Anal probe weapons responsible for Australian Saints Row IV banning

Game refused classification for anal probe weapons depicting "implied sexual violence"; optional mission's drug use also listed.

The Australian Classification Board has issued a report detailing why Saints Row IV was banned in Australia.

According to a statement sent to GameSpot, the game was banned on the grounds of "implied sexual violence", pertaining specifically to the "Alien Anal Probe" weapon and the use of illicit drugs referred to as "alien narcotics".

The report outlines the reasons in detail, stating:

"The game includes a weapon referred to by the applicant as an 'Alien Anal Probe'. The applicant states that this weapon can be 'shoved into enemy's backsides'. When using this weapon, the player approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the weapon between the victim's legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air."

The in-game weapon can be used on enemy characters or civilians. The board ruled that a "weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context".

The use of drugs was also highlighted in the report, with an optional mission involving the player "obtaining and smoking drugs referred to as 'alien narcotics'".

"Smoking the 'alien narcotics' equips the player with 'superpowers', which increase their in-game abilities, allowing them to progress through the mission more easily. During the mission, onscreen prompts guide the player to 'Go to deal location' and 'Get drugs'".

"In the board's opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the 'alien narcotic' available in the game and real-world proscribed drugs. The board notes that the label 'narcotics' is commonly assigned to describe a class of real-world drugs that include such proscribed substances as cocaine and heroin…this game therefore contains drug use related to incentives and rewards, and should be refused classification."

Publisher Deep Silver has issued a statement announcing the developer's intention to create an edited version of the game.

“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.”

The Australian Classification Board announced yesterday that Saints Row IV had been refused classification, banning it from sale in Australia. The ban marks the first time a game has been refused classification since the introduction of an R18+ adult rating for video games.

Saints Row IV was to be released on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in August this year. The game will be launching for the European and North American markets as planned.

Written By

Zorine “harli” Te is a long time competitive gamer and also an Associate Editor at GameSpot.

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Discussion

509 comments
lilflex1
lilflex1

that's crazy if you have to pay taxes this ban should be void or people have a say in this situation

ApocaLeepse
ApocaLeepse

I feel so bad for Australians. Fully grown adults yet they still have someone telling them what they can and cannot play. It's ridiculous.

YesSheWill
YesSheWill

Saints Row is officially in Destroy All Humans territory.   Turn around why you still can, Deep Silver.

Tzardok
Tzardok

"weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context".


It just feels so funny when a joke is taken seriously. Though I understand the frustration this may cause to australian gamers. Bugger.

RobDev
RobDev

ironic for a country who's favorite swearword is bugger!

RobDev
RobDev

Well i'll be sure not to buy it for any under 18 year olds but i'm a grown fucking adult and i understand the difference BETWEEN A GAME AND REAL FUCKING LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

straightcur
straightcur

I've probed a few aussie asses, and it didn't take a video game to teach me how. ;)

BowmanKCMO
BowmanKCMO

Why have a maturity rating at all if governments can just ban anything they want to.  Morality police have never worked in any civilization.  Your morals are not mine.  If a maturity rating system exists, that is ample information for the public (and parents) to have at their disposal without an outright ban.  Not sure how it works in Australia, but in the U.S. this would be a Constitutional violation.

Kazooiemad
Kazooiemad

AUS Gov must be worried about the incentives/rewards people might get for probing people in the game. xD  Power ups for probing 20 people lol..

jbouzza
jbouzza

we pay twice as much for games in aus and now the gov fucking us again thank god we can buy online we do have internet

Darth_Ultima
Darth_Ultima

Because everyone knows that after Saints Row 3 there was a rash of people being assualted with large purple dildos.  Oh wait that didn't happen.

beardface21
beardface21

Australians are very serious when it comes to anal probing.

sonyfreak456
sonyfreak456

The Reaction To Saint Rows 4 Is Overrated. So Are Anal Probes.

toyo75
toyo75

Aussie government doesn't believe its citizens are smart enough to differentiate a video game from reality, and not mature enough to handle adult stories & scenarios.

It's sad.

sexyeyes79
sexyeyes79

Come on people, who doesn't like being anally penetrated?  It's normal.

