Talk to Australian gamers and they'll tell you the politicians there leave a lot to be desired in terms of progressiveness -- due to the lack of an 18+ rating, games are refused classification all the time, and hence banned from sale. I've heard the mentality described as "games = not serious = childish = for children", the ridiculousness of it furthered by the inconsistency (i.e. chainsawing Locust in Gears of War is okay; moriphine in Fallout 3 is not).
Piranha Bytes are the latest victim in this debacle with their upcoming PC and Xbox 360 RPG Risen, a spiritual sequel to previous titles in the classic Gothic series. Aside from some lovely "mood clips" and a rocking trailer, we haven't heard much about the game, but as it turns out, our ratings body here, the ESRB, does a pretty good preview when explaining its reasons for giving it a Mature rating:
During the course of the game, players can interact with prostitutes (referred to as "whores" in the game) at a local brothel. Players can trigger a lengthy dialogue to engage in their services; sexual activity is strongly implied, but never depicted on screen. Many of the characters in the game smoke a fictional drug called "brugleweed." The "wood reefer" plant is described as having a mild relaxing effect on users, and can be bought, sold, and used by players. Some profanity (e.g., "f*ck" and "sh*t") can be heard in the dialogue.
Risen's Aus distributor Madman Interactive confirmed the “sexual activity and drug use related to incentives or rewards" were the reasons their board, the Office of Film and Literature Classification, banned the game. Madman is currently considering their options, including an appeal or possibly editing it; we'll have the results when they hit. In the meantime, it's probably best to save up for an import as usual, to the dismay of the Australian economy. Though, the game is due for digital distribution as well, come October 2, so that's a viable option for those that don't prefer a box -- just get it before they ban the Internet, too.
Interested parties should also take a look at this battle of words between South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson (largely responsible for witholding an 18+ rating) and gamer/grandparent Terry O’Shanassy.