Well, this is certainly an eye-opener.
Tipster Mick managed to get his hands on the Office of Film & Literature Classification’s report for Grand Theft Auto IV. It’s not very large at three pages, but it’s more than enough for us to find out what we want to know.
Firstly, the violence. The OFLC doesn’t see it as anything out of the ordinary for the MA15+ rating, describing it as “hand to hand combat (basic punching and kicking) [that]more regularly involves use of various weapons”. It does make particular mention of what you can do to corpses: “Blood pooling occurs under bodies that are shot at after death however no post mortem damage (such as decapitation or dismemberment) is possible”. You’ll remember that it was decapitation and dismemberment that got Soldier of Fortune: Payback and Dark Sector in trouble with the board. There’s also a few words given to the “ability of the player to set an enemy alight causing them to burn”, though it notes that this is infrequent.
The board marked the usage of the words “fuck”, and a lot less frequently, “cunt”. It also talks of a cut scene where a drug dealer “is depicted implicitly, then explicitly, snorting lines of white powder (implied to be cocaine) from a table”.
It also looks like prostitution got through unscathed, with the OFLC stating “when picking up a prostitute, the player is depicted in a car where he parks and honks the horn. The woman enters the car and the camera angle switches to the view of the number plate. While the car is visibly moving up and down, only audio cues are heard”.
Fascinating, indeed, but what is more interesting is what the report doesn’t mention.Yes, it’s that scene that was rumoured to have been removed from our version of the game before the OFLC could see it. The scene is more than explicit enough that Rockstar would have been forced to show it as part of the sample of the most extreme and questionable sections of the game. Since we posted the rumour, Rockstar has broken its silence and stated it as “untrue”, yet the report quite clearly contradicts this.
In fact, the words “anus”, “bum, “butt” or “buttocks” don’t appear at all. Neither does “sodomise”. So if the board didn’t see it, where did it go?
Don’t you think it’s about time the publisher was honest with us?
UPDATE: Another possibility is that the scene itself was cut from or not present in any edition, and hence what Rockstar meant about it being untrue. Sadly, it wasn’t very specific at all on this point and has so far been unwilling to reply to my request for more detail. We may just have to wait until enough people have played the game here and overseas to narrow down what was cut.