Saints Row 4 & State of Decay “Banned” in Australia
The Australian Classification Board is none too pleased about the contents of Saints Row 4, and has refused to classify it in the territory despite having an R18+ rating intended for games very much like the aforementioned title. Games which are refused classification are not able to be sold in stores.
Here are the reasons cited by the ACB:
“In the Board’s opinion, 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. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.”
Update: The game was refused classification because it included a weapon called the “Alien Anal Probe,” as well as a narcotic agent which gave players super powers when smoked. Polygon was given the following description of how the weapon worked:
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.
Following the news, Deep Silver has stated that they intend to rework the game’s content for the ACB to take a second look at it. Here’s what they told Joystiq:
“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.”
Saints Row 4 is set for release in North America on August 20, and on August 23 in Europe and the rest of the world.
Update: Following the report above, Saints Row 4 isn’t the only game to be refused classification in Australia for containing drugs. The open-world zombie game from Undead Labs, State of Decay, has also been refused classification (via Kotaku AU). According to the developer, the game was refused classification for containing medications in the game which do not comply with ratings requirements.
According to the ACB, players have the option to self-administer a wide variety of medications in the game, which act to restore the player’s health or boost their stamina. They come in the form of both legal and illicit substances, including methadone and amphetamines.
The report concludes: ”in the board’s opinion, the game enables the player’s character to self-administer proscribed drugs which aid in gameplay progression. This game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards, and should be refused classification.”