Rockstar Games is no stranger to Australia's strict video game classification regime. Even before the company's highly anticipated title Grand Theft Auto IV hit shelves worldwide in April this year, rumours of edits to the Australian Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions began to circulate. Rockstar confirmed the rumours, saying that they had made voluntary content cuts that were "not significant" to the overall product in order to satisfy the guidelines enforced by the local ratings body--the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC)--which is now called the Classification Board.
This week will see the Australian launch of Grand Theft Auto IV for PC, and in a statement, Rockstar today confirmed to GameSpot AU that unlike the console versions currently on sale, the Australian PC retail release of GTAIV will be sold completely uncensored.
"Grand Theft Auto IV PC has been rated MA15+ strong violence, sex scenes, coarse language, and drug references by the Australian Classification Office. The PC game is unedited in any way and identical in content to the international version," a local Rockstar rep said.
The rules governing the Australian classification system means that once a multiplatform title has been approved fit for sale by the board, publishers are then able to sell the approved version on all subsequent developed platforms. A local Rockstar Games representative was unavailable for comment at time of print as to whether future Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 shipments of the game sold in Australia would feature the uncut content found in the PC version. While Rockstar has never officially confirmed what was cut out of the Aussie console versions of GTAIV, GameSpot AU's comparison of the local and international version found that prostitution options were pared down in Australian games.
The news comes less than a week after Warner Bros. Interactive title F.E.A.R. 2 was refused classification for failing to meet the maximum MA15+ guideline for video games. Being awarded the RC rating effectively bans the title from sale in Australia and marks the fifth title deemed unfit during 2008.