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DNF Duel's beta blocked in Germany potentially due to religious imagery

The developers plan to fix their ratings issues for the full release

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • December 18, 2021 at 3:10 p.m. PST • Comments: 34

DNF Duel has quickly changed from an unknown entity to catching the eye of many in the fighting game community around the world although not everyone is apparently able to get into the fun this weekend.

Following the launch of the open beta test for DNF Duel, Nexon and Neople announced that the special online demo is unavailable to players in Germany due to issues with the country's ratings system, which potentially stem from some of the religious imagery found within the game.

"Greetings testers! We regret to announce that our open beta will not be able to be participated in by users from Germany due to age rating issues," reads a post on the DNF Duel Twitter and YouTube pages. "We apologize for the inconvenience. We will make sure that the full version will be able to be enjoyed by our German users. Thank you for your understanding."

The publishers do not state the reasoning behind the hopefully temporary block of the fighting game spin-off, but those who've gotten their hands on the beta can see DNF isn't overtly bloody / violent or contain much in the way of sexual content.

Germany has had a fairly long history or banning or restricting video game releases in the country because of "high-impact gory violence" and sexuality. That's not all they monitor for their ratings board, however.

The Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle has also been known to ban games with Nazi-related imagery or pass restrictions for potentially negative depictions of religions / religious groups.

This could have proved to be a bit of an issue with the Crusader in DNF Duel, who is plastered with the Christian cross and is shown praying in his introduction among other aspects of his design.

Thanks to his character design as well, the USK may have associated his appearance with the Knights Templar from the Crusades. There could be similar arguments made for the Inquisitor too.

Luckily, however, the Crusader and anything else in the game most likely won't pose any real issues to DNF Duel's full release in the region, as there aren't really examples of the USK banning games with religious imagery — and the ratings board began to loosen its restrictions starting in 2018.

There's a strong probability Nexon and Neople were trying to score a lower age rating for DNF, but either the Crusader wasn't included in their original submissions or the USK revoked an initial rating with not enough time to resubmit before the beta.

Most modern fighting games in Germany come packing a 12+ age rating including Street Fighter 5, Guilty Gear Strive, Tekken 7 and Dragon Ball FighterZ.

Those with more violent or suggestive content like Samurai Shodown and Soul Calibur 6 were given the 16+ rating by the USK, and unsurprisingly Mortal Kombat 11 has the 18+ age restriction.

Up through the release of 2011's Mortal Kombat reboot, the series was largely banned from German releases or required censorship to receive a rating. That's no longer the case though.

Given these comparisons to other fighters, it seems likely that DNF Duel will end up with a 16+ rating instead of the 12+ one they may have been aiming for originally.

While it is unfortunate that players with only German PlayStation Network accounts cannot partake in DNF's beta this weekend, there should be little cause for concern that the game won't release in the country or need to be censored.

DNF Duel's first open beta is scheduled to last through Monday, December 20, at 6 a.m. PST, and stay tuned for our impressions of the new fighting game coming soon.

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