No R18+ rating to blame for GTAIV cuts in Australia: Rockstar

Rockstar says cuts to Aussie version of GTAIV are "not significant"; calls for introduction of R18+ rating for games in Australia.

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Last week, news reports surfaced that Rockstar was forced to censor the Australian version of Grand Theft Auto IV in order to ensure that it passed through the country's strict classification regime. A statement released today from the company confirms that Rockstar did indeed submit an edited version of Grand Theft Auto IV to Australia's classification board, and the developer laid the blame squarely on Australia's lack of an R18+ rating for games as the reason for the changes.

Although Rockstar did not divulge exactly what modifications have been made to the Aussie version of GTAIV, the statement said those changes were "not significant." "While there are some minor differences between the Australian and US/EU versions, they are not significant and we do not believe they take away from the level of scope and detail that make GTA IV such an incredible experience. We would not release the game in Australia if we believed these differences compromised the quality of the game in any way," Rockstar said.

According to Rockstar, edits were required to GTAIV to ensure it would pass under Australia's highest classification for games, MA15+. Unlike other forms of media that have an R18+ rating (meaning that it's restricted for sale to adults 18 years or older), games in Australia have to be rated MA15+ or lower in order to be legally sold in the country. "Unlike the US and Europe, Australia still lacks an R18+ rating for video games and as a result many games are edited for release in Australia, including most previous Grand Theft Auto releases," the statement said.

"We strongly support the Office of Film and Literature Classification and will continue to work within their guidelines; however we believe the government needs to bring games in line with other media by introducing an R18+ rating, or edits to games will continue to be necessary. We encourage consumers to let their politicians know that they support an R18+ rating for games."

For more on Australia's classification regime for video games, check out GameSpot AU's in-depth Censory Overload feature.

Discussion

239 comments
Sgt-Frinkis
Sgt-Frinkis

so i live in naw zealand and i was wanting to know if we get the australians arse version or the good version ? ps. we have an 18+ rating for games but we might end up getting the auzzie game anyway

Monkeybone33
Monkeybone33

Wait, im still confused. If i got this game from the uk and it is PAL compatible will it play on my console? (I live in Australia)

JoyousOblivion
JoyousOblivion

"imma stop bytchin about how freedom of speech is under attack in the u.s. " -LooseChangepor Well, excusing the fact you can't spell, freedom of speech has nothing to do with video games. Freedom of speech was created to allow citizens to freely criticize their government without fear of repercussions as a result of their words against/for a certain government. The Game sounds it won't be changed much for its AU release, if its rating is any indication as posted by Infrared187.

brian_speaking
brian_speaking

Can anyone name some good online games shops from New Zealand? Stuff buying cut version in Australia.

Infrared187
Infrared187

Rhubarb9: "I bet they cut cussing, anything sex related, alcohol, gambling and of course any gore like slicing off heads with katanas" Umm...no. Firstly, those are major edits, not minor edits as Rockstar have said. Secondly, from the Australian GTA IV rating; "Strong violence, Strong coarse language, Drug and sexual references" So, no, I don't think they'll be cutting all that. Besides, why would they have to censor all that when games like Kane & Lynch and Condemned 2 were released in Australia uncut?

Rhubarb9
Rhubarb9

I bet they cut cussing, anything sex related, alcohol, gambling and of course any gore like slicing off heads with katanas

Infrared187
Infrared187

JUST TELL US WHAT THE HELL YOU CUT, ROCKSTAR! Is it really that difficult?

LooseChangepor
LooseChangepor

And I thought the Bible Belt in the u.s had power. imma stop bytchin about how freedom of speech is under attack in the u.s. One thing that seems weird tho that kids 15 and up can still get it in aus, thats weird.

jmoney10000
jmoney10000

What kind of free country censors what the people can video games people can play? None

Irve
Irve

just think of all that trade with NZ that will dry up if Oz introduces an R18+ rating .... lol come on .. this isn't news we all know that this happens to a lot of games in Oz ... Heck even the WWE games get the blood removed ... and you really don't expect cuts in GTA4 ! hopefully the talks will got well and in 12/18 months Oz will finally have an R18+ rating

Rochie101
Rochie101

to the OFLC; so in saints row you can have a chuff and go run down a pimp and steal his beyatchs while swearing like a sailor and shooting any pedestrian or 5 0 dumb enough to try & FUK with you, but gtaIV they have a problem with? STOP MEDDLING WITH THINGS THAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! IF A 23-30 YEAR OLD CITIZEN WANTS TO GO OUT AND BUY A R18+ VIDEO GAME THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO GO OUT AND BUY A R18+ VIDEO GAME. If parents are so worried about what their children watch, read & play mabey they should take little jimmy out to the park and kick a ball around for the afternoon instead of plonking him infront of the t.v. all fu#king day!

