Saint’s Row 4 is Refused Classification (updated: Deep Silver responds, AU to receive watered-down edition)

Saints Row 4

By on June 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm

UPDATE: An “alien anal probe” is reportedly the main reason behind the banning. Read about that here.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Classification Board have rejected the upcoming Saints Row IV for an R18+ rating, making it the first game to be rejected since the introduction of the rating and, in the process, guaranteeing it a metric ton of free publicity and grey imports.

The Board’s decision (available here as a PDF) rules that the game “includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context” as well as “elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards”.

“Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines,” notes the Board, which was one of the concerns raised when the R18+ rating was finally passed in its somewhat watered-down form.

However, the Board notes that they have so far classified 17 games this year as R18+, which is nice. Volition and Deep Silver have not issued a comment, but a resubmission is sure to be on the cards.

What’s most interesting is that this implies Saints Row IV must have stepped up the violence and sexual content a considerable amount, as the previous game — which featured literally a room full of fist-shaped dildos — got away with MA15+.

UPDATE: Publishers Deep Silver have responded to the decision (below):

“Volition, the developer, are reworking some of the code to create a version of the game for this territory by removing the content which could cause offence without reducing the outlandish gameplay that Saints Row fans know and love.

“Saints Row IV has been awarded PEGI 18 and ESRB M ratings where fans can enjoy their time in Steelport as originally intended.” (via CVG)

SECOND UPDATE: The IGEA have responded to the decision as well:

“We can’t specifically comment on the Classification Board’s decision to issue Saints Row IV with a Refused Classification as we aren’t privy to the specific content of the game. Broadly speaking though, one of the key reasons an R18+ was introduced was to ensure that we strike a balance between giving adult Australians access to adult games while protecting children from inappropriate content. Under the new guidelines, we celebrate the fact that adults can now access age-appropriate games which may have otherwise been refused classification, but as we have argued, we also must accept that there will be some video games which will fall outside the scope of the R18+ guidelines. Whether we agree or not with this specific classification, it highlights that the classification system is functioning as it should and that R18+ was never meant to open the ‘floodgates’ for all types of content.

Overall, we remain confident that the Classification Board is applying the new guidelines as they see appropriate, but we also recognise that with any change to a system as subjective and complex as applying classification guidelines, there will always be a ‘settling in‘ period where all stakeholders strive to find an appropriate middle ground. Currently, we’re at the ‘high water’ mark where there’s a natural inclination to err on the side of caution.” (via Kotaku AU)

THIRD UPDATE: Green Man Gaming have confirmed to us that they will sell the watered-down version to Australians and not the uncensored version. GMG have also confirmed that their standard refund terms apply to Saints Row IV should anybody wish to seek a refund over this latest news.

Source: Classification Board (thanks, Vooks)

61 comments (Leave your own)

Makes me wonder what the point of all the R18+ campaigning was in the first place if we’re going to still see crap like this.

 

Sexual violence without suitable context was never going to be let in under R18+, if you thought it would be, you’re a moron.

 

The confusing part is how the last one could get through yet this one cannot, especially when it’s set in “virtual reality”… I’m sure it’ll makes it way here anyway though.

 

makena:
Sexual violence without suitable context was never going to be let in under R18+, if you thought it would be, you’re a moron.

The problem is, you can bet it was for the purpose of being satirical, or amusing, and obviously so, and the classifiers just didnt get it.

 

im not surprised giving that saints row series is a ultra realistic game, with realistic weapons and physics….. wouldnt want some kid playing this game and running around at school the next day with a big 15″ purple dildo hitting the other kids now would we.

 

Can’t imagine any Australian actually considering getting this from Local retail/Steam anyway at our “lol Australia Tax!” markup.

Now I just need to be on the lookout to see if places like GmG will be selling a baby ‘censored’ version to us or not, and shop around at Amazon Digital/Import/Gamersgate UK/GetGamesGo/CJS/GameLane/OzgameShop etc..

Still, I find it odd that it was sexual content that caused it – when you consider we’ve actually been fine with sexual content in our games in the past and it’s actually been the flip side – America – which has needed censorship on that front (Farenheit, The Witcher..)

 

coatsy22: The problem is, you can bet it was for the purpose of being satirical, or amusing, and obviously so, and the classifiers just didnt get it.

We don’t know that exactly, it’s a fair assumption that it ramped it up over Saints Row III which was rated MA15+.

This really is a case of the rating system working as intended, if you thought R18+ would be open slather, then that was silly.

 

This really is a case of the rating system working as intended, if you thought R18+ would be open slather, then that was silly.

Actually, its seeming more like R18+ has become a pseudo MA15+ rating, which was always the worry and what all the conservative groups were campaigning for. Some more examples will be needed to really see a trend, but this doesnt seem like the rating system is working as intended at all.

 

coatsy22: The problem is, you can bet it was for the purpose of being satirical, or amusing, and obviously so, and the classifiers just didnt get it.

whacking people over the head with gigantic dildos is satire at its finest I’m sure (or whatever it is they’re doing these days)

 

Just get it traded to you by a Russian, I get all my new release games from STEAM through them for $15-$20 each its ridiculous.

 

Whats the difference between “implied sexual violence” and “sexual violence”?

It’s strange you know, there’s gratuitous violence/murder, that’s fine as long as someone isn’t involved in a sexual act. It just flat out confuses me.

And the drug use? Well, you only need to go to the nearest Uni to see shit loads of that. Trust me, It’s why I went to uni :P

 

stoibs: Now I just need to be on the lookout to see if places like GmG will be selling a baby ‘censored’ version to us or not, and shop around at Amazon/Import/Gamersgate UK/GetGamesGo/CJS/GameLane/OzgameShop etc.

I ordered mine through GMG so I’ll wait for an announcement from them about whether or not they’re getting the uncensored version.

 

lorrydriver,

I’ve already asked them on Twitter if they’ll be refunding AU preorders. Hopefully I have a response soon.

 

lorrydriver: I ordered mine through GMG so I’ll wait for an announcement from them about whether or not they’re getting the uncensored version.

That would be illegal.

And as for everyone else, shut the hell up…

 

Thankfully due to online options like Steam gifting and whatnot, the “ban” is pretty much useless.

Add to this the fact pointed out in the post that SR3 made it in under MA15+ (Which it had no damn business in the world doing) and you have to laugh at how clueless the Classification Board really is.

 

PinothyJ,

Yes sir, yes sir.

 

Would be wise to actually see the game before slamming the classification system.

MK is out in a week or so btw. Pretty sure that’s an indication that the new system is better.

Don’t get used to it, Libs are going to control both houses soon and do their best to undo all the progressive developments of the last 5 years.

 

Finally, the first real test on whether R18 is legit or just a renamed MA15+. We’ll just have to wait and see whether the board failed at seeing the justified context of the sex scene or if SR4 in fact went too far, but the drug part is a clear fail, that should’ve be covered in R18.

 
Muted_Knights

kinkykel,

“Implied sexual violence” would mean that there is an implication that an npc is raped or has a sexually violent act committed against them which the player doesn’t visually see, but which is made obvious through npc discussions or other gameplay which hints at what has occurred.

The issue isn’t drug use in isolation, its that the game can demonstrate “…drug use related to incentives or rewards (paragraph 3 in the media release)”.

 

iiimystiii:
Add to this the fact pointed out in the post that SR3 made it in under MA15+ (Which it had no damn business in the world doing) and you have to laugh at how clueless theClassification Board really is.

/facepalm

There was no R18 back then, so they snuck it in as MA15 for OUR BENEFIT. That was, you know, kinda the whole reason for the new system? Seriously…

 
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