Modified Saints Row IV classified MA15+ in Australia

Publisher Deep Silver submits edited version of Saints Row IV to Australian Classification Board; game granted MA15+ rating.

Following the Refused Classification rating given to Saints Row IV in Australia twice, local distributor All Interactive Entertainment has confirmed that a modified version of the game has now been classified MA15+, enabling it to be sold in the country.

The MA15+ version of the game will see an optional drug-themed mission removed to comply with Australian legislation.

The mission in question is described by Deep Silver as representing "approximately 20 minutes of gameplay" and concerns the use of "alien narcotics to obtain certain superpowers." Its removal will allegedly not impact the game's story.

According to the board's report, the original version of the game included an "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."

The "anal probe weapon," which was listed as part of the reason why the game was initially refused classification in Australia for implied sexual violence, will not be part of the retail release of the game. An AIE representative confirmed to GameSpot that the weapon will be offered as part of a future DLC pack.

Saints Row IV will be released in Australia on August 22.

Written By

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

Want the latest news about Saints Row IV?

Saints Row IV

Saints Row IV

Follow

Discussion

146 comments
eiji1
eiji1

Wow. I have my share of issues with my government, but at least we wouldn't make an adult rating, then promptly ignore its existence.

Hayden Roberts
Hayden Roberts

Andrew, because you could take drugs out of context and gain super powers. Because all adults believe super powers are real... I'm an Aussie and it's a total joke.

robybaggio
robybaggio

SO the R rating has actually meant more edited and banned games, So why did we lobby for this again?

mike9876543210
mike9876543210

so they take out the anal probe gun only to put it back in a dlc, wtf

ddoggbritt16
ddoggbritt16

i still think number 1 is the best,you feel the most like a gangster in number 1 then any other 1

Andrew Braz
Andrew Braz

They modified the game to make it suitable for a rating. Allthough, i dont see why they didnt make it R since australia now has an R rating system

ejay_kain
ejay_kain

there should be a rating where everything is aloud except childporn

hadlee73
hadlee73

At least New Zealand wasn't effected this time. Our censors are more forgiving, so we're getting the uncut version of the game.

John Ace
John Ace

sorry aussi move to the us

Kurushio
Kurushio

I get protecting kids from games they shouldn't really be playing, but it should be up to the parents to do research on buying games like this, not the government. Gamers in Australia should boycott games that do this or import them if they can.

Catz_03
Catz_03

I don't understand. Those 2 things were bad enough to cause it to be over R18+ yet without those 2 things it gets a MA15+. That doesn't even make sense.

Nicholas Gibson
Nicholas Gibson

What is the point of the 18 rating in Australia then?

Daian
Daian

So all the crazy stuff in it makes it ok for anybody 15 or older to play but some fictional drugs and a probe weapon makes it a horrible demonic monstrosity that no one can play?

Great logic by the Australian censors as always.

shuwar
shuwar

As usual, sexual themes, drugs and so on are considered more disturbing than ultra-realistic depicting of a human skull exploding after a headshot from a sniper rifle, x-ray vision on breaking bones with a crowbar, or chopping limbs off with a fork.
Violence and gore - natural, proper, acceptable 
Sex and nudity - unnatural, wicked, unwelcome
Do those guys even know where do the babies come from...?

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

Am I the only one who thinks SR has gotten too outlandish?

DesertLynx83
DesertLynx83

Geez, who runs the Australian ratings board? 80 year old grannies?

darthturkey
darthturkey

here is the r rated games guild lines here in australia, you will see that sexual violence and drug use that give effect isnt allowed

Interactivity and realistic drug use are still big issues in the rating of video games, even at the R18+ level.

The Australian Classification Board has jsut released the new overall guidelines for games classifiction, including the new R18+ rating, to be introduced early next year.

You can have a look at the entire document here, but the relevant section is pasted below:

R 18+ - RESTRICTED
Impact test
The impact of material classified R 18+ should not exceed high.
Note: Material classified R 18+ is legally restricted to adults.  Some material classified R 18+
may be offensive to sections of the adult community. 
Classifiable elements


THEMES
There are virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes.

VIOLENCE
Violence is permitted.  High impact violence that is, in context, frequently gratuitous, exploitative and offensive to a reasonable adult will not be permitted.
Actual sexual violence is not permitted.
Implied sexual violence that is visually depicted, interactive, not justified by context or related to incentives or rewards is not permitted.

SEX
Depictions of actual sexual activity are not permitted.
Depictions of simulated sexual activity may be permitted.
Depictions of simulated sexual activity that are explicit and realistic are not permitted.

