Sega's release schedule highlights an interesting amendment to the title of SEGA’s forthcoming Condemned sequel, with the ‘Bloodshot’ suffix removed from Condemned 2 .
We thought that with the ongoing saga with Manhunt 2 versus the BBFC, SEGA realised now was not the time for censor baiting, but we spoke to Sega who reassured us that the motives behind the change were nothing so sinister. Apparently it
just sounds better without.
The UK release of the video game, Condemned 2 , has lost the tagline Bloodshot . It was speculated that this may have been self censorship but Sega claimed it simply sounds better without. (But the Sega in America disagree and
are going with the Bloodshot tagline).
The BBFC have now passed the game uncut with an 18 certificate and have kindly provided an extended classification explanation. It looks like the Bloodshot tagline has just been removed from the box cover and still exists within.
CONDEMNED 2 is a gritty, urban horror game in which the action takes place in first person, as if from the player's point of view. Playing as a washed- up alcoholic cop named Ethan Thomas, the object of the game is to
unravel a sinister conspiracy whilst at the same time defending oneself from repeated attack by a whole host of psychotic killers. It was passed ‘18' for strong bloody violence.
The BBFC Guidelines at ‘15' state that ‘violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury'. In CONDEMNED 2 – BLOODSHOT however, players are encouraged to string together brutal combinations of
attacking moves in order to kill enemies, with these moves seen to inflict realistic bloody injury on the enemies' faces. Players are also given the ability to inflict violent repeated injury on their victims once they have already killed them,
with blood splashing up onto the camera lens as they do so. This focus on violent bloody injury was therefore considered too strong for ‘15' and better placed at the adult ‘18' category. Additionally, BBFC Guidelines at ‘15' state that ‘the
strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable' and with the game also providing players with the ability to shoot enemies' heads off, resulting in large explosive blood splats, this emphasis on strong gore was also considered better placed
at ‘18'. Fantastical elements in the game's narrative and the actual physical complexity of the game- playing experience did mean however that the game was suitably placed at the adult ‘18' category.
CONDEMNED 2 also contains frequent use of strong language and a drug theme, with many of the game's enemies depicted as crazed addicts.
Two TV ads for the video game Condemned 2 have been censured by the ASA
a. The first ad, which was cleared by Clearcast with a post-9 pm restriction, showed scenes of violence including a man punching another on the floor and blood splattering on the screen as a man was beaten with a club. The ad ended with a
close-up of an eye, surrounded by blood, looking through a spy hole. On-screen text stated: CONDEMNED 2 Out Now ...
b. The second ad, which was cleared by Clearcast with a post-11 pm restriction, was longer in duration. It included the same violent scenes and on-screen text but also included further scenes and a voice-over that stated Where is former agent
Thomas? He must be warned, he must know that it's not over. This time, as the characters fought, noises could be heard which seemed to express pain and the force of their exertions.
The ASA received nine complaints:
1. Most of the complainants thought ad (a) condoned violence and was offensive and distressing. One complainant said the ad was inappropriate for broadcast at any time.
2. Some of the complainants thought ad (b) condoned violence and was offensive and distressing. Two complainants said the ad was inappropriate for broadcast at any time.
ASA Assessment: 1. & 2. Upheld
We considered, however, that both the post-9 pm and post-11 pm versions showed the same violent images of blood, beating with clubs and punching and that, with the exception of duration, the differences between the two ads were not significant.
We noted the ads were intended to demonstrate the likely experience of a consumer playing the game. We considered, however, that the ads contained scenes of graphic and brutal violence which, although computer-generated, were realistic in
appearance. We noted in particular that both ads showed a man punching another on the floor and blood splattering on the screen as a man was beaten with a club and considered viewers were likely to find those scenes offensive and distressing and
to see them as condoning real violence and cruelty.
We considered that, with particular reference to the scenes described above, they were likely to offend or distress some viewers whatever time they were shown and both ads should be withdrawn from transmission completely.
The ads breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 6.1 (Offence), 6.2 (Violence and cruelty) and 6.4 (Personal distress).