Saints Row IV is the first game to be refused an R18+ rating in Australia ever since the creation of the new rating last August. The Acting Director of the Classification Board Mr Donald McDonald pointed towards sexual violence and explicit drug use as the board's reasoning.
"Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards."
Saints Row IV is of course a ridiculous comedy and exaggerated satire on violence, and hopefully most who fall above the 18+ range are able to see that.
McDonald continued to defend the decision by claiming that 17 games have been given the R18+ rating in Australia over the last six months, demonstrating its dedication to moving out of the Stone Age.
Admittedly, Saints Row IV does go a bit above and beyond the levels of violence the other R18+ games do. It won't be able to join the ranks of The Last of Us, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, Metro: Last Light, Dead Island: Riptide, and… Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland?
I'm not sure what unspeakable evils that last one might hold, but something tells me many of these games would have had no trouble getting the 15+ rating given what the Classification Board granted before this year.
Publisher Deep Silver issued a statement after the fact.
"Deep Silver can confirm that Saints Row IV was denied an age classification in Australia. Volition, the developer, are reworking some of the code to create a version of the game for this territory by removing the content which could cause offence without reducing the outlandish gameplay that Saints Row fans know and love. Saints Row IV has been awarded PEGI 18 and ESRB M ratings where fans can enjoy their time in Steelport as originally intended."
Any thoughts? The gaming world might be onto Saints Row IV's savvy sense of ridiculous violence, but that doesn't mean everyone will be in on the joke. Or is the Australian Classification Board just flexing its muscles for Grand Theft Auto V down the road?
At any rate, the game is being released in America for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on August 20th. Prepare to get importing Australia if you want the true version.
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