The lights are on
On January 1, 2013, Australian gamers celebrated the new year and a new era in gaming down under. On that day, the country's Federal Parliament added a new rating (R18+) that would pave the way for titles like Grand Theft Auto and other mature, adult-targeted games. Imagine our surprise when we found out that Saints Row IV was refused classification today.
We've played Saints Row IV. It's absurd. There is nudity. I punched someone "down under" (not to be confused with the nickname for Australia). The very first title approved under this rating was the blood-soaked Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge. Since then, God of War: Ascension (of Bros before Hos fame), Metro: Last Light, Dead Island Riptide, and Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition have all squeaked by with the R18+ mark.
There seems to be little rhyme or reason to prohibiting Saints Row IV (maybe it's all the glorious f-bombs?) .According to a release issued by the Classification Board, the reasoning is related to " visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context" and rewards tied to drug use.
That said, it probably isn't the worst thing for Deep Silver. What happens when you dangle something out of reach? People want it that much more.
And the good news is that, they're going to get it. Deep Silver shared this statement with Game Informer.
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.
Will this tone down the absurdity? No. Will this remove the dubstep gun? Only if the Australian government hates hilarious things. Will this maybe snip out a bit of foul language and some superfluous nudity that doesn't really add much? Perhaps.
The important thing is that Australian gamers will get a chance to play Saints Row IV. Based on my hands on time and Dan Ryckert's previews from PAX East and E3 2013, that's the important part.
You'll be able to find out for yourself on August 20, when the President of the United Saints arrives in stores for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.