The Dongs Are Back In Town: SR4 Australia

By Ben Barrett on August 3rd, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

from Cara with love.

You just can’t stop the twists and turns in the Saints Row 4 classification story. After being refused twice on different builds of the game a third and final submission has been made. This time, according to local distributor All Interactive Entertainment, it has just the right combination of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll to somehow deserve only an MA15+ rating. Jumping two brackets (skipping 18+ entirely) seems to be down to removal of both the “alien narcotics” and “Rectifier Probe” weapon. Quote from publishers Deep Silver if you’re old enough to pass the break.

Deep Silver and AIE are pleased to report that the Australian Classification Board has now approved Saints Row IV for sale. They have granted the game a MA15+ rating. To achieve this rating one loyalty mission featuring the character Shaundi has been removed. This mission has been widely reported on and contains the use of alien narcotics to obtain certain superpowers. This mission represents approximately 20 minutes of gameplay out of the hours available to purchasers. The removal of this mission has no negative impact on the story or the superpowers and will not detract from the enjoyment players will get from their Saints Row IV experience. The rectifier weapon will be available as part of a DLC package as originally intended. Deep Silver respects this decision and thanks the Australian Classification Board for their assistance with this matter.

via Joystiq.

It is very odd to me that a game so entirely ridiculous might be taken so seriously. Even Germany’s famously strict ratings board hasn’t peeped up about any part of the title. Moreover, looks like they’re going to sneak some of the disallowed content past through a DLC loophole, rather defeating the purpose. Why bother with strict classification guidelines if contraband can just be patched in anyway?

Still, seems this is the last stop on the crazy train. Europeans can look forward to their uncensored, uncut experience on August 23rd while Americans once again benefit from their side of the digital pond three days earlier. Lucky smeggers.

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115 Comments »

  1. AndrewC says:

    ‘The removal of this mission has no negative impact on the story or the superpowers and will not detract from the enjoyment players will get from their Saints Row IV experience.’

    You are not selling your game very well!

    Bless ‘em.

    • gwathdring says:

      That’s a tad unfair. It’s not exactly a narrative focused linear game. Even if they think every mission is equally awesome, and they think the level of awesome all those missions are at is really high … taking out 20 minutes from a game you can pour hours and hours and hours into *shouldn’t* have a major negative impact on the game.

      That said, it does neatly segue an issue with this format. The sprawling open world format that takes hours upon hours to finish even just going through story missions. That’s a lot of game; no wonder most players don’t finish games they start. We keep making them longer.

    • darkhog says:

      Probably it’d be unlockable like Hot Coffee mission in GTA:SA, or at least I hope so.

  2. zain3000 says:

    Awww, thanks Australian Classification Board for shielding my fragile eyes from such heinous and dispicable entertainment. On this note, I recently had a discussion with one of my Australian friends who came down on the side of censorship, specifically Australian media self-censorship regarding reporting suicides (apparently due to the copycat suicide phenomena). Being the staunch First Amendment advocate that I am, the debate got pretty heated. Not to say that copycat suicides are something to be brushed off lightly, but where does one draw the line between protecting peoples’ sensibilities and protecting freedom of speech and the press? In the end, either we believe that all people are individuals in charge of their own fates or we don’t. I know where I fall…

    • mouton says:

      Arbitrary limits are not inherently bad, even if they do take away some freedom. The important part is how you place them.

    • zain3000 says:

      @mouton
      But then you have to take a number of things into consideration: what is the ultimate cost/payoff of the limit? Who decides whether or not to set it? Does the limit actually achieve it’s intended goal? The case could be made that, in the case of the copycat suicides, that having the media use euphemisms like no suspicious circumstances actually do more to silence the voices that really need to be heard. If open, honest debate is to be had, censorship is not the best way to encourage it.

      • mouton says:

        Of course it is never perfect, but extremes – like extreme freedom/slavery, total freedom of information/full censorship – are often not good either. Informed arbitrary limits, preferably based on democratic consensus and open to future review are the best of the bad, really.

        Of course such limits can be placed wrongly, like in the case of Oz game censorship. But they can be always analyzed and adjusted – like in the case of Oz game censorship.

        • darkhog says:

          Extreme censorship is always bad, extreme freedom (of whatever, ESPECIALLY information) is always good. The only laws we need is against murder/stealing – rest will regulate on its own.

          • CmdrCrunchy says:

            I’m going to have to stop you there. Extreme freedom is rarely a good idea, including extreme freedom of information. In the world you describe, person A could post an opinion on the internet, then person B could easily take angry offense to that, find said person A’s address, give them a good thumping, and they’d be allowed to do it because ‘Well she said something bad about something I believe in so I should be free to break down her door and give her five across the face…and crowbar her car…and piss on her cat…and wave my genitals in her face to the tune of The Cheeky Girls ‘Touch my bum’ . It can already happen now, but at least Person B would get arrested for it. Mostly for the last part.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      As mounton said. And I’ll add:

      The answer is never an extremist idea. Being a staunch advocate of anything fails to recognize it takes many different people to make up the world. Not everyone is in charge of their own fate, as you put it. In fact I do argue no one really is, but that’s another discussion and I digress.

