Final Decision Made On Saints Row 4

After being refused classification, then re-submitted to the Review Board, the Classification Board has reached a final verdict on the local fate of Saints Row 4.

As put by the CEO of IGEA, Ron Curry:

And in the words of the Classification Board:

In the Review Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.

The original classification was put in place both because of an "alien anal probe" - a weapon that the Board deemed too close to sexual assault - and drugs with positive effects, which are a major stickler for many ratings systems around the world. Being rewarding for drug use was always the more likely of the two to cause a RC rating (and a more easily defined, black & white rule), and judging by the above quote, it looks like that's the main point the Review Board took issue with.

There is also a "safe" version of Saints Row 4 being submitted, after Deep Silver said they were “reworking some of the code to create a version of the game for this territory by removing the content which could cause offence”. It now looks as though that's the only way Australians will be able to play the game, barring extralegal means.

The full statement is available on the Classification Board website.


Comments

    Should have changed it to alien supplements instead of alien drugs.

      Or "prescription medication."

        Do you have a prescription for that? Because if not that's illegal and you really should consult your GP before use

          http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/australian-government-classification-board-to-remove-the-restrictions-against-the-sales-of-saints-row-4-in-australia

          plz sign

    I will let everyone else get worked up over this and I will be getting any RC games from the UK or US. I have no more energy for taking a stand or making our voices count or whatever.

      Between censorship and higher prices... Why not just import all our games?

        Heh. Some of us do. Can't wait til retail crashes completely and everyone runs around crying that we weren't buying locally, and trying to understand what went wrong.

        ...Those fuckwits.

    I don't much care, as long as the game gets released, I'm sure some legend will make a mod for PC that brings back all the removed content.

      you missed the part where it wont be for sale in Australia at all.....

        and you missed the part where a 'safe' version is being submitted to the review board.

          yeah, but who wants to play a safe version? Ridiculous.

        Not being for sale in australia didnt stop me getting the uncensored L4D2, it sure wont stop me with saints row (steam gifting woo)

        and you missed the part where they invented the internet, VPNs and digital distribution

    WON'T SOMEBODY THING OF THE CHILDR.... oh wait they refused it :( dammit

    Its Mortal Kombat situation all over again. Hello 2011 . We missed you

      Except there's no shining light at the end of the R rated tunnel.

      There's just importing illegally.

        Importing RC material isn't illegal, except in WA and NT.

          I know people want to get pissy on technicalities, but it's RC, you can get in trouble for importing it.

          In Queensland, you can posess RC games if you aren’t going to sell them or exhibit it in a public place. However, importing them IS illegal. So it's very... wierd. If you do manage to get hold of them legally, you can own them.

          http://treatuslikeadults.wordpress.com/refused-classification-demystified/

          "Can I import something that is banned in Australia?
          In short, no. If a film, computer game or publication has been classified RC (Refused Classification), or would be classified RC, it can be seized by Customs on the basis that it is a prohibited import. You should check the National Classification Database (NCD) to see if the product you plan on importing has been classified RC. "

          http://www.classification.gov.au/Guidelines/Pages/FAQ-import-export.aspx#imp-banned

            I suppose as a level of technicalities, yes, customs could seize a physical imported RC game or film, but in practice they rarely (if ever) check imported software. I'm interested to know what the legal definition of 'import' actually is - does it include, for example, items in carry-on luggage or worn on a person?

            In any case, the restriction is incapable of applying to digital imports, which in hindsight is more what I meant when I said 'importing'. You're right, it's an unusual set of laws, and wholly unnecessary.

            Just ask your overseas seller to giftwrao it. Often customs will just xray it and see it's a disc and not open it (due to the wrapping damage), had a friend get half a dozen banned games that way

            Last edited 30/07/13 3:32 pm

        dont worry, its not importing if you download it digitally

        because our australian data packets are different to US ones

          Yeah, Im gonna get a friend overseas to gift it to me :D

    I feel so much safer knowing that a game that rewards and promotes drug use is banned (not).

