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.

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