KolHammer
KolHammer

well i have cancelled my preorder locally - just waiting on NZ to confirm which version they will be getting. chances are it will be uncut - so i will be importing it from there - same region - no hassles. go aussie, erm NZ!

ExtraDry18
ExtraDry18

Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to which everyone has "the right to freedom of opinion and expression" and also the right to "seek, RECEIVE and impart" information and ideas "regardless of frontiers. Dosen't sound like Australia?!?!?!?

GTARulez
GTARulez

The Aussies Government actually forced them to censor the game... However the game is GTA still Rulez

alexkx
alexkx

pretty crazy this country..i moved here and fell on my azz from the sorts of TV they have here with sex and ttties sometimes even at 11am on public channel. After 9pm, forget about it, almost every channel will have nudity somewhere. You can't sell nudity or violence to kids under 18, but no problem selling air time on public tv for rape, brutal violence, graphic sex, and even full on nude, human disections... so retarted. Australia needs to get its head out of its * and treat electronic entertainment in a different manner!!!

Mafia_hitman01
Mafia_hitman01

Just import it from New Zealand. Same region and uncut!!!!!

RareDropRadio
RareDropRadio

Man, that really sucks for you guys down under.

ronnet
ronnet

Monkeybone33, until somebody has played it it's unknown if GTA4 is region free for 360. You either buy thr AUS version at launch or wait for others to test it. Just check play-asia after the release, they will probably try and sell the un-edited PAL version as soon as it's official that it's region free.

Monkeybone33
Monkeybone33

Hey if i got this game from canada that is PAL compatible would that mean its the un-edited version?

bacchj
bacchj

its alright i am just gonna import US PS3 version u gotta love the ps3 region free games

enviovore
enviovore

I was looking foreward to this game like 2 years ago.. now i couldnt care less what rating they give it, the only way im can see myself playing it is like 6 months after the console release, on a pirated PC copy, just to be able to get the whole origional content. everything sucks

nick_spot
nick_spot

i'm not buying it cause of this.

moodogg123
moodogg123

the aussie government should get up off their a$$e$ and change the classification to R18+ so games like GTAIV dont have to be changed however small the change might be

Wuflungdung
Wuflungdung

oh no, a little thing will be missing that doesnt even affect the game, so I will have to whinge and whine.

ronnet
ronnet

Monkeybone33 , you can import from any country from Europe since we have PAL aswell. But I suggest you wait and find out if it's region free. I'm sure that if it is region free a few guys will set up a little business to get a lot of copies to Australia, that way the import costs wont be too high either. And ofcourse you cna always get the AUS version, it seems they didnt cut that much content. Unless you really want that virtual whore.

Monkeybone33
Monkeybone33

I had a look around and i cant find the game with the PAL compatibility thing on it :( So if someone finds a site please tell...

kamix
kamix

I only found out about this now - I'm going in to EB on monday to cancel my preorder, I'll import it like everyone else.

fendium
fendium

Monkeybone33. No retailer in australia will be selling the unedited version. otherwise this entire discussion would never have happened. your best bet is to go to play-asia.com or similar, and try to find a region free game. they are making a few titles region free now. what your looking for is PAL compatible as that is the version we run in AU. Any that are NTSC ONLY will not play on our consoles. my advice, save $550, and import a PS3 and the game off hte same website. Any PS3 can be played anywhere on any voltage as they have built in converters. all you need is the correct IEC cable (i think its IEC, someone correct me if im wrong) and your set for $250 cheaper than it would cost here.

Monkeybone33
Monkeybone33

Well, ive got a 360 and how would i get the un-edited version then? Is there a place where you can buy it in australia where it can work on my console?

ronnet
ronnet

Monketbone33, depends on your console. Most 360 games arent region free, infact the 360 is region locked. But some games are stil region free (strange but true) so you have to wait to find out from the mistakes of others. If your on PS3 then there is a big chance that you can play it on your consoel because the PS3 is region free. But some games are region locked, for exmaple F.E.A.R. So whatever console you own you better wait till after release.

warrioremperor
warrioremperor

some of the users here seem to be living in a magical world, how could Microsoft ,or any other company,know if they asked you how old are you and you are living in the poles, you said you are over 18 at the time you are only 12. Beside, no one is responsible of your education but ur parents, so stop this bull*** about they should do this and that. Also GTA has been known for its crime and adult scenes, without them it will not have anything in common with the real world, in case you mind playing such games, go grab yourself Mario's World or Tetris :D Long live GTA, in all its versions.

