Bully, Rockstar Games' next title, has been given the all-clear by Australian censors.
Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has awarded Bully an M rating, citing that it contains moderate themes, violence and sexual references. An Australian spokesman for Take2 Interactive Software, the distributors for Bully, said the company did not have a confirmed local release date for the game as yet.
Rockstar has previously been the target of the OFLC's ire with its Grand Theft Auto series. The OFLC refused classification to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas last year after the "Hot Coffee" scandal uncovered hidden sex-based minigames in the title. With Australia not having an R rating for video games, any game that does not fall below an MA rating is refused classification, making it illegal to be sold or distributed in this country. Rockstar was forced to resubmit the game with the sex-based minigames taken out before the OFLC re-granted it an MA15+ rating. Grand Theft Auto III was similarly banned for a short period in 2001/2002.
Bully, an action game set in a school which features a protagonist taking revenge on bullies and abusive teachers, has already courted its fair share of controversy even before its release. Anti-harassment groups in the US and the UK have previously blasted the game, with activist group Working to Halt Online Abuse in the US this week claiming the game could influence youths to believe that violence was an acceptable way of dealing with bullying at school.