Saints Row IV banned in Australia

Next instalment in irreverent, open-world game denied classification rating in Australia because of implied sexual violence and drug use.

976 Comments

Saints Row IV has become the first game to be refused classification in Australia since the introduction of the R18+ adult rating on January 1 this year.

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According to a statement issued today by the Australian Classification Board’s acting director, Donald McDonald, the game was refused the maximum R18+ rating for games due to its implied sexual violence and drug use related to player incentive.

"In the Board's opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context," the statement said. "In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines."

To date, 17 games have successfully been granted the R18+ rating, including Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition, and Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel. The refused classification status of Saints Row IV now effectively bans it from sale nationally.

GameSpot contacted the game's Australian distributor, but a spokesperson was unable to comment on the announcement, or whether the company plans to appeal the decision.

Saints Row IV was slated for release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on August 22 this year.

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Avatar image for arcangelgold
arcangelgold

Sorry for them they don't have any freedom of speech or expression. While I don't condone the game's clear cut message that being bad is good. I respect the rights of every person to chose for themselves.

Avatar image for Skull-Fire
Skull-Fire

@arcangelgold Clear cut message? Not everything is about an agenda. Like in this case, it's just a game for entertainment. I hate real world violence but I understand that this is a video game, so it's perfectly ok and I'm not getting a message that "being bad is good".

Avatar image for EnlightendGamer
EnlightendGamer

I pity the Aussies.

Here we don't have a Game Rating Board/Organization.

Avatar image for BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Its too bad about the Aussies not getting the chance to check out the new Saints game but seriously its not a huge loss for them I bet pennies to dollars a lot of people will be upset when the gov bans the newest GTA when it releases here in a couple of months.

Avatar image for meatz666
meatz666

Funny that you americans comment on stuff.
But now that the whole Latin America followed Chaves.

Are you guys still banter about games?? lol

Avatar image for arcangelgold
arcangelgold

@meatz666 What point does you comment have?

Avatar image for meatz666
meatz666

@arcangelgold @meatz666 It means that. Wake up a little bit, and understand the important historic period we are witnessing and entering. Don't waste so much time bantering about a game subject (don't mind me, go play them and read gamespot), and wake up to the world.

It's not a critic. It's a suggestion.

Avatar image for BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

@meatz666

Its funny how racist and narrow-minded people are on the internet especially here on gamespot now the real question is did you get your racist membership card punched today? O_O

Avatar image for meatz666
meatz666

@BlackBaldwin @meatz666 So, I'm racist? Aren't your country made of British, African and Latins? Am I racist when I call an american American?

Avatar image for Orinian
Orinian

And this is why Australian gaming stores lose business thus on why we just import games and when we travel, buy them overseas. Australia has become a "nanny" country the government feels the need to protect us from these type of games. I am not a 15-21 year old with no brain and the need to copy what's on games. I am a responsible adult and enjoy games like this without copying what's on them. Nothing will stop me from playing them and will keep supporting American businesses who sell them.

Avatar image for vinnypharmacist
vinnypharmacist

The Aussies are no fun.

Avatar image for gawthy
gawthy

I would write to Steven Conroy but he stood down from his position. Dam you Kevin 07, but ill still vote for you

Avatar image for Joutja
Joutja

Maybe this is a sign that games are becoming too violent and are placing too much emphasis on drug use. I know that Saints Row does this with humour but it is becoming an increasing issue and currently living in an area with many people in drug abuse, I don't blame Australia at all for wanting to limit any possible causes of this.

Avatar image for arcangelgold
arcangelgold

@Joutja I don't think there is any evidence video games cause people to use drugs.

Avatar image for flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

@Joutja Not sure if serious. For the longest time in games you've been able to murder thousands upon thousands of people. If the addition of "ooooh drugs" and "lol alien probe" is where the line is crossed, then that's one hell of a messed up line.

Avatar image for phelanka
phelanka

@flammable_zeus @Joutja There are worse things than death and drug addiction is one of them.

Avatar image for djwood84
djwood84

Mr. Prime Minister... HEY, ANDY!

http://files.abovetopsecret.com/files/img/rp4fc3492d.png

Avatar image for abhisheknerdy20
abhisheknerdy20

Australians are so lucky

Avatar image for Bayonetta2013
Bayonetta2013

Well, **** Australia, then. Who cares? They don't get to play Saints Row IV.

