I just received a very interesting press release in my email inbox, pertaining to Saints Row IV and Australia. If you’ve been following the saga, you’ll know that Saints Row IV was refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. The reasons given for the RC rating were due to the “interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence” and “elements of illicit or prescribed drug use related to incentives or rewards”. This effectively meant that the game was banned for sale in Australia, because of alien narcotics and an anal probe weapon.
Turns out the biggest stumbling block was the drugs thing, though. Deep Silver decided to submit a cut version of the game to the ACB, eliminating a side mission that focused on alien drugs. The following press release, which I’m blatantly copy/pasting below, states that the removal of the side mission has allowed the game to slip by with a mere MA15+ rating.
“Saints Row IV has been classified by the Australian Classification Board as MA15+. The version classified by the ACB is slightly modified and differs from the worldwide release only insofar as a single short optional mission has been removed in order to comply with Australian legislation. This mission has been the subject of much discussion recently for featuring the use of virtual alien narcotics by the player character, which could potentially improve certain superpowers temporarily within the game. The Rectifier Probe weapon, which has also been part of the discussion, is still due to be released as part of the Season Pass DLC package, as has always been intended both for Australia and the rest of the world.
Publisher Deep Silver has provided the following statement:
“Deep Silver and AIE are pleased to report that the Australian Classification Board has now approved Saints Row IV for sale. They have granted the game an MA15+ rating. To achieve this rating one loyalty mission featuring the character Shaundi has been removed. This mission has been widely reported on and contains the use of alien narcotics to obtain certain superpowers.
“This mission represents approximately 20 minutes of gameplay out of the hours available to purchasers.
“The removal of this mission has no negative impact on the story or the superpowers and will not detract from the enjoyment players will get from their Saints Row IV experience. The rectifier weapon will be available as part of a DLC package as originally intended. Deep Silver stands by this decision and thanks the Australian Classification Board for their assistance with this matter.”
The alien anal probe Rectifier weapon will still be coming to Australia as DLC, as previously planned.
A point to note – Grand Theft Auto 5 has recently been rated R18+ in Australia. Make of that what you will.