Speaking to Edge, Bethesda has explained what it calls a “misconception” regarding the classification of Fallout 3 in the Australian region. Edge has also learned that due to concerns and issues raised in the process of international classification, Fallout 3 will not contain real world drug references in any territory.
Fallout 3 was originally refused classification by the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification, citing among other reason the in-game use of “Morphine” in order to ignore limb pain. According to the Office’s guidelines, “material promoting or encouraging proscribed drug use” is refused classification.
In mid-August, the OFLC announced that a revised version of the game had been granted a rating in Australia, thanks to edits that changed the context of the in-game drug use.
While it has been assumed that these changes would only be in place in the Australian release of the game, Edge has been told by Bethesda vice president of PR and marketing Peter Hines that there will be no differences between the version that releases in Australia and the versions that will release in other territories, including Europe and the US.
Calling the idea of an Australia-specific version of the game a “misconception,” Hines told us, “We want to make sure folks understand that the Australian version of Fallout 3 is identical to both the UK and North American versions in every way, on every platform.”
He continued, “An issue was raised concerning references to real world, proscribed drugs in the game, and we subsequently removed those references and replaced them with fictional names. To avoid confusion among people in different territories, we decided to make those substitutions in all versions of the game, in all territories.”
Hines stated, “I didn’t want people continuing to assume the version in Australia was some altered version when it’s not.” Finally, he explained that, “There are no references to real world drugs in any version of Fallout 3.”
Bethesda has in the past described the landscape of international ratings classification as a challenge. In previous interviews, Hines has referred to the variation of rules and standards across different regions as “frustrating”.