      Any society needs to live by a set of rules that do limit their freedoms, if they wish to have any hopes of surviving as a cohesive group. It’s best if you quickly accept this, because it is already happening to you on many levels, not just said first amendment. The trouble is finding the right measure of rules. There will always someone agreeing and someone disagreeing.

      One of the most horrible arguments against regulation is “where does one draw the line?”. It’s not because we can’t perceive the right amount of regulation that we shouldn’t do it. It’s better to draw that line seemingly arbitrarily and then adjust it as societies evolve and display new behavioral and cultural patterns, then to simply do nothing. You happen to live at a time where this adjustment is still happening. It’s particularly difficult because you (all of us) happen to also live in a time where our societies are still highly fractured and lack common lifestyles.

      • zain3000 says:

        Of course a set of rules is necessary, I won’t dispute that. But such a rule-set should apply to all equally. Taking away freedom from one party in order to try and, as I said earlier, appeal to the sensibilities of another is not, in my opinion, the way to do it. You state that not everyone is in charge of their own fate. Does this give a higher authority mandate to make pronouncements that affect everyone?

        I feel like I am in a position to live my life in a socially responsible way, without bringing undo harm unto others, and experiencing all I wish to in the process. I do not need someone in a position of authority telling me what I can and cannot consume in the privacy of my own home.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          Yes, but these regulations only work by affecting everyone because there is no way regulatory bodies have of ascertaining who should and should not be subject to those rules. You say you are responsible, regulatory bodies answer with “but whose to say you really are?”.

          This may seem unfair, but it’s just the only way one has of operating in a society. You are what you are today. Will you be the same tomorrow? Meanwhile many people aren’t responsible and still there is no way of just applying a set of rules to them because they don’t make a clearly definable group. How do we know someone should be subject to regulatory restraints before they commit a bad act? Regulations exist to prevent things from happening, as such it’s a preemptive approach. Regulations therefore cannot wait for people to commit crimes or display unsocial behavior before they can be applied.

          • derbefrier says:

            @Mario Figueiredo

            this may be very American way of thinking but reading your arguments I cant help but think of this quote by Ben Franklin.

            “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

          • Sassenach says:

            I think you need to define essential. Necessity is contingent on the desired outcome, thus there is no absolute necessity. Benjamin Franklin was talking about an insidious wedge, a slippery slope, whereby people respond to demagoguery by surrendering power they should hold onto. This is quite distinct from surrendering liberty because it’s the price necessary to be part of a society.

            I think Mario’s argument boils down to saying that just because it is hard to gauge the correct degree of restriction doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be attempted. In fact I think most of the viewpoints here are not diametrically opposed as their presentation would suggest.

        • zain3000 says:

          And you’re saying that a blanket policy that treats everybody like they are incapable of making mature, reasoned, and logical decisions for themselves is the way to go about creating a harmonious society?

          There are laws in place to keep people from harming each other and taking undue advantage of each other and I am fully in support of those. There’s a reason that drunk driving, negligence and robbery (to name a few examples) are against the law.

          That being said, arbitrary restrictions on expression at best don’t really help anyone (in my original example, people with suicidal tendencies will, unfortunately, continue to possess them regardless of whether or not those stories are covered in the media) and at worst can keep the real issues from coming to light.

          Totalitarian regimes place great penalties on people who do so much as speak their mind all in the name of “the social good of the people”.

          It’s not right in those cases, and it’s not right in this one either.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            “And you’re saying that a blanket policy that treats everybody like they are incapable of making mature, reasoned, and logical decisions for themselves is the way to go about creating a harmonious society?”

            Unfortunately yes. Because, if you notice, we do have relatively harmonious societies with these rules. We may see many faults in these regulations. I certainly do, and this type of censorship always makes my skin crawl. You’ll always have me agreeing there. But our task shouldn’t be just eliminating regulations because we feel they act on us personal at an unfair level. We aren’t the only individual on a society. At best we should agree to their existence and instead fight for them to exist in as agreeable terms with our society cultural and behavioral patterns as possible. As I said before, this imaginary perfect line is indeed difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain. Unfortunately, we do still live on fractured and polarized societies.

            My only complaint here is what I perceived as your stance that your personal rights shouldn’t be infringed because someone else does infringe good rules of conduct in a society. What I’m trying to tell you is that there isn’t a solution to that. There is no way we can apply regulatory measures without them affecting everyone. It’s best to infringe on your personal rights. Our societies have been evolving on this pillar.

            Laws exist at another level. Contrary to what you say, they aren’t preemptive measures. Laws don’t exist to prevent most anything. They at best act as deterrents. Laws are best applied after the fact as both ways to measure the level of misbehavior and due punishment. And yet, they too adapt and evolve as our societies do. They too can be perceived as fair or unfair. They too tend to infringe on your personal rights. So those laws you seem to accept as the only way to control social behavior can in fact be the next target of your complaints. And at the end of the day we’ll live in a lawless society by your own admission.

          • zain3000 says:

            How’s this for the line?

            All individuals are created equally, and as such, should be treated as such. Every individual has the right to pursue and attain their own happiness so long as it does not conflict with the right of any other individual to do so.

            Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where everyone gets along, pulls their own weight, and demands to be judged soley on their own merits and abilities. I’ll concede that point.

            I respect your comments and your stance, but, much like you, this is an issue that I am personally unwiling to budge on.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            And that’s a mighty goal. But that’s it, a goal. Unfortunately we don’t live on societies where we can still apply this to the letter. The majority of human beings at a time or another disrespect that very same principle. Not just governments.

          • darkhog says:

            No, it’s best to NOT infringe on ANYONE’s rights. Even if some people would kill themselves or go postal, so what? People do those things all the time for all kinds of reasons, and frankly best answer to “postality” problem is to make public evidence of firearms with giving clearance for those who need firearms like guards – and only after vast background check and psychological tests.

            We have that in Poland and never, ever there was in my country postal rampage. We don’t have any “regulatory” bodies like Germany or Australia, at least no in regards to games and all games are allowed (PEGI and similar ratings have only advisory effect).

            Censoring games/media is no solution to ANYTHING. I am sure that someone will mod that back in (the mission), if not straight unlock as it was case with Hot Coffee in San Andreas. Why fight it? Also censoring things will only increase piracy – people will just torrent “uncensored” version.

            I’ll tell you a story. My uncle, avid gamer, who spent most of his life in Germany and only recently came back to Poland didn’t buy Wolfenstein3D (that poor excuse of Wolf3D sold in Germany). No, instead he got some friends to mail him uncensored, and, pirated version. Carmageddon? Got uncensored version from Kazaa (when it still was at rage).

            Same thing will happen there. They can’t win, so why they try? I’ll tell you why. Because they are bunch of utter, freaking, morons. That’s it. (/topic)

      • WrenBoy says:

        Your position appears to be that society needs some set of rules to prosper. Therefore when there is doubt it is better to create a seemingly arbitrary rule, which can later be modified, than to do nothing.

        I dont see how one follows from the other to be honest. I would say that, while society should have some rules, the fewer rules are necessary for society to prosper, the better. I say this because I value freedom, both for myself and for others. I dont see how this can reasonably be called an extremist position.

        Therefore when faced with a choice between creating a seemingly arbitrary rule and creating no rule at all, the correct option, all things being equal, is to create no rule at all.

        I would also say that any time someone believes that a rule could be improved that they should consider whether society would be better served if it did not exist.

        Again, while this is the perspective of someone who values freedom rather than authority, I dont see how it can reasonably be characterized as extremist. On the contrary, even from the perspective of someone who prefers tight regulation to freedom, it seems pretty extreme to say that rules are inherently good, therefore the creation of arbitrary rules should be welcomed and that everyone else should just get used to the idea.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          When seen like that, without any other context, you do sound correct. Seems almost tyrannical to assume we need regulation even when we can’t clearly define what and how to regulate it.

          But the world is far less condescending than that and it won’t wait for a clearly defined behavioral pattern, so we can be sure we are doing doing the right regulation. As a norm we do behave on the fringe. Take a look at recent Twitter death and rape threats and verbal abuse against journalists for defending that Jane Austin should be on bills. Twitter regulating this behavior is the expected outcome and what is being called for by twitter users a bit everywhere. Do you subscribe to this regulation? It will for sure affect your freedoms? I mean, we could support the idea that only death and rape threats should be the subject of this regulation, but we know that verbal abuse is also a form of violence and can lead to distress at best and real physical violence at worse. So, it’s to be expected that verbal abuse as a whole should be regulated, which means that most likely your perceived right to call me an asshole on twitter may have to be removed.

          The idea that arbitrary regulation is not a good thing, needs to be looked more carefully. All things being equal, you ask me. Well, all things being equal, a rule is exactly what we need. We are best served with an arbitrary rule, because unfortunately that what our behavior demands. See aforementioned twitter example of how we behave when existing on a unshackled environment.

          I’d like to be on the side of basic freedoms. But it’s not possible when our societies constantly display behavior that requires authority intervention. This is not to say I support the idea of these regulations being unchecked. I do support the idea that we should constantly fight for fairer regulations. What we cannot do is expect we can survive in a society where no regulation is better than arbitrary regulation.

          Both situations are bad. It’s just so happens we have the least of all evils.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Twitter regulating this behavior is the expected outcome and what is being called for by twitter users a bit everywhere. Do you subscribe to this regulation? It will for sure affect your freedoms?

            Im not sure what to make of this. What do you mean by regulation exactly?

            As I understood the story, some people would rather that Twitter streamlined their system for reporting abuse. Whether they do or not does not impact anyones freedom, and its no more regulation than RPS moderating their comment threads.

            You seem to be implying that Twitter itself should be regulated in order to prevent this. This would be a pretty good example of why arbitrary regulation should be avoided. It makes no more sense to do this than it would to similarly regulate telephone companies or the Post. The measures it would take to implement such a regulation would be far more oppressive and omnipresent than the abuse it was attempting to prevent.

            I even heard some people trying to make it illegal to be anonymous online. Again, the cure is far worse than the disease here and is another good argument against arbitrary regulation.