    Ozgameshop.com it is then

      I feel so much safer knowing that a game that rewards and promotes drug use is banned (not).

      But I can play Saints Row part 1 all the time legally and you do ALL this in it!!!

        I have not played SR1 or any SR game. Are the drugs linked to a reward in any way? If not, that is why it wasn't RC'd

          I think smoking weed in SR1 & 2 gives you extra damage resistance for a short period.

          Alcohol and pot gave you extra abilities, damage resistance and energy in part 1. So yep :D

            actually the drugs and alcohol did nothing in SR1 & 2.
            there were no gameplay benefits when suing them, except the screen would haze, or smoke, and that was about it.

              That's incorrect, the drugs had very specific benefits in SR1:

              Food restores Health, and can be used as a last resort when the player cannot stop to regenerate health or call an ambulance.

              Booze increases the unarmed attack power of the player, while also affecting their ability to drive. One cosmetic effect is a distorted, rippling, screen. When too much alcohol is taken the player will vomit.

              Weed increase damage resistance, and create a distorted, clouded view. The effect of too much drugs is a coughing fit, which is shorter than vomiting, but immediately afterward, the player is unable to sprint.

              It is only possible to carry 4 items in the Food/Drug inventory at once. When using Food items the player will go through an eating animation but this can be halted to the player shoots or Sprints.

              Last edited 29/07/13 11:45 pm

                Yup, & it's the same for SR2. They got rid all that in SR3, but your health regens quicker to kinda counter that. I think I prefer SR 1/2's way personally.

                  Same. Regenerating health ruined part of it for me, but then, with the absolute *chaos* that SR3 compared to 1 and 2, I understood why the regen health was necessary lol. There was hardly any way you'd survive without it.

                  Haha, that's true. I never really thought about that, it works out for the most part. Though there were times in SR3 where I was about to die, wishing I could just eat a "Fist" burger to boost my health. :P

                I'm really glad you raised this point, I've been thinking that the whole time this has been going on, me and my co op buddy would always meet up in ridiculous modded cars, stand around smoking spliffs and downing beers while deciding what to do. Just like i was surprised Mortal Kombat was refused classification considering the previous MKs on the Wii had motion controls and you actually did the actions of ripping off heads or limbs and swung your arms violently around, they should have made a decoy game like what Manhunt was for Rockstar, always saw the Manhunt games as more of a "look over here while our latest GTA sneaks past behind you".

                  *prays for Manhunts 3... knows it wont ever happen*

    Well I guess when aliens do invade the Earth, Australia will be the only safe haven while the rest of the world is hooked and enslaved on those alien narcotics that SR4 taught them to use.

      There may be less drugs, but without any forewarning to the dangers there'll be a lot more anal probing going on. Personally, I'd prefer the space crack.

        Not sure which part "space crack" is referring to.

    Prelim information says that this is just a re-review of the game in it's original form, and there's "no word on the re-submitted version": http://i.imgur.com/FmB7EcR.png

    Thank god the classification board is there to protect us from the terrors of drug use, now if you'll excuse me I'm going to watch some more Breaking Bad.

      To be fair, that's not the same at all. The issue isn't drugs, but rewarding drug use. The drugs in Breaking Bad are hardly shown in a positive light.

        Step 1: Watch Breaking Bad
        Step 2: start cooking meth
        Step 3: ???????
        Step 4: Profit

      You don't even have to go international. Pretty much every critically acclaimed Australian crime drama makes dealing drugs look awesome. The formula is 110 minutes of crime is freakin' sweet and 10 minutes of some bastard cop shooting them (or if he's a likable cop he breaks the rules to shoot them).
      Bugs me to no end that we have to fight for adults to be able to play video games or smoke a cigarette in a bar yet Chopper is a national treasure.

    Just replace the alien "narcotic" with alien "herbal" tea, and let people infer what they will.