Avatar image for Wrathesoul
Wrathesoul

Sad thing is Australia is becoming worst then communist countries in quite a few ways. Controlling what adults can and cant view or play has gone beyond bad. This bloody government is winging about a gun that is shoved up a cartoonish characters arse and well ya all know the rest and drugs....yet they allow that kind of thing on free to air TV and foxtel etc and such...Yet those aren't banned and those have far more kids attractive draws then a single game. This country is arse backwards in this area. I don't care if this game will be great or not I am more worried about the fact this country is slowly taking your rights away more and more and laughing in your face saying you cant do a darn thing about it.

Avatar image for rad8045
rad8045

@Wrathesoul Like your Government isn't taking rights away from you guys ? Your government has way more powers when it comes to spying on your phone calls and internet use, Plus America took away your biggest right many years ago when it took away the right to free healthcare. You let your less fortunate citizens live on the streets and have made your vote invalid at election time.

Avatar image for rad8045
rad8045

@Wrathesoul That's just assuming that your in America by the way ? If not well then please forgive my rant.

Avatar image for Bayonetta2013
Bayonetta2013

@rad8045 @Wrathesoul Exactly. Don't assume.

And I'm sorry, but every nation on this earth has "less fortunate citizens" living on the streets. You can't help everyone, and especially the ones who won't help themselves. That's not to say that's the case for every person on the streets, but in America, it tends to be now.

Avatar image for SmartGhost
SmartGhost

this looks fucking lame...and now your the president now **** and zen aliens come guys this is a shitty game

Avatar image for so_hai
so_hai

If they make changes to the game, it can re-apply to be classified right?

Avatar image for LonelyHippie27
LonelyHippie27

Dude's name is 'Donald McDonald'. No wonder he's pissed

Avatar image for francisismyhero
francisismyhero

I think we can all agree sexual violence is wrong and should be condemned. Australia restricts unjustified depictions of such. It may be a heavy-handed restriction, but I think it's goal is noteworthy, and should commended in general. You have to draw a line somewhere, and I think Australia has a decent line. Do you really need to play a game with anal probe weapons? No.

Avatar image for Wrathesoul
Wrathesoul

@francisismyhero I agree it is wrong yet the Australian government is raping our rights as adults to be equal to the rest of the world. So in theory the Australian government should be BANNED as it does all what they ban games for. I feel its not the need to be able to play with a anal probe gun its the fact the government feels your not mature enough to have it regardless if you use it or not. Its the government who feels it has all the power to make developers change things just because a few wingy babies in office don't want others to get something the rest of the world does. Its all about control and taking that control away from its people/

Avatar image for xiaoyangguang
xiaoyangguang

@francisismyhero You sire is an idiot. So sure what is to be banned next? Movies that depict gore or violence? What would this lead to? Well for one, it would lead to a state of mindless idiots who can't think for themselves so they must let the government do so for them instead. Regardless of how sick and disgusting a written work, movie or game is percieved. There must yet be freedom of thought! Just because sexual violence is wrong as all violence is, it doesn't mean you have the right to limit any art form from using it as an inspiration. I say, I draw the line - you shouldn't have been born. Seriously though, it's people like you who makes the world more dumb and opressive!

If I wan't to play a game with anal-probe weaponry at hand, then I will and there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it. Stupid people always want to limit things they do not have an understanding of.

Avatar image for PSCMilk-it
PSCMilk-it

The land of criminals bans a "suggestive" game. Ironic

Avatar image for so_hai
so_hai

@PSCMilk-it We live in an ever growing nanny-state I believe.

Avatar image for j0rd4n1z4w3s0m3
j0rd4n1z4w3s0m3

Damn you, Donald McDonald! http://imageshack.us/a/img560/6172/nlw.png

Avatar image for valknight
valknight

The problems with rating systems on games is that there are idiot parents who will purchase for their kids regardless of the rating on the game, same with movies.

Avatar image for xiaoyangguang
xiaoyangguang

@valknight I suggest you do think about this: Government rulings and what they suggest is not something everyone should live by to the max.. They do not always know right and the ethical choice is often to not listen to them as well as it might be sometimes. Anyway, just because a game has been rated "15+" doesn't mean all parents should and must abide that, maybe the child is way more mature? Maybe a 12 year old is fine with it. You do not know everyone. I watched gory splatter movies when I was 13-14 years old, but today I find them useless and so forth and I turned out even better than I was as a child.. Regardless with children, its the parent's duty to parent them, not us or the society. You CAN'T dictate how others should do it, just as much as I dislike christianity or islam, it does not mean I have any right to interfere with their parenting.

