The Australian Classification Board is taking heat for refusing to give Saints Row IV a R18+ rating and effectively banning the game from the country, prompting it to explain its decision process. Why is Saints Row IV the first game to be refused classification under the new system?
The answer may or may not shock you depending on your familiarity with the series. Please be cautious in reading the description, because this is one that no officially government appointed body should ever have to make.
The “sexual violence” cited by the board comes in the form of a “Alien Anal Probe,” which sounds as horrible as the name implies.
When using this weapon the play approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the weapon between the victim’s legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air. After the probe has been implicitly inserted into the victim’s anus the area around their buttocks becomes pixelated highlighting that the aim of the weapon is to penetrate the victim’s anus. The weapon can be used during gameplay on enemy characters or civilians.
“Drug use” also was cited as a reason for the board’s decision, and an “alien narcotics” mission is to blame for that.
The game contains an optional mission which involves the player obtaining and smoking drugs referred to as “alien narcotics.” Smoking alien narcotics equips the player with superpowers which increase their in-game abilities allowing them to progress through the mission more easily…
After killing this dealer the player is again depicted smoking from a small glass pipe. Within moments the player begins to feel the effects of the drug, commenting “(my) powers feel limitless”, “(I) feel like every muscle inside me is going to burst” and “holy crap we have superpowers”. The player then embarks on a mission to locate and kill an enemy character and is depicted using superpowers which include increased speed and jumping abilities.
In other words, these are not Earthly things which we will be poisoning the minds of video gamers with, but fictional alien devices which I doubt we will ever be getting around to inventing. Granted if a child was to play this video game, he could very much injure a friend by copying the action. That is why the game was to be rated R18+ though.
How about it? Is Saint’s Row IV pushing the envelope a little too far with these two inclusions, or is the Australian Board just overstepping boundaries like it used to in the old days?
Saints Row IV is set to release on August 20th for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.