Saints Row IV ban upheld in Australia

Appeal for reclassification of original, unedited version of game rejected by Classification Review Board; edited version still under review.

When Saints Row IV was initially banned in Australia last month, there was still some hope that an unedited version of the game would eventually make it out Down Under following an appeal by publisher Koch Media. But that hope has now been squashed, with the Classification Review Board today unanimously upholding the Refused Classification tag for Saints Row IV, meaning it will be illegal to sell the game in Australia.

The game was initially refused classification due to implied sexual violence (specifically pertaining to Saints Row IV's alien anal probe weapon) and the use of illicit drugs referred to as "alien narcotics."

The Review Board convened this week in response to an application from Koch to reconsider the Classification Board's original decision. And while it seems that the Review Board considers the alien anal probe weapon as allowable under Australia's R18+ classification, the drug use remained problematic. While a full report of the appeal has yet to be released, a statement from the review board has outlined that Saints Row IV "could not be accommodated within the Australian R18+ classification as drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted."

In the original Classification Board report, the issue with drug use stemmed around an optional mission where players needed to obtain and smoke the alien narcotic drugs.

"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,'" the report stated.

"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."

Despite today's news, there is still a chance Aussies will get to play Saints Row IV, albeit a slightly different version than the rest of the world will receive. An Australian spokesperson for Koch has confirmed to GameSpot that an edited version of Saints Row IV has been submitted to Australian censors for classification, although there's no indication when a decision about the edited version will be made.

GameSpot will update this story as more details emerge.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

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Discussion

204 comments
ROBDIE
ROBDIE

First off read this: http://www.classification.gov.au/Guidelines/Pages/R18+.aspx 

There is going to have sex scenes and the use of drugs at a high impact. Well I don't understand that the game is not allowed when they are fitted in with the clarification of R18+. If the people that got the game banned are saying that kids are going to be playing it and might get the wrong thought of doing the things they do on the game, (Seeing the use of drugs and using the "anal probe weapon")  Well that's their own fault for having a dumb stupid parent buying the game for them.. I don't see how this affects the "adults" of Australia. They are adults and should make their own decision's for their life.

cdog21
cdog21

So can Aussies order the uncensored version from somewhere else and have it shipped to them or would it get intercepted by Customs?

GhostHawk196
GhostHawk196

I honestly cannot believe the intellectual disabilities of Australian politicians, it does not take a genius to know that this kind of censorship only promotes privacy among the industry. Regardless of how productive this market is for consumers, it is still one which brings gains from trade to consumers and producers and thereby contributing to the economy. All they've done is promote torrent sites which is effectively the gaming equilivent of the black market. I seriously hope one day in Australia we are not governed by chimpanzees.

Dave Leach
Dave Leach

GTA WILL come to the PC as it always does so don't see what that fuss is about, yep its always later than the consoles but #dealwithit.And I don't care what they ban in Oz because I don't live there soz.

tightwad34
tightwad34

I wonder if this is really a ploy actually meant in a heartfelt way or is it just another way of controlling the populace. I would bet on the latter. I would be very upset if someone was taking away my choices of pleasure. Last time I checked Alien Drugs haven't found their way to Earth so I wouldn't get all up in arms about it. If we did have Alien Drugs I wouldn't think of it as a bad thing.

Reichmaster01
Reichmaster01

I do believe that the Classification Review Board need to feel the full force of the Alien Anal Probe Weapon. Maybe then they will realise the difference between R and X!

Darek_Khort
Darek_Khort

I'm surprised they didn't ban Mario games too due to their illicit drugs referred to as "mushrooms".

nomadski69
nomadski69

If it wasn't for the thousands of poor Australian gamers who may miss out on playing the game, this issue would be hilarious in its incredulity that a modern elected government should deem its 18+ year old citizens of not being able to handle "alien drugs" in an incredibly over the top ultra violent cartoon game.

Here's my opinion, you 18+ers have a right to vote, let those in power know you intend to use it, and why.

There's nothing that moves political will more than the knowledge your job is at risk.

veryDERPY
veryDERPY

muh freedoms is overwhelming.

hadlee73
hadlee73

This is why Aussies still let us New Zealanders into their country. If we smuggle games over for them, they give us a job in the mines :P

stziggy
stziggy

Thank God the Australian Government saved its citizens from this horrible game.  This is so much more an important issue fixing the economy and getting folks back to work.  Nice to see Australia has its priorities straight.  Who's Prime Minister this week?

RiP_ili
RiP_ili

Lucky Aussies. Why can't we get crappy game franchises banned over here?

Samuel Desbiens
Samuel Desbiens

There is a petition to get GTA5 on PC and like all other GTA's we will probably get one we just have to be patient and we will get nice Direct X 11 graphics

Daian
Daian

Great, the government gets to decide what an adult can play in a video game in Australia. Fantastic :|

TheLightElf
TheLightElf

Wait til GTA V arrives. . . Violence. . .sex. . .It'l be crazy!

