Too much sex, violence and drugs.
By Tim Colwill 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)