            No new regulation should be introduced as a result of this affair. In fact, it is already far too easy to be locked in a cage for saying something entirely harmless on Twitter (the most obvious example is the guy who jokingly threatened Robin Hood airport). The existing regulation in England should be relaxed rather than tightened.

            I’d like to be on the side of basic freedoms

            Heh, right.

          • Tasloi says:

            “As a norm we do behave on the fringe. Take a look at recent Twitter death and rape threats and verbal abuse against journalists for defending that Jane Austin should be on bills.”

            How many people expressed those threats? A couple dozen? A hundred? How many spoke out against it, signed a petition, brought it to the attention of the MSM? Well over one hundred thousand last I heard. There’s your norm. Focusing on the (perceived) threat of a fringe minority to push through broad regulation is a dangerous road to be on.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            Norm is perhaps the wrong word, I agree. It implies the statistical definition of “norm”. The problem is that we come to expect bad and abusive behavior in non regulated areas of our lives. That’s more the type of “norm” I was referring to.

            The consequences of that bad behavior may be more damaging than the damage to our freedoms were we to regulate those areas. It’s this that should be analysed in deciding to regulate or not. We always seem to eager to defend our freedoms, but our societies have shown time after time that under no regulation we end up abusing other people’s freedoms. So, yeah, I’m for regulatory measures. So, I repeat, I’d like to be on the side of basic freedoms, but I can’t. Not when it becomes clear to anyone with eyes to see that we, as a society, still need a whole lot of evolving to do. Regulation is a necessity and one of the basic foundations of our societies. And arbitrary regulation becomes the least of evils, when considering the alternative of no regulation at all. That’s my… philosophy on the matter.

            This debate started on the idea that we should not regulate if we cannot fully perceive a boundary. I’m here to say that’s a dangerous path, because we can never fully perceive a definite boundary. “Where does one draw the line” is the most common question. But that question is symptomatic of our societies diversity and complexity. We can rarely draw a line, but we have to — like with a mathematical equation — reach an approximation, even if that takes some time and we start far off.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Looking at several of your comments on the topic I can only conclude that you dont know the meaning of the words, “norm”, “arbitrary” or “freedom”.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            You conclude wrong.

          • WrenBoy says:

            As a norm we do behave on the fringe

            Come on. Thats a nonsensical thing to say.

            ar·bi·trar·y
            Adjective
            1. Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
            2. (of power or a ruling body) Unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.

            Thats what you think is vital? Come on.

            I’d like to be on the side of basic freedoms

            Either you are lying or you dont know what freedom means. You certainly dont like it.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            Ugh! Red herring warning.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          Wrong reply. Sorry.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      I can’t even see how suicides are a newsworthy subject. Mostly only really relevant to the people who knew the suicider. Except, of course, when somebody, say, jumps in front of a subway train and blocks traffic for hours…

    • egamruf says:

      You believe that people are in control of their own fates? Notwithstanding that science seems to have been indicating precisely the opposite conclusion? Oh, how innocent you are…

      • WrenBoy says:

        I would disagree that science concludes such a thing.

        Its true that if you define “in control of our fates” tightly enough then it is impossible for anyone to be in control of their fate, given how omnipotent masters of the universe do not exist. Such strict definitions are not normally what people are talking about though.

        • Triangulon says:

          ‘given how the existence of omnipotent masters of the universe have not been scientifically proved (or disproved).’

          Fixed for you:)

    • WrenBoy says:

      On this note, I recently had a discussion with one of my Australian friends who came down on the side of censorship, specifically Australian media self-censorship regarding reporting suicides (apparently due to the copycat suicide phenomena)

      I dont see what your problem is with this. Assuming that it can be shown that reporting on suicides increases the suicide rate then self-censorship appears to be the ideal solution.

      Self censorship is not inherently good but its nothing got to do with freedom of speech. Everyone is free to report it after all, they just decide not to.

    • kevintimewaster says:

      Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Wikileaks… I’m not sure the First Amendment is all it’s cracked up to be.

      That said, as an Australian I’m very disappointed to be missing out on some digitalised anal probing.

  3. Gap Gen says:

    I do understand, though; I visited Australia last year and there were people sprawled out on the pavements in Sydney, completely blorted on extra-terrestrial crack. And don’t get me started on the anal-probe-and-run attacks I witnessed late at night in Melbourne.

  4. Dowr says:

    I think the best (if, most depressing) approach for Deep Silver and Volition is to just ignore Australia and refuse to edit the game for their draconian requirements.

    This will leave Aussie players unhappy, but they must accept that unless they act on this now, their government will continue to treat them like morons and babies.

    • Secundus says:

      wait hold on, we can campaign to our governments to change policies we dont like???????? why didn’t we think of that? thank you, foreigner on rps comment, we’ll be sure to follow your advice.

      • egamruf says:

        Yes, I wonder if he’s from that great nation of stalwarts which advocates the “Page 3″ girl, or if he’s from that bastion of freedom they call the USA, where the government is kind enough to back up all of your files for you with the NSA.