LANGUAGE
There are virtually no restrictions on language.

DRUG USE
Drug use is permitted.
Drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.
Interactive illicit or proscribed drug use that is detailed and realistic is not permitted.

NUDITY
Nudity is permitted.

It could be argued that this isn't that different from the previous MA15 rating, as the issues of, for instance, drug use for reward is still a no-no. So, effectively, random and meaningless drug abuse is A-okay in a game, so long as it's not realistic.

The guidelines on sexual activity or similarly vague, and actually make it sound like games such as Mass Effect 3 (where I'd say the sex is far from 'implied') would now become R-rated. And speaking of sex, where would this leave games such as the new Tomb Raider, or even Hitman: Absolution. There may not be any actual sexual violence in these titles, but it is certainly implied.

And then, of course, the guideline still takes the stance that interactive violence is more impactful. "...as a general rule computer games may have a higher impact than similarly themed depictions of the classifiable elements in film, and therefore greater potential for harm or detriment..."

At the end of the day, though, these are just guidelines, and their interpretation is what's going to have the most impact. We can only hope the people enforcing this new code are as game literate as possible, otherwise we're not really getting anything new at all.

Latiran
Latiran

As stupid as this at least they won't be missing out.

HartPuncher
HartPuncher

Can't import the game because they speak Australian. Apparently the language is heavily influenced by Fosters beer. Drunks are less detrimental to society than cartoon violence. 

Jon Janes
Jon Janes

Wow they were pissed about a mission for imaginary drugs?? What wankers

rbereczki
rbereczki

Did I understand that correctly? They remove some stuff to get a rating in Australia, then promise to give it back in a DLC? Clever. They should do the same with the mission. Fuck you Australian Classification Board!

mike9876543210
mike9876543210

@matt01234 anyone who wants saints row 4 who lives in Australia that cant be arsed importing the game, just because you don't fall into this category of people doesn't mean everyone doesn't care

mike9876543210
mike9876543210

@John Ace why would they move to the us, europe is where its at, us has a terrible economy

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Catz_03 I know right?  It's almost like the rating board has no idea what its doing.

triadwarfare
triadwarfare

@Nicholas Gibson They probably forgot that they had an R rating.

robybaggio
robybaggio

@Nicholas Gibson  It's actually worse now. :(

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

@HartPuncher  

No one drinks Fosters here genius. It's so shitty it's only sold in foreign countries stupid enough to drink such shitty fucking beer.

Apastron
Apastron

@HartPuncher Fosters isn't big at all in Australia.  In some areas people may not even have heard of it.

darthturkey
darthturkey

@rbereczki  this so called alien gun is only in the dlc not just australia but world wide now, and whoopy do its only one mission that they removed, and its a optional mission not a main mission, dont like what the classifiedcation done, dude buy it off e bay, or if you got a powerful computer download the pc version of torrents, do you know that the classifiedcation department are run bye wussy christians who like dont like drugs or sexual violence, get them out things might change, atleast we not getting the german version which are normally heavily cut due to violence

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

@Thanatos2k @Catz_03 Because those two things alone were considered objectionable. Imagine a kids game that suddenly had one scene of rape in it for which it was banned, once removed, was a G rated game. It's not like content added gradually pushes it to a ban. All it takes is one objectionable content.

rbereczki
rbereczki

@darthturkey I'm not in Australia so this doesn't really affect me, but I would like to see a world not dominated and oppressed by "wussy christians" or any other group of misguided fools -- of whatever religion or philosophy.

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

@darthturkey @rbereczki  

The classification board in this country has nothing to do with fucking christians. The classification board is a government department & like the US we have separation of church & state.

wasakawaka
wasakawaka

I love the line " run by wussy christians who like dont like drugs or sexual violence". Lol those darn Christians don't know what they're missing ;)

rbereczki
rbereczki

@CrouchingWeasel Although if you pay attention to US politics, most politicians, including the presidents, make a great show of having religion. And what do you think they mean when they say "American values?" Cuz I think they mean christian values.

tkdmmc
tkdmmc

@wasakawaka The way sexual violence is handled in this game I mean. Actual, sexual violence is horrible.

tkdmmc
tkdmmc

@wasakawaka I'm a Christian and yeah I think drug use is bad and so is sexual violence, but I wouldn't ban it. I wouldn't play it, but I wouldn't ban it. I don't like the bad name Christians are getting. I don't mean to be rude, but Christians can be great people.

rbereczki
rbereczki

@wasakawaka Can't say I like sexual violence either -- real or virtual -- but drugs can be nice. :-)