Valve has submitted an edited version of Left 4 Dead 2 for classification in Australia, the company's director Gabe Newell revealed at a press conference in Sydney yesterday. The game was effectively banned after it was refused classification by Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) three weeks ago, a decision which Valve is appealing.

Newell was surprised at the OFLC's refusal to classify the game as originally submitted. "I thought Left 4 Dead 2 would get the same treatment as Left 4 Dead 1," he said. Australia does not have a rating for games higher than MA15+, which means games with mature content that elsewhere receive higher ratings (such as R16 or R18 in New Zealand) are not able to be sold in Australia without being censored.

New Zealand gamers should not be affected if Australia does receive an edited version of Left 4 Dead 2. The game is currently being reviewed by the NZ OFLC, and Electronic Arts NZ told Gameplanet that because there is an R18 classification here, EA is "confident that an uncensored version of Left 4 Dead 2 will be available to NZ consumers." EA confirmed it would be able to bring in the global version of the game for NZ, regardless of what stock Australia received.

Valve submitted the edited version in Australia to ensure that the game is able to meet its planned November release date. The Australia OFLC Review Board will not report back on the appeal until 22 October, so even if the appeal is successful (which would not be without precedent - Warner Bros. successfully appealed a decision on F.E.A.R. 2 earlier this year) it may not leave enough time to get the unedited version on sale for the global launch date.

If the edited version is released and the appeal is successful, Newell confirmed that a free update would be released to remove the censorship changes. He did not detail what changes had been made in the edited version.

However, Newell remained hopeful that the appeal would be successful and said he considered the edited version to be only a backup plan in case the appeal fails or takes longer than expected. "Our goal is not to ship this second version," he claimed.

Newell said he believes the edited version is "fully compliant with the guidelines" for an MA15+ rating in Australia. The OFLC decision on the Australian-only version is expected to be announced later today. "We think Left 4 Dead 2 is a lot of fun,” said Newell. “It’s a game for adults. But we’re aware that different countries have different restrictions, and we want to make the choices that make the game the most fun for that country."

Updated: The Australian OFLC has granted an MA15+ rating to the edited version of Left 4 Dead 2.