        Why didn’t we just think about having a campaign to get an R18+ rating? Why would we not have considered that might resolve all of this stuff? Oh… wait… we did… I guess what we really need now is an XXX rating, or a review of the legislation.

    • AngoraFish says:

      As an Australian, I heartily agree with these sentiments.

      The ridiculousness of the puritan censorship system must continue to be rubbed in people’s faces if there is to be any serious prospect of a popular campaign succeeding.

      In the interim, I will continue to proxy to the uncensored version.

    • Jackablade says:

      It took over ten years of campaigning to get the gimped R-Rating that we have now. Given the shambles both sides of our governments are in at the moment, I dare say it might take another decade to goad one or other of them into actually making the system vaguely sensible.

    • HTAPAWASO says:

      Unfortunately we have even more depressing things to protest at the moment… like refugees being locked up for daring to seek asylum from the wars we help to propagate. Nobody cares about that… I sincerely doubt anybody will care about SRIV being cut down.

  5. Feartheflames says:

    “seems to be down to removal of both the “alien narcotics” and “Rectifier Probe” weapon.”
    “The rectifier weapon will be available as part of a DLC package as originally intended.”

    Rectifier wasn’t removed. The ACB raised issues with the Rectifier, but they were able to keep it in.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Number of reports suggested the probe was originally also part of the main game, hence the reference to sneaking content back under the radar. You might be right though, based on the wording. Guess we’ll find out once it’s out.

    • JackShandy says:

      So the existence of alien narcotics single-handedly bumped the game up two ratings, to become a product that no adult should be able to see?

  6. I Got Pineapples says:

    It boils down to the two big rules for Australian games are No Drugs May Give A Beneficial Or Positive Effect and No Sexual Violence.

    So no space crack or suprise butt probes for us. Also, no health hookers in GTA on account of the fact that you might hit them with a baseball bat or something afterwards.

    Occasionally it gets a little weird so we’re not allowed to have Marck Ecko’s Shaken Up or whatever it was called.

    • Ansob says:

      Don’t Have Sexual Assault In Your Game is a pretty solid rule that games should have everywhere, not just Australia.

      The drugs stuff only gets daft when they try to block stuff like morphine being used as a painkiller, which of course is secret knowledge that no one will ever know unless they’ve watched any sort of war film or medical program set in the last century or ever suffered an injury serious enough to require something stronger than codeine (including being in surgery).

      • AngoraFish says:

        Until the War on Drugs is called off, and victimless crimes legalised, we’re going to continue to see arbitrariness such as this as one of many incongruous consequences of prohibition.

        Governments simply aren’t comfortable having their failed policies called into question by realistic representations of such activity in video games and popular culture.

        • Ansob says:

          I’m not really seeing what morphine has to do with the war on hash, heroin, cocaine, etc. (other than heroin and morphine being closely related substances).

          • AngoraFish says:

            What part of the game being banned in part due to “elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards” (morphine) don’t you understand? Perhaps you are missing the part where the government does not consider morphine any different than the other drugs you mention?

      • Michael Fogg says:

        Just you wait to be condemned as an enemy of Freedom of Speech…

      • zain3000 says:

        I could not disagree more. Placing arbitrary restrictions on art and entertainment that are voluntarily consumed serves absolutely no purpose other than to limit individual freedom. Sexual assult has been around far longer than games have. As I’ve stated before, at best the ruling accomplishes nothing and at worst it could actually eliminate the dissemination of art that speaks out against the abhorrent act.

        As much as we may find these acts disagreeable (and believe me, I do) censoring them from the public view is not the way to achieve our goals of eradicating them.

        • Ansob says:

          Ah, yes, the age-old “asking people not to be horrible human beings who shlockily exploit sexual assault for a laugh is denying me my freedom of speech!” argument.

          PS: Saint’s Row 4 is not art.

          • Asurmen says:

            Ah, yes, the age old “Strawman” argument.

          • WrenBoy says:

            It uncontroversially is limiting freedom of speech.

            Are you just as outraged every time your local opera house stages Don Giovanni or do you think that only games should be censored?

          • Machinations says:

            Yeah, there is little point attempting to reason with the kinds of people who support censorship. There is no logical rebuttal to the point you just made.

            PS Saints Row 4 IS art, despite your tut tuting and pretentious sense of moral superiority. South Park is of course trash in your view, but again, art. You’re not societies arbiter of what constitutes art. Thanks.

          • Fiyenyaa says:

            Saint’s Row 4 is art.
            It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, it doesn’t matter if I don’t like it, it doesn’t matter if no-one should like it, it doesn’t matter if no-one does like it.
            A cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad is art, a rape-fantasy porno is art, a scribbled drawing of a kid’s house in crayon is art. If it’s bad, if it’s offensive, if it’s morally repugnant, if it’s crude; these things don’t matter. Someone made a piece of media.
            It’s art.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            Bans aren’t “asking.” That’s the whole point of a ban. Otherwise you’d just ask.

            Anyway, uncontroversial speech isn’t the speech that needs protecting. It’s doing just fine.

      • MaXimillion says:

        But having no sexual assault in games would mean such awesome games as Sengoku Rance would never get made. Just because an act is morally wrong doesn’t mean it can’t be used to create good entertainment.

