead Space, we could see how that might be a factor...
Similarly, as no one can seem to figure out why China might've banned or restricted sales of Dead Space, we're thinking that by using techniques taken from Chinese propaganda posters to create in-game promotional posters, officials felt the game was leveling some kind of subtle critique at Chinese culture.
Or maybe China, like one of our commenters, feels that by having mining in space, Dead Space will be too similar to cheesy movie Event Horizon to be truly enjoyable. Either way, the rest of us can look forward to getting our sci-fi survival horror on in mid-October. Kotaku: Dead Space Gets Internationally Banned