Less severing for Germans

German censorship gets the better of Codemasters, forcing the level of gore in Severance to be .. ahem .. cut down

The issue of graphic violence in computer games has hit the front pages over recent years, and Spanish developers Rebel Act Studios and their publisher Codemasters seem to be courting controversy by highlighting the amount of gore in their third person fantasy action game, "Severance : Blade of Darkness". The press release announcing Codemasters' signing of the game a few weeks ago boasted that the game would feature "some of the bloodiest combat scenes seen on PC", and would "draw mass attention due to the graphic violence displayed in its combat scenes". It went on to explain that "the sword-wielding player can hack an opponent's limb off, pick up the dismembered bloody limb and use it as a club to batter the victim, as jets of blood pour from wounds, into submission". Good clean fun for all the family then?

Well, not in Germany, where the authorities frown on such graphic depictions of violence, and in a short interview posted on the game's official website, Codemasters marketing director Michael Hayes admitted that the Germans "will require blood to be switched off". They are also expecting the game to be rated 18 in Europe and "mature" (17) in the USA. Given the current witch hunt on the other side of the Atlantic, Mike made sure to clarify that Codemasters would "follow the rules to the letter, and not market [the game] to any ages below this".

Michael also denied that the publishers were playing up the level of violence as a publicity stunt, saying that the marketing campaign for the game would only focus on the gore "where it is relevant to the game's value", with catchy slogans such as "Severance : Blade of Darkness is the action/adventure game that features the most graphically realistic combat you have ever seen - beware, it is not for everyone". He also confirmed that "because of the level of gore we will be sure to put extra large warnings on the packaging and in the ads". Which will no doubt double sales of the game...

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