It was revealed that Saints Row IV has been refused classification in Australia due to its promotion of illicit drug use to receive rewards and for visual depictions of sexual violence which cannot be justified by context.
Saints Row IV becomes the first game to be refused classification after the introduction of the R18+ adult rating system that was put in place on January 1 of this year.
In a released report, the Classification Board outlines exactly what element led to the decision.
“The game includes a weapon referred to by the Applicant as an “Alien Anal Probe”. The Applicant states that this weapon can be “shoved into enemy’s backsides”. The lower half of the weapon resembles a sword hilt and the upper part contains prong-like appendages which circle around what appears to be a large dildo which runs down the centre of the weapon. When using this weapon the player 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.
In the Board’s opinion, a weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context and as such the game should be Refused Classification.”
The board also cites disagreement with ‘alien narcotics’.
“Smoking the “alien narcotics” equips the player with “superpowers” which increase their in-game abilities allowing them to progress through the mission more easily… In the Board’s opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the “alien narcotic” available in the game and real-world proscribed drugs.”
Deep Silver quickly issued a response to the classification decision and thus decided to remove the offensive material instead of appealing the decision.
“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 offense 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.”
At the present time, only 17 games have successfully achieved R18+ rating, including Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, Left 4 Dead 2, and Mortal Kombat.
Saints Row IV is slated to be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on August 22 this year.