Rockstar's best-selling Grand Theft Auto franchise is certainly no stranger to censorship, with several games having been either edited or banned entirely in certain countries. Grand Theft Auto III was banned for a period in Australia shortly after launch and edited for its Japanese release. Although the heat has died down, the Hot Coffee scandal exposed a sex minigame within GTA: San Andreas and simmered away for some time, culminating in a year-long Federal Trade Commission investigation.
Since then, Rockstar has gone on to launch the widely popular Grand Theft Auto IV and its first downloadable content pack The Lost and Damned, released exclusively for the Xbox 360 on Tuesday. According to user comments in GameSpot's forum, and confirmed by UK-based gaming outlet Videogaming247, Lost and Damned has resulted in certain sections of GTAIV to be censored in Europe. A spokesperson for the publisher told the site that "We are aware of an error with the latest GTA IV title update and are confident the issue will be fixed within the next few hours."
Apparently the error had resulted in "pools of blood missing from around corpses," in addition to "camera angles dropped from sex scenes in the game" in Europe. According to numerous online reports, the error had the opposite effect in Australia, where the game was edited to pass approval with the Office of Film and Literature Classification, responsible for games classification on the island nation.
GameSpot user Flaming_Frog4 gave the following account: "I live in Australia [where] GTA4 was cut in our country--no blood pools, no wounds, camera will pan below the car [when players have sex with] a hooker. But after Lost and Damned these were all implemented in. So thanks, I guess."
When contacted by GameSpot UK, a Rockstar representative confirmed that they were aware of the problem and that the error has now been fixed with an Xbox Live update, but couldn't confirm how the error may have affected Australian customers. For more on GTAIV: The Lost and Damned, read GameSpot's impressions in the Under Review blog.