      • mouton says:

        But murder and torture is okay?

        It is all the question of context. Would it be a problem if sexual assault was portrayed as something despicable and/or something we fight against? What if such a portrayal actually contributed to a positive shift in the society or at least in the gaming community?

      • woodsey says:

        “Don’t Have Sexual Assault In Your Game is a pretty solid rule that games should have everywhere, not just Australia.”

        How peculiarly arbitrary.

      • JackShandy says:

        If movies had banned “Implied sexual violence”, Alien and Aliens would not exist. I see no reason why the same rule that banned “Alien Anal probes” wouldn’t apply to them. I think that’s a fair argument for not banning it.

      • WrenBoy says:

        Would you extend this rule to other media, cinema, literature, theater, etc?

        • mouton says:

          No, because they are for adults and games are for children.

          • WrenBoy says:

            This is one of those times when I cant tell whether someone on the internet is being serious or not.

          • Amoral Animal says:

            Not true. SOME games are made for children. SOME games are made for adults. That is why we have a rating system.

      • Tasloi says:

        “Don’t Have Sexual Assault In Your Game is a pretty solid rule that games should have everywhere, not just Australia.”

        Casually blurting out statements like this does infinitely more damage than even a dozen Saints Row type games.

        • jrodman says:

          I think what’s really intended by this comment is something like “no careless sexual violence”.

          Raping people for bonus points would be right out, for example. An optional unlockable weapon that lets you fuck people to death for grins doesn’t seem acceptable either, to me anyway.

          A game that takes the issue of rape head on quite intentionally? I’d like to see it.

          • Tasloi says:

            It’s a clear-cut statement. I don’t consider moving it down a notch to arbitrary obscurities as being much of an improvement. After all, it won’t just magically apply to only the more outrageous examples. Plenty of people considered (and still do) the notable Tomb Raider assault scene to be careless sexual violence so that would have been out aswell. This problem is discussed further by Bookbuster a couple posts down.

          • jrodman says:

            At face value, the statement is indeed ludicrous. That’s why I think it’s natural to assume it wasn’t intended to convey that face-value statement.

            The idea — spelled out in my post– that wonton sexual game violence is not okay, is in fact reasonable. It isn’t uesless, or obscure and there’s no reason for you to discard it in your righteous crusade. It’s just hard to legislate, and probably shouldn’t be.

      • LostInDaJungle says:

        Well, then we should ban if for all media, right?

        Goodbye Pulp Fiction. The same goes for “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, “American Beauty”, “A Clockwork Orange”, “The Accused”, and many other Oscar winning films. I would also assume you mean to broaden this to cover documentaries about sexual abuse? “The Land of Blood”, “The Invisible War” and other such docs?

        And gosh, why is sexual abuse not allowed when you still allow murder? So let’s take murder out of games. And no stealing either. In fact, you shouldn’t be able to get in a car in GTA 5 without your seatbelt buckled, and let’s put a speed limiter on that while were at it.

        You think you’ve said something smart, but this is just plain stupid. Give them the power to censor one thing, and 2 days after the next Sandy Hook, they’ll want to ban any games that have guns.

        Take a personal stand and refuse to buy those games or see those movies, but if you’re asking for a law to determine what you can and can’t see, don’t be surprised when they want to censor something you have no problem with.

  7. Paul says:

    Ah, good ol’ censorship. Gotta love it.

  8. Elementlmage says:

    Hmm, odd that it skipped 2 ranks, even though there were hardly any changes? Seems to me like R18 is just a rating that exists on paper, and the rating board is just unwilling to use it.

    • MeestaNob says:

      Oh they use it, but only for games rated MA15 last year.

    • drewski says:

      Not really. If you made Happy Teletubby Fun Game with generic, 5 year old friendly content in it, but had a minigame where you lit a crack pipe and smoked it to get a free turn, it’d be RC.

      If you took out the mini game, it’d be G (general).

  9. MeestaNob says:

    It’s a real shame that not only are the guidelines by which games are rated totally outdated and nonsensical, but that they are clearly out of step with the wishes of the public. Much as was feared, the new R18 rating will now be used in place of the original MA15, seemingly because they couldn’t justify banning everything in existence – GTA5 will be rated R18 despite being virtually no different from every game before it (and were rated MA15), mind, this is the inverse of the same logic that saw L4D2 banned when almost indistinguishable from the first game…

    You’d be hard pressed to find someone insulted by the Saints Row games, they’re clearly too ridiculous to be taken seriously, it’s a damned shame a frankly silly element of a silly game will be seemingly so arbitrarily targeted for removal.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Changing the rating categories without changing the classification criteria was never going to achieve the outcome that gamers were hoping for.

      Genuine, long term change can only be achieved by arguing in favor of freedom of speech generally, not quibbling over the most suitable class into which different types of speech should be arbitrary classified.

      • LutherBlissett says:

        Pretty sure the ratings thing is only useful for making Mom and Dad think twice before caving to tantrum 12yr old boy who wants to rape and bash prostitutes in GTA. The drug incentive thing is a weird rule though that seems to only be applied to games. Not like there aren’t films and music full of people doing drugs that get the big thumbs up. Mario’s pills are OK but not Morphine – which caused a change in Fallout 3 – I think “Stims” is more keeping with the fictional world anyway.

