Watch Dogs get new R18+ rating in Australia for sex and violence

Australian Classification Board upgrades game's rating, while ESRB rating for the United States mysteriously vanishes.

by

Ubisoft's open-world action game Watch Dogs originally received an MA15+ rating from the Australian Classification Board, but it was recently submitted and classified again and it received a higher R18+ rating, it has been revealed.

The game's original MA15+ rating, published in September 2013 before the game's delay, described Watch Dogs as having "Strong themes and violence." Watch Dogs' new R18+ rating points out that it will contain "References to sexual violence and sex scenes."

Here's how the two ratings for Watch Dogs compare.

Watch Dogs' new R18+ rating is on the left, while the old rating is on the right.

It's unclear what Watch Dogs content specifically led to the ratings upgrade and we've reached out to Ubisoft for comment. In the United States, the game originally received an M-for-Mature rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) but the rating has since vanished from the group's website. An ESRB representative is looking into the matter, they told GameSpot.

Watch Dogs launches May 27 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. The Wii U version will come sometime later. For more on Watch Dogs, be sure to check out GameSpot editor Shaun McInnis' recent extensive hands-on preview of the game from his recent trip to Ubisoft Montreal.

Thank you to GameSpot reader Luke Robson for tipping us off to the news today.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

85 comments
borisb2779
borisb2779

Jesus christ this is ridiculous,

How come a game gets an unjustifed and sudden rating change for no apparent reason. Why does its drug use impact double, and how does it go from strong violence to referncing sexual violence and scenes. Its an action game, it makes no freaking sense. And if a game mentions rape, or a previous sex scene, it gets an r 18 rating. It has been ridiculously overused since it was introduced.

MN121MN
MN121MN

The ESRB rating is gone....

.....

.....

Aiden hacked it!

PS4Lives
PS4Lives

They add adult things to make bigger fake AAA title and cover it's story weakness.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Comparing these two ratings everything has changed, except language, nudity and the vague description themes. Since there are now references to sexual violence and sex scenes, but no increased nudity or strong language, that makes me wonder what those references refer to. The sexual violence isn't sexual threats if the language hasn't changed and there are no additional sex scenes if there is no increased nudity. I guess we'll have to watch(dog) for ourselves when it comes out.

RenegadeGR
RenegadeGR

i feel bad for aussies, like seriously wat qualification do the people in ACB hav to classify games they nvr even tried to play or understand fully.

Lostat
Lostat

The Australian ratings board are far too easily-offended.  I feel sorry that Aussies have to put up with old grey crusts deciding who does/doesn't watch their games & movies content.  Ridiculous!

Forcecaster
Forcecaster

I think this must be thanks to the hentai hack mission Shaun was trying to describe in his article.

surfepic
surfepic

Sex and Violence? Now we´re talking..

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

So here we have it: an 18 rating for driving with a smartphone. In America its a constitutional right to drive with a smartphone and hit pedestrians.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

It's getting an 18 rating in Australia for driving a motorbike with a smartphone in the brake hand. Since in America its the clutch hand its alright, you can still change gears without the clutch.

Wrathesoul
Wrathesoul

Wonder what the Australia Dictatorship er government will edit out of this game like what they did to south park the stick of truth... I seen what they edited and it wasn't bad enough for a forced edit..Ths government is crap

enoughofthis
enoughofthis

maturity = nudity and b00bs


seriously games companies need to stop making games with nudity.....it doesn't = mature more like a pixel porno 

divinejester
divinejester

I think its time, Sony and MS at least drop their AO ban, and then it really wouldn't be an issue.

gtaguy77
gtaguy77

Americans should be glad that they can play it in any age, it's illegal to play in australia if u are below 18.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

It should get a U for ugly

Grimkillah
Grimkillah

I wonder if the Australian version got censored again like L4D2, Witcher 2 and Stick of Truth.

Clarkinator
Clarkinator

Is it really that surprising considering the trailer of the man who's in the sex trade? It's really not that surprising considering content like that. However it does still look like an amazing game regardless of the rating.