Floymin
Floymin

I find it hypocritically ironic that there are actually people who didn't see the direction these games were going with the crazy side missions in the first 2 games!

chrisyman
chrisyman

guess you could say australia is a little bit....*puts on sunglasses*.....anal...

Gordon_Shock
Gordon_Shock

...and I thought this was 2013...welcome to planet immature, if there is any alien reading this please feel free to blast us into smithereens

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

Reason # 12 not to live in Australia.  Sh*tty entertainment restrictions.

Nathan_R_Rork
Nathan_R_Rork

Well, I can see why they'd ban a game with anal probes. The ratings board in Australia has its HEAD so far up its ass that there would just be no room for additional probing.

ArchaengelX
ArchaengelX

Anal probing weapon?!

...........(sigh) What in the goddamn hell is Saints Row turning into?

blackothh
blackothh

my question is, why is a silly feature like this in a game to begin with? i dont view it as adding anything tangible.

xerotolerant
xerotolerant

I don't really get the anti-Australian comments. "Sodomy is illegal down under?" "Yay for aliens!" etc. The game has a weapon that is used to perform ass-rape. Games generally try to avoid having the players perform sexual violence. I really don't get why so many people are rooting for an ass rape weapon, alien or not.

COPMAN221ISBACK
COPMAN221ISBACK

Saw the headline "ANAL PROBE" and thought this was a Microsoft article on how they program their xbots

Death_Masta187
Death_Masta187

So is sodomy illegal there like it is in Texas, Oklahoma, & Kansas?

Elann2008
Elann2008

Feel bad for Aussies for years in terms of games and rating.  Oh well, this SR4 or whatever is like an expansion or DLC if anything.  Doesn't feel like a complete sequel. 

axelx666
axelx666

The game is gonna suck anyway, i mean the series has been going downhill since 2.

3rd sucked and this is just a rehash of the 3rd.

i mean face facts, the Aussies just won't have waste their money on this crap.

csward
csward

Poor Aussies. I mean, I don't care about such a feature, but to have a whole game banned over one thing, that sucks.

northArrow
northArrow

Why don't Aussies like anal probes?

shadgrindk
shadgrindk

It's like showing Muhammed mate.  Down under a probing down under is something we cherish, and no yanks are gonna arouse our young rug rats and Bob's your uncle. 

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

Somebody failed to head a certain meme:

"Prepare your anus."

Apastron
Apastron

Did 'Destroy All Humans' make it to Australia, as that has exactly the same weapon?

jbouzza
jbouzza

@Gravity_Slave what are the other 11 reasons Australia rocks champ and we will all still get the game tax free noe

toshineon
toshineon

@ArchaengelX Saints Row has always been a weird series, kinda like Grand Theft Auto's less serious brother. Now, the whole alien thing though, I couldn't care less about.

Floymin
Floymin

@ArchaengelX Don't pretend you didn't see this coming with the crazy side missions in the first 2 games!

BowmanKCMO
BowmanKCMO

@blackothh It's tangible because the whole point of the Saints Row series is to push at the envelope.  You might as well ask, "Why do the characters on South Park swear so much?  It doesn't add anything tangible."  No, it's the point of the artists who create these things to make a very goofy, morally ambivalent world.  It is a middle finger to all those who claim to be our morality police.  In Australia, the morality police win, I guess.  Sad for them and not the best representation of a civilization with democratic values.

RobDev
RobDev

@xerotolerant because it's funny? Don't watch series one of south park (or any other series for that matter) if you are so easily offended. 


RobDev
RobDev

@Elann2008 i wouldn't. Free trade agreements mean i get all of my games from HK.

BowmanKCMO
BowmanKCMO

@pyosisified You prefer bans and not choices?  You want to dictate what other people can or can't play?  

isisblack
isisblack

@northArrow I think it must be they might have experienced first hand to stick it to the people first hand.

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

Heed, rather. My poor spelling killed a potential joke. I guess I'll need to prepare my anus now...

Apastron
Apastron

Google says yes.  Looks like the noose is getting tighter round gamers' necks despite the supposed new 18 rating...

Elann2008
Elann2008

@Yomigaeru 

I guess head fits in the the context of this game.  Both, pass in my book :D