Electronic Arts shooter Bulletstorm has been granted a USK 18 + seal by the German Entertainment Software Rating Board, but has to accept very heavy censorship cuts despite the adult rating.
Ragdoll effects, blood, splatter and dismembering are all absent from the German version of the People Can Fly and Epic co-development - which bears the tagline "Kill with skill."
Germany's youth protection measures are perhaps infamous, having lead to a number of high-profile game edits and bans in recent years. Games granted an USK seal cannot, however, be banned or indexed by the German youth protection board (BPjM).
EA also distributes the uncensored Austrian PEGI 18 version in Germany, and thus still risks this version being indexed or banned.
Both Medal of Honor and Call of Duty: Black Ops recently faced the same issue. The publishers had to accept heavy cuts for the adult version in order to obtain an USK-seal, but simultaneously sold the Austrian versions of the games. Retailers such as Amazon.de have found that PEGI versions often rank much higher in their sales charts than the German versions.
Black Ops (PEGI) was indexed by the BPjM in January, while Medal of Honor ended up on the so-called List B - indicating that the BPjM thinks that the content could be even prosecuted criminally. This would mean a complete ban in Germany.
EA, meanwhile, also refrains from allowing any access to Bulletstorm trailers on the game's German site before 11pm, in compliance with youth protection regulations.