CPS82
CPS82

lumeiwan: Different countires all over the world are receiving incentives for pre-ordering. This has nothing to do with it. It was just the fact that IGN AU decided to report on it. For instance the Game (UK) pre-order was announced up to one month before we heard about AU, just that nobody thought it was worth while to write an article regarding 500 MS points and a few gamerpics. ----------------------------------------- I know many Australians that will simply import the game and ALSO save a few dollars whilst doing so. Not changing the way games are rated to fall in line with other available media can only have a negative effect. For example, just imagine all the retailers that miss out as copies are imported from other countries...

lumeiwan
lumeiwan

That explains why they received incentives for pre- ordering the game.

jakie91
jakie91

Rockstar Seem to understand the gamers the most these days... Thank You Rockstar for releasing the game in Australia on time with the rest of the world, Even after changing the game around for us, Thank Mates

dylankay94
dylankay94

hey dragonfist101, at least us aussies can spell censored

DoomZaW
DoomZaW

Damn im happy i don't live in these parts of the world ;)

the_monkey_god
the_monkey_god

But in america it is 17 and up for M. Not 18 and up.

AntonFC1248
AntonFC1248

Ive already ordered my copy for x360, here in Aus, but once ive had it for awhile im definitely importing for my ps3

shane-chris
shane-chris

We Australian's have let the pollies know. But just one of them is stopping the 18+ rating from going ahead because of his high and mighty "someone has to think of the children" stance. damn stupid goody-two-shoes!!!

snake_9909
snake_9909

well ctg your the moron who didnt say he was 18 on his profile only have yourself to blame

dragonfist101
dragonfist101

it sucks for Austrailians for when they get the GTAIV SENCERD VERZION..HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA Loooosers

dragonfist101
dragonfist101

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

punkologist
punkologist

Yep, I bought a PS3 last week after being a XB360 owner since launch and im glad i did. ill be importing the PS3 version, along with MLB 08 :)

Mr-Elijo
Mr-Elijo

Thats not fair. I'm definately going to import it from Europe now.

QVT
QVT

The odd thing is that in some ways our rating system in Australia is actually more liberal than others. Condemned 2 for instance is deemed suitable for a 15+ rating, whilst it gets 17+ in the States. So according to Australia, Bloodshot is not suitable for a 15 year old, but not so for the US. Its the same with Gears of War. And God of War. And an endless list of others. Manhunt actually was given a 15+ rating in Australia, before a few political stiffs complained and put pressure on the OFLC, including our former (thank God) Attorney-General. I believe the murder of a British teenager that was blamed on the game and the media storm arround it contributed to it. As a result, the MA15+ tag was removed, and Manhunt was refused classification. I should also point out that San Andreas was initially released without any censored content. It wasn't until the Hot Coffee fiasco that it was pulled from the shelves and changes were made. The media isn't helping our cause in a lot of cases. We're just missing a rating. That's all. Its foolish and it doesn't make sense, but something I feel needs to be cleared up for our non-Australian friends is that we aren't akin to, say, China when it comes to censorship. Given the restraints they have, I think to OFLC does a pretty admirable job in getting games to our shores. From reading some comments here, and listening to the Hotspot the last two weeks, and I think some people are getting the wrong impression about Australia and censorship. We have a new Government in power after 11 years. Thats a long time for philosophical political viewpoints to stagnate. I'm sure this ratings fuss will be cleared up eventually.

QVT
QVT

The odd thing is that in some ways our rating system in Australia is actually more liberal than others. Condemned 2 for instance is deemed suitable for a 15+ rating, whilst it gets 17+ in the States. So according to Australia, Bloodshot is suitable for a 15 year old, but not so according the US. Its the same with Gears of War. And God of War. And an endless list of others. Manhunt actually was given a 15+ rating in Australia, before a few political figures complained and put pressure on the OFLC, including our former (thank God) Attorney-General. I believe the murder of a British teenager that was blamed on the game and the media storm arround it contributed to it. As a result, the MA15+ tag was removed, and Manhunt was refused classification. I should also point out that San Andreas was initially released without any censored content. It wasn't until the Hot Coffee fiasco that it was pulled from the shelves and changes were made. The media isn't helping our cause in a lot of cases. We're just missing a rating. That's all. Its foolish and it doesn't make sense, but something I feel needs to be cleared up for our non-Australian friends is that we aren't akin to, say, China when it comes to censorship. Given the restraints they have, I think to OFLC does a pretty admirable job in getting games to our shores. From reading some comments here, and listening to the Hotspot the last two weeks, and I think some people are getting the wrong impression about Australia and censorship. We have a new Government in power after 11 years. 11 years is a long time for philosophical political viewpoints to stagnate and for some issues to be left behind. I'm sure this ratings fuss will be cleared up eventually.

MrFisty
MrFisty

Two words: import it.

lemaclmc
lemaclmc

@HolteEnder4Life - well said, if mature themed games were never in the hands of kids whose parents neglected to pay them any attention, maybe us gamers would have to hear less about bull**** politicians that claim the evil that is video games were corrupting our youth. I'm waiting for the day when parents act like parents and learn what their kids are into before finding out too late and causing a riot...oh and Jack Thompson sucks.