Avatar image for meatz666
meatz666

Australia is asking Anonymous intervention again?
So movies, books and TV Shows which depicts drugs and stuff: Allowed.
Video games: No.
So biased.

Avatar image for valknight
valknight

@meatz666 I think the difference from ignorant standpoints is that in movies, books and shows you are simply an observer, but in a game you are actually doing the inappropriate action. It's silly honestly, but that's how they think.

Avatar image for meatz666
meatz666

@valknight @meatz666 Even agreeing with you at some point, so, actors in a play can't portrait a drug user or a offender? I know you agree with me, but I can't just give them the doubt. This is the famous "look at the shining keys". And you know that political and religious correctness tends, on it's extreme, to fundamentalism, right?

Avatar image for valknight
valknight

@meatz666 @valknight True, but I don't know the bylaws of Australia either, we often take for granted the few extra freedoms we have here in America.

Avatar image for ferretshob
ferretshob

R18+ Adult rating. Adult being the operative word here. Get over yourself Donald Mcdonald.

Avatar image for x3lA
x3lA

Australia will ban chocolate, because it has an offensive color (brown-poo)

Avatar image for Evamorgana
Evamorgana

@mingoschrupa

No ones forcing you. But you're right- that game is pretty rubbish.

Avatar image for Evamorgana
Evamorgana

But isn't that what the R18 rating is for?.......

Not that I'd want to play it but surely adults can deal with drugs and tasteless weapons. It's weird that they draw the line there, there are so many morally questionable things in games. Apparently we can't handle drug dealing for incentives.....

Avatar image for joesguy
joesguy

Further proof that this country has no faith in it's own ratings system. Why not just do away with it and regulate our media? If this is going to be a full blown nanny state, just cut out the middleman already.

Avatar image for twentymooseman
twentymooseman

@joesguy Seriously, how the **** does your government get away with basically telling grown adults that something is inappropriate for them? Since when was it the government's job to tell grown adults what kind of media they can and can't consume? Seriously, just **** Australian censors.

Avatar image for peterp94
peterp94

@twentymooseman @joesguy It's comments like these that sometimes justify the point of view of censors.

Avatar image for ggregd
ggregd

@twentymooseman @peterp94 @joesguy So there is nowhere you would draw a line? Absolutely ANYTHING goes if you're a 'grown adult?'

Avatar image for twentymooseman
twentymooseman

@peterp94 @twentymooseman @joesguy Please, regardless of how profane a statement is, people should still have the right to make it. These comments don't justify the point of view of the censors because the suppression of self expression is beyond justification.

Avatar image for joesguy
joesguy

@twentymooseman @joesguy We're still somewhat backwards when it comes to classification. Despite a newly implemented R18 rating for games, it seems even that is conditional. Apparently kids are still in danger of being anal probed or something.

Avatar image for announakis
announakis

It is not enough that we have to struggle with the worst lags issue on the whole planet when playing multiplayer, we also have to cope with the most retarted censorship institution on the planet...*sigh*

the problem is indeed that here the video games are still perceived as children games...as for many other things, Australia is 20 years behind the rest of the occidental world and so conservative it hurts.

Avatar image for simtel76
simtel76

ok, i gotta say that i am officially over the ACB and their guidelines... i don't understand, nor could anyone with any form of intelligence justify to any person why there are differences when classifying a movie or tv show compared to a video game... especially now that there is an R18 rating for video games. how is it that people can walk into a sex shop and purchase all sorts of pornography that actually shows real people performing various sex acts... not simulating these acts, but really doing it... but people cannot buy a video game... how can it be that anyone over the age of 18 can get a copy of such movies such as bad lieutenant, the human centipede or fear and loathing in las vegas or naked lunch for example, but i can't play the proper version of saints row iv or state of decay... how is holding a controller and playing a game that has 'implied sexual violence' or drug taking different from watching such movies that depict so much more deviant and abhorrent scenes... these video games do not even come close to the contents of what's in thousands of R18 movies... i'm sorry, but the gamers of australia, and anyone with reasonable faculties and common sense must realise that this kind of discrimination between these two mediums just doesn't make sense at all... something needs to be done and the ACB and the government need to exercise common sense and just get with the program... the guidelines need to change... this will not be tolerated anymore...