        • drewski says:

          The Australian Parliaments, who have set the classification guidelines, have decided that interactive content is higher impact, so only obtains a lower level of tolerance.

          The argument is, essentially, that the watcher gets no benefit from seeing Ewan McGregor do heroin; the player gets a benefit (albeit “in game”) from doing X drug; hence it being unallowable.

    • drewski says:

      What unredeemable garbage.

      That vast majority of games that would have got the MA15+ rating are still getting an MA15+ rating.

  10. Tayh says:

    How exactly does it have “no negative impact” if the game is suddenly 20 minutes short of content?

  11. Baal_Sagoth says:

    Germany really hasn’t come down on SR4 yet? That’s actually somewhat strange since SR3 is relatively heavily censored, requires an online check and is even region-locked as far as boxed copies go if I recall correctly. I wanted to give it a shot myself and literally didn’t find any way to do so without going an illegal route or at least breaching Steam’s ToS.
    This absurd, disrespectful garbage really needs to stop but I’ve wasted way too much of my time ranting about the censorship issue already.

    • Subatomic says:

      The German rating organisation doesn’t care that much about sex and/or drugs compared to Australia, so we’ll probably get our usual reduced violence version (the German version of Saints Row 3 diabled some violence against civilians, like using them as human shields), but we’ll at least have all the drugs and anal probing! (not that anybody who cares doesn’t know how to get around silly censorship like that anyway).

      • Baal_Sagoth says:

        Thank god for the anal probing!
        But seriously, you’re correct of course which makes the whole ordeal that much more infuriating to me. In this day and age there’s practically no way to really surpress the spread of digital media reliably (even if they were proven to have massive detrimental effects on people). All measures like that do is fuck with developer’s ability to make money on their products and thus attract them to rather self-censor than not publish at all. Which is a really slimy way of limiting the creative options of media while still maintaining the illusion of avoiding state censorship.

      • Grey Ganado says:

        Deep Silver alredy announced that it will be completely uncensored. Now we only have to hope they didn’t lie.

        • Baal_Sagoth says:

          Interesting, that’s good to hear. I’ll have to say that I was actually surprised when I saw the silly orange box on Steam for SR3. As unfortunate and silly as the cases where there’s still meddling involved are – the situation seems to have gotten a bit better and more reasonable in general.

      • Sir Buildbot Winslave says:

        @subatomic:
        This actually has quite an impact on German’s urban combat skills. Not only don’t they use human shields, but you can effectively gain a 1 round stun effect on an entire group of combatants by grabbing a human shield yourself. You can imagine the balancing issues.

      • drewski says:

        It’s all political. When Mr. Not Watching My Kids Play Games goes to the media and whines about Little Johnny Sociopath playing Bad Games with Drugs In It the government needs to be able to say “well *we* didn’t permit that.”

      • Asdfreak says:

        I don’t think the german version was that strictly censored, and by that I don’t mean that I didn’t think it was that bad it was cut out, but more so that there wasn’t anything cut out. I played the german version completly through and I could take civilians as human shields and kill them arbitrarily and what not, so I don’t get what you are talking about. It was no imported version, or patched or anything like that, just the normal steam version. Since you have to verify that you live in germany everytime you buy something in steam by clicking “herby I confirm that I live in germany” or something like that, and since Steam didn’t seem to have any trouble with this, I think that you can get the uncensored version just normaly here

  12. Orazio Zorzotto says:

    Ugh, this stuff makes me ashamed to live in this country. I will say this though: The R18+ rating has resulted in a much better ratings system overall for games, with games that would previously have been stuck in the MA15+ bracket now being put in their proper place.

    Using illegal drugs with positive effects is really the only remaining barrier in the current system, and one that will no doubt be ironed out eventually.

    All in all, illegal drugs aside, I’m quite happy with our new system. I’ll always prefer it when non-government entities are allowed to handle censorship such as the ESRB, but we’re more forward thinking in many respects. What people from other countries have to grasp is that our ratings system is based on the impact of content, rather than the content itself (hence the banning of L4D2). It’s far more subjective, but it also makes a lot more sense IMO.

    • Bookbuster says:

      Impact is a terrible system to use for classification precisely because it *is* subjective. Something that I consider to be high impact might leave you yawning. Something you consider to be high impact I might find hilarious. I mean, with SR4, it’s been pointed out that the game elements for which it’s been banned – the drug use and the anal probe – have been used in other games that were permitted. And it’s a subversion of the fundemanetal purpose of classification: telling you what something is, in as even-handed and unbiased a way as possible, so you can decide if you want to access it.

      Another thing to consider is that, in our legislation, the supposed ‘impact’ of content in vidya games is automatically considered to be higher than any other medium, because the fact that it’s interactive supposedly gives it greater effect. The problem with that is that there is actual science that shows that this is not the case.