    My "final decision" about SR4 was made months ago: import

      i was goign to do that before it got banned, its much cheaper that way

        Thanks to Kotaku, there is no reason for me to buy games locally. It is "legally unfeasible" for me to do so: http://www.kotaku.com.au/2013/07/it-pricing-enquiry-no-evidence-for-higher-costs-on-digital-games/
        Why should I give money back to this country when I feel I'm getting punished for doing so?

        So was I. I made that decision months ago :p

        That is my default decision :D

    Oh gods yes. Keep up the commentary. Your tears only feed me and make me stronger.

    There's nothing like watching those who thoroughly misunderstand the purpose of our ratings system, even after we fought so hard for the R18 rating.

    I agreed with the board's decision the first time around, because they were doing their job with the guidelines they had (As broken as those guidelines are).

    This time though, it's ridiculous. State of Decay was banned for drug use, they edited the game changing Stimulants to Supplements, resubmitted and got an R18 rating.

    Deep Silver made similar changes to their content and yet their RC still stands. Consistency OFLC, consistency is all we're after.

    edit: turns out this is a review on the original RC, this is not based on a resubmitted version: http://i.imgur.com/FmB7EcR.png

    Last edited 29/07/13 5:50 pm

    In my humble opinion Saints Row 3 was idiotic crap. I understand adults should have the right to play idiotic crap, but since most idiot parents let their kids play this crap, guess I'm happier it's not coming here.

      Define 'idiot crap' because that's what I say about the Call of Duty games, and SR3 was nothing like CoD.

      Probably why I liked it so much, actually.

        "Since time immemorial, great leaders have risen from humble beginnings to .. do shit" - Saints Row 3 intro

        It's just way too bro-ish for me. I see it like 'Ow my balls' the video game. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_4jrMwvZ2A)

        As I said, you have the right to do dumb shit with your time, it just feels like Australia will be .0001% smarter without this crap. I guess I'm more confused that adults enjoy this.

          'Ow my balls' is probably more accurate a description than you realise. It picks on the people who sit around watching America's Funniest Home Videos similar to Homer Simpson's "Dog on fire! Dog on fire!" bit. Saints Row does the same thing with it's ridiculousness.
          Originally Saints Row was a GTA knock-off featuring gang content as imagined by a rich, white 12 year old. It's debatable, but they appeared to be taking themselves seriously back then. Saints Row 2 was essentially a parody of what they were attempting in Saints Row. Since then it's just been a comedy that both appeals to and mocks fans of the genre.
          Sort of like how RoboCop has all this commentary and tongue in cheek stuff about the impact of ultra violent cinema on society, while still being highly appealing to the people who love those sorts of movies.

          On top of that the gameplay is just brilliant. There are so many little things like scoring points for the way you drive that make it a top notch open world mayhem driven game. It's what GTA used to be back in the Kill Frenzy!/Gouranga era before they decided they were making fine art.

            My problem with SR3 was that it was TOO over the top.

            SR2 was like a ZAZ or Mel Brooks parody film; Funny, making fun of the source material, but ultimately still a well-made game with a good mix of seriousness(?) and comedy.

            SR3 is like a Wayans Brother's parody film; non stop parody until it becomes tedious.

              I can understand that. Personally Saints Row 2 is my favourite. I still enjoyed Saints Row The Third (I think I've got 100% on Steam and XBOX 360), but I play it for the game play and just sort of chuckle at the stupidity of the story. The story could fall to absolute madness in Saints Row IV but that 'just call up and get the helicopter or tank you've got stored in your garage delivered right to you' philosophy will continue to make the game worth playing.

          .0001% is negligible, id much rather be 0.0001% dumber and be having the time of my life in SR4 while you sit with content with your 0.0001% smartness.

      Your kids aren't my problem. I like to have a drink or two some Friday nights. Teenagers like to binge drink. The solution to the latter isn't to ban the former.

    This Vote means nothing, if people want to play the full version - Oh look, Online ordering is a thing. Play-asia.com/Ebay.com. Ill just import it from the UK.

      Or, unfortunately, piracy.