Tiwill44
Tiwill44

"But where are those good old fashioned values... on which we used to relyyy?"

hadlee73
hadlee73

The screenshot in the article shows why. Aiden Pearce is clearly trying to hold hands with another man. In Australia that throws the rating up 2 notches :P

linthes999
linthes999

So.. Drug Use jumped 2 levels, and consequently Violence jumped 1 level.


coaltango
coaltango

Im kinda fed up with games that have nudity & bad language

mikebrand83
mikebrand83

@Lostat  

At least this time they haven't contrived some reason to ban it until the devs are forced to only cut contents on the Australian version of the game, eventually leading to messed up DLCs and patch release schedules, and bugs that exist in nobody elses' versions of the game in the rest of the world... Unlike what happened with Saints Row IV and Left 4 Dead 2, among others... Yet.


... Now I better shut up before I go give them ideas.

DrKill09
DrKill09

@kitmeep  No need to add polygons today with the magic of tessellation

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

@SpicaAntares You're joking right? The clutch, breaks & throttle on motorbikes stay the same wherever you go in the world, unless you have a really old Norton.

DrKill09
DrKill09

@enoughofthis  Films have nudity.  That doesn't make all films porno.  Your logic is EXTREMELY flawed.


No, what needs to happen is parent groups and soccer moms need to realize that not all games are for kids, and sex and nudity are natural, not "immoral".  Without sex, we wouldn't be here.


"Porno's good for you" - Beavis

haze0986
haze0986

@gtaguy77  its the same here in america, but the stores here care more about the money theyll make and sell gta 5 to 13 year olds

hystavito
hystavito

@Tiwill44  Maybe someone should make a game where you play as a family person with old fashioned values.  The Sims 1950s American Family edition :).  Definitely no homosexual stuff, well no male on male anyway, the other stuff sells :).

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

@XNEXUS666X @SpicaAntares 

Actually, handedness in motorcycling is pretty much universal (even with an ol' Norton) - it's foot controls that tended to be reversed between different regions and eras.

DrKill09
DrKill09

@divinejester  Yep.  I can watch X rated films on my PS3, but can't play the uncut version of Manhunt 2?!  BULLSHIT!


Ratings systems are to describe what is ALREADY in the game, not dictate what CAN be in the game.  Censorship is a violation of the first amendment.


If Sony can nag you with an epilepsy warning every time you boot up the PS3, why can't they nag you with a "Any mature or adults only rated game played on this console is the responsibility of the purchaser, not of Sony Computer Entertainment"

DrKill09
DrKill09

@haze0986 @gtaguy77  That's not true.  It is not illegal for kids to play M rated games or even watch R rated movies.  It's up to parental discretion.


...maybe it's illegal in California, where all the nanny state fascists live.

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

@SpicaAntares  

You mean the foot-controls? Yeah, my old Matchless (and every other British bike I've had) has gear-change on the right and rear brake on the left.


If you mean hand controls however, I'd wager they were customised to be that way (for whatever insane reason) - easy enough to swap them over.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@s_h_a_d_o

The one I saw had gears controls on the right, if I remember well, with brakes on the other side. Never cared to drive it, afraid I would end up kissing trees.

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

@emperiox @SpicaAntares@XNEXUS666X 

Except when it comes to motorcycles (aesthetically speaking). ;)

haze0986
haze0986

@DrKill09 @haze0986 @gtaguy77  same here , same age same stupid problem, just walked out of 711 with 2 tall boys with no problem...let me try and buy a m rated game anywhere but gamestop and im carded, im moving most of my games to digital aswell, i like physical copies but its a waste of time anymore

DrKill09
DrKill09

@haze0986 @DrKill09 @gtaguy77  I do find it funny that I'm 27 and I get carded for video games, but not beer or cigarettes.


Now days I buy most of my games from local shops or off Steam.  No more gigantic lines or clerks nagging me to buy a Game Informer subscription.

haze0986
haze0986

@DrKill09 @haze0986 @gtaguy77  your right its not illegal to play , my fault....which doesnt make sense as to why they can play but not buy, even though gamestop sells m rated to anyone