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.

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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.

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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.

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Earthbound_X

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Edited By Earthbound_X

Wait....so they can still have Alien Probe as DLC, but not part of the main game?


What kinda sense does that make!?


So Australia thinks it’s people are so stupid? That this would make them think drugs give you superpower?

Does Australia have a huge drug problem or something?

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darthturkey

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@Earthbound_X yes australia has a problem with drugs, they mention last year when the R rating was introduce that if games had drugs which gave you some type of effect that will RC even with R rating


here is the new guildlines that was introduce in Thursday 13 September 2012

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.

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ferraro01170

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Edited By ferraro01170

As far as the DLC, no, that's not what this means. Simply put, since the probe weapon is a DLC, the main game would not be banned for it, however, when the DLC is released, the DLC will be banned, meaning you won't have access to it if you live in Australia.

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darthturkey

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@ferraro01170 i dont think they have problem with probe weapon now, it mainly just drug content in which that one mission had to be cut. we just have to wait and see if the dlc is banned or not, they could just simply change the probe gun to something else less sexual

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ferraro01170

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@darthturkey @ferraro01170

Well, I'm going by what Jim Boone said about the modified version they submitted, which is the one that they accepted. As in this quote:

"Changes in the edited version are described by Boone as "not too disruptive to the game." He explained that the submitted version is "missing one weapon and one mission.""

So when they submitted this version (which is now approved) he said it was missing one mission and one weapon. I just assume that weapon to be the "Anal Probe" weapon, unless a different weapon was removed.

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Earthbound_X

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@ferraro01170 Alright, that makes much more sense.

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superbuuman

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so we're paying full price with less game?...hmm...think Im just gonna import the uncensored version. :P

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midnightworld

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Australia, please think of your people as equals, not your children.

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SiLenTWarrior29

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Heh... sucks to be a gamer in Australia lol

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