      People often justify their piracy via censorship. Especially when it comes to games.

    Alrighty everybody, back to the importing days. Looks like this is going to be one of those battles that we won't win until the older generation totally buggers off from places of authority and we can set a new set of guidelines without them being blocked.

    Last edited 29/07/13 7:37 pm

      Sadly that won't do it. The groups that block progress in these sorts of areas will continue to exist. It's hard to picture the people you went to high school with being part of those groups but the second some of them have kids they'll want to protect them, and for some people that translates to 'close the border, ban cigarettes/alcohol/porn and censor everything else'.
      There's also people who are just plain scared. I remember being 22 and seeing people my age who were scared to death of teenagers. They'd see someone literally three years younger than us and they'd cross the street.
      Then obviously there's the religious types who take the rules they live by (or more often the vibe of the rules they live by) and feel the need to push everyone onto the path, even though half the time their religion doesn't actually endorse doing that.

      Really when you stop and think about it do these old people represent their generation well at all?

    when will an age limit be slapped on itunes? Loads of rappers sing about drugs

    Whilst I am not really that interested in this game tbh, Deep Silver really should consider NOT issuing a 'safe' version for a third time easy pass(?) as it would seem nothing more than bowing to the classifiers control of censorship. If this does happen, then perhaps there is possibility of there being each time a game comes along that breaches what should otherwise be an R rated game for adults, the board can all too easily assume content 'they' don't like or approve can in fact (and will) be altered for protective convenience.

    I'm sure the real reason this was refused classification was because it's a shit game. The Classification board probably saved us some money.

    This is going to be like Mortal Kombat all over again, most people will attempt to import it and the local retail market is going to suffer for it. The Australian Government can try to block whatever they want, but most "hardcore" gamers are a tenacious sort, they will find a way to get what they want and the only people really suffering are the local Australian retailers.

      What happened with Mortal Kombat was a focused flash pan of reaction held in the hand of an audience that was mountingly frustrated with an outdated system. The current decision barely contains a fraction of the pressure that was felt in the circumstances back then.
      If anything, some Australian gamers will be unhappy that they are told not to wield a darkly comedic weapon that anally rapes and murders people - some may even be so upset as to affect a meta diatribe that brings the game into a brilliant satirical social commentary - which will spur them to import the uncensored game in all its glory. Everyone else will buy the censored version or move onto another game.

      As a closing point, I can see that a lot of Australian gamers disagree with the handling of the guidelines for R18+ and they feel there needs to be some change; this is not the game, this is not the weapon, and these are not the drugs that we should want to don as our best suit for fronting the rest of the Australian public when we say "Gaming is a medium that is mature enough to have ratings guidelines that are on par with the international standards of the American ESRB and European PEGI".

        You're right. We may yet need to gather our strength in numbers for GTA V. Seriously, it's out in 8 weeks and no word on a rating yet.

        The problem is when you fight censorship you have to fight for the stuff like this or else you end up only changing the boundaries of the system like we did last time. These are the things that best achieve the goal because Saints Row IV has no redeeming features. You can't argue it's art, you can't argue it has social value, you have to just stick to the core argument that it's not ok to tell adults what they can and can't play.

        Think of it this way, you don't argue that pornography is ok using nudity in critically acclaimed dramatic movies. If you do that you just end up with ridiculous rules saying 'well, you can have naked actors, but you can't show a fully erect penis or penetration, and only for five minutes of total screen time, and only if the script is really good'.
        You've just got to go all in and say "I'm an adult, I should be allowed to watch two consenting adults pee on each other if I ever decide I want to". It sucks because the instant you say that people assume you must be a pervert who actually wants to watch it, but I'd rather be known as a pervert than live under a system where 'fetish' material is banned.

          This guy gets it. Don't argue semantics, it's up to the individual what he or she wishes to view, within legal means of course and by that I mean within laws that make sense, underage sex etc, not this 'oh that game's offensive' nonsense.

          Last edited 30/07/13 3:42 pm

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