Film censor dragged into legal row over Carmageddon II

SCi and the British Board of Film Classification BBFC are squabbling again over the ratings of the controversial Carmageddon game. Citing an "unwarranted delay in the classification process", SCi issued a statement on Wednesday saying it has instructed lawyers to seek an order that forces the BBFC to make a decision on the certification of Carmageddon II Carpocalypse now!

SCi and the British Board of Film Classification BBFC are squabbling again over the ratings of the controversial Carmageddon game. Citing an "unwarranted delay in the classification process", SCi issued a statement on Wednesday saying it has instructed lawyers to seek an order that forces the BBFC to make a decision on the certification of Carmageddon II Carpocalypse now!

SCi wants an 18 certificate for the sequel to Carmageddon which last year was denied a certificate by the BBFC. SCi appealed to the Video Appeal Committee (VAC) and the verdict was overthrown, forcing the BBFC to grant an 18 certificate.

SCi is experiencing the same problems with the trailer for Carmageddon II Carpocalypse Now! Georgina Worsley-Winteringham product manager at SCi says the BBFC is, "mucking about" and is deliberately trying to ban the game. The BBFC says it wants to submit the trailer, which contains "disturbing" footage, to a board of child psychologists to decide whether it could be harmful to children. SCi says the game is targeted at adults. Winteringham cites the passing of such movies as Reservoir Dogs and Crash, both celebrated for their violence, and says the trailer "is not in the same class". She adds that the BBFC has no business classifying video games as it is a film censor and as such, unrepresentative of the game's intended audience.

The BBFC would not comment on the situation until the case "has been resolved". A spokesperson, asked whether the passing of violent films was a case of double standards, says, "the Home Office has expressed concern and we have to respond to that and prove that we are doing our job."

But toeing the line is, according to Jonty Barnes Senior Programmer for Lionhead giving SCi the free publicity it craves so close to Christmas. "The BBFC will eventually give Carmageddon II an 18 certificate, but in the meantime its stalling tactics are providing SCi with what it wants."

Until the issue is resolved Carmageddon II Carpocalypse now! will be released with an ELSPA 15 rated "Zombie version" - a diluted alternative to the intended release.