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Hahahahah the anal probe gun is fine but it's the DRUGS that are the problem.

Oh you looney Australians.

rfunes
rfunes

Australians: it is your fault. Over the last decades, you forged with your votes this "nanny state" that tells adults what they can or cannot see. You forfeit your Liberty to your government, from gun bans to vídeo games bans. And let me say, it will not stop there. Next, they will say how much salt, sugar you can use. NY city is under such type of government, too, so do not feel alone. Ow, and by the way, I`m also sorry for the Brits, as now they have to ask permission from their "nanny government" in order to see pr0n on the web. Way to go, Socialists (Liberals) !

snugglebear
snugglebear

Australians are mature enough to decide for themselves what is and isn't funny to have going into other people's arses. 

zim3442
zim3442

Being an Australian and witnessed this issue develop over the years, I find this decision far from surprising... However I have to wonder why too this date we still lack any significant lobbyist power behind games in this country.

Real Bukka
Real Bukka

I don't care. I will be playing it. XD

Gen007
Gen007

It seems like the whole 18+ rating was just a ruse to shut certain people up aka gamers. The bans have been coming down same as before. I don't think they actually thought it would be put to the test in reality though exposing the facade.

Paul2004
Paul2004

They cant see the difference between real drugs and these ?, are they saying that everyone who takes drugs gains super powers :P ?. Even with the 18+ rating things dont seem to have changed, idiots still rate the games and ban what they dont agree with....get someone with some common sense, they arent that hard to find ;)

gunsofdeschain
gunsofdeschain

what complete disconnect between these stupid government boards and the market. Thanks anyway, you got rid of the guilt factor in getting this via torrent.

mystic_knight
mystic_knight moderator

i find the bn reasonable for the alien anal probe but ridiculous for the alien narcotics.

thorn3000
thorn3000

and taxpayers waste their money on this

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

Would it be acceptable to get super powers by using the alien anal probe weapon on yourself?

Slade968
Slade968

lol, Australia is the new Microsoft on this website. They are just getting worse and worse.

adroge1
adroge1

Poor AU. Apparently even the adults still need adult supervision.

northArrow
northArrow

This is an outrage!

From now on I'm giving every Australian I meet an anal probing

Gazdakka
Gazdakka

Sorry Australia, but the Board of Stubborn Grandpas rejected your appeal. Yep, when you tried to alter the system to enable more mature games to be released, all they did was play a round of Musical Chairs.

Apastron
Apastron

This is ridiculous.  Destroy All Humans was released unedited in Australia, and it featured, you guessed it, the very same weapon that has caused this game to be banned.

It's cheaper to import the game anyway.  They're not doing anyone any favours.

archelius
archelius

Austraaaalian Gamers are sleeping thats why or they really do not care about getting their games all censored! Last i know austraaalia has quite a substantial amount of gamers and game developers and game design colleges too So what are they doing about this???????

David Gibson
David Gibson

What Australia is saying by doing this is that they don't think that their adult population is mature enough to handle this content.

gamer6130
gamer6130

too bad the Australian govt still believes their adults are children.

Zloth2
Zloth2

@Daian Uhhh, they do everywhere.  Make a game that includes clips of real life torture and maiming and see where you can sell it.

aovannor
aovannor

@Thanatos2k What's confusing you? The fact that drugs are a real life problem but anal probe weaponry isn't?

BradleyA9987
BradleyA9987

@rfunes  I thought the refusal to tolerate such uncivilized anti social publications dates back centuries and the mindset was a belief in the bible, and Christian values applied to government are what we call conservative values.  in the US its the republicans who are cool with the bible, the liberals and democrats could not outlaw the bible fast enough.  it appears the  Australians are correct to prohibit the game

thorn3000
thorn3000

@adroge1 lol, adults need grandmother/grandfather supervision...

Maize84
Maize84

@gamer6130 I'd care and sympathize.  However they elect these very people into office.  

DaN_WiL
DaN_WiL

@Zloth2 @Daian That's actually against the law due to it being documented evidence of infringement upon another's rights which, if in a video game, is being exploited for profit.  Not taking glowing rainbow cocaine and giving you super speed and strength.

tonyukuk
tonyukuk

@Saketume @mystic_knight oh really? tell me, how that comment is trolling? Finding something ridiculous is hardly abusive :P

Darek_Khort
Darek_Khort

@Maize84 @gamer6130 The problem there is - who else do you elect? Voting is compulsary here and most of the smaller parties simply preference one of the two major parties.

Saketume
Saketume

@tonyukuk do tell me how the ban for the alien probe is reasonable then. I'm listening.

Especially since they've been allowed in other games before.