      • Orazio Zorzotto says:

        I absolutely agree with you on the second paragraph. However…

        I am not fundamentally opposed to or afraid of any content in my entertainment. Coarse language, nudity, sex scenes, drug use etc. are all okay by me. Thus, the only purpose of a classification system is for me to decide on what content my theoretical kids are allowed to view. In this circumstance knowing something’s impact is far more useful than the alternative. I don’t really care if my theoretical 8 year old kid hears fuck as long as it’s in the right context.

        Take LFD2 as an example. The ratings board decided that murdering zombies with melee weapons as opposed to silly videogame guns raised the impact of the violence from an MA to an R, and rightly so. Same content,, different context. Yes, it’ subjective, but so is all classification. At least this is being honest about it.

      • drewski says:

        Oh? What was the game that got released in Australia with player controlled “anal probing”?

    • FriendlyFire says:

      The problem with that logic is that you could see someone consider swearing as being impactful, whereas another person wouldn’t be moved by the worst drunken sailor ever to have lived. Likewise, someone could find a naked ankle too much, whereas people go almost nude on the beach as part of normal life.

      It’s extremely precarious to base a rating for millions of people based off the purely subjective opinion of a select few.

      • Orazio Zorzotto says:

        This is a problem with all classification, not just impact based ones. Example: America’s absolute disdain for the human body, which is reflected in their classification systems.

        Obviously I’m being a smart alek but you hopefully get my point.

  13. Kong says:

    “they made us wear uniform and murder other people, put they did not allow us to watch movies which showed a kissing couple because we were too young for that.”
    My grandfather could never understand that. He took me to movies for which I was way too young.

    Governments wich regulate entertainment are highly suspicious. Germany may not allow swastikas in computer games, while we must suspect that many neonazis work in government agencies.
    German regulatory board dislikes violence. What has more impact on citizen’s morale/psyche? Violence in entertainment or the actual murder of enemies, the bombing of civilians, men women and children.
    Watch out, the spectre of fascism looms over all of us all of the time.

  14. Bookbuster says:

    Unfortunately, the media classification system in Australia is horrendously complex and outdated. It’s not helped by the facts that Australians don’t actually have any right to free speech, and that media classification, over the last forty years or more, has been used as a method of the government of the day buying the votes of conservative independant senators (Brian Harradine springs to mind). And the government also has a long and storied history of ignoring the populace outright when it says it wants less onerous censorship. We recently had a review into media classification (above and beyond the R18+ issue) conducted by our premiere law reform body, largely driven by the government’s desire to address opposition to mandatory internet filtering (it thankfully failed). Despite recieving the most most number of submissions to the review group in the history of such reviews, it was rushed to completion and appears to have now sunk without a trace. It also completely refused to make reccomendations on the hard issues.

    The campaign for an R18+ rating for games was at once very savy and very stupid. The savy part was co-opting the wowser’s ‘think of the children’ argument and creating a narrative based around keeping adult games out of the hands of minors. The stupid part of it was that, in doing so, they let the other narrative – that adults should be able to see, hear and play what they want – vanish from the discussion.

  15. cptgone says:

    few things are as despicable as censorship and as stupid as the war on drugs.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      I respectfully advance something called a “Snooki” for your consideration.

      • frightlever says:

        Snooki’s cute and rich. What’s not to love? People “hate” people far too readily these days.

        Unrelated to the above, is “fascism” an acceptable tag?

  16. TheJagji says:

    Quote from Article: “You just can’t stop the twists and turns in the Saints Row 4 classification story. After being refused twice on different builds of the game a third and final submission has been made.”

    Not quite shore where you got that info from….

    Yes, i went though twice, but not on different build. We have 2 classification boards here in Aus. The first one says ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay’ to it. Simple. But then, if there is a big enough uproar by the population (eg:aussy gamers) then the second board, know as the review board, looks at the same content a second time. THIS is what happened. There was no edit until the third time, where the Classification Board rated it MA15+.

    • drewski says:

      Uproar has nothing to do with it – the publisher of the content, or one of the Attorneys General, are the only people who can request the Classification Board review a decision.

      • drinniol says:

        RPS – please start putting the facts about the ACB in these articles to cut down on uninformed opinions.

        The guidelines are not some arcane complex bureaucratic mystery. You can read them here; http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2012L01934

        They are almost binary in application. It should not come as a surprise to any developers.

        The campaign to get an R18+ classification was a separate issue to drug use portrayal being refused classification automatically. It’s not some horrendously complex issue. Granted it’s a bit daft but it’s the law.

        There are restrictions on depicting drug use in every type of publication. It is not games being targeted unfairly but rather the status quo, related to the stigma of drug use in the country, so it will take more than gamers complaining to get things changed.

        -Edit – I’m not saying the gentlemen I’ve replied to are uninformed!

  17. d1a2n says:

    *sigh*

    Now I have to pirate the game so I can actually play the whole thing.

  18. PopeRatzo says:

    This better not mean that I won’t get the alien rectal probe gun here in the US. Goddamit, my forefathers fought and died so that I can play a video game where I get to launch people into the air by sticking something up their butts.

    Give me alien butt guns or give me death!

  19. CutieKnucklePie says:

    Look for a spike in torrents for Saints Row IV US version in the near future coming from Australia.