After initially receiving an MA15+ classification in September 2013, Ubisoft had Watch Dogs re-classified by the Australian Classification Board. After consideration the Board decided to bump Watch Dogs' classification to R18+. We can now reveal the reasons for this decision.
According to the report, implied sexual violence was the reason for the R18+ classification.
"The game contains references to sexual violence that cannot be accommodated in the MA15+ classification category, which states that "sexual violence, implied or otherwise, is not permitted"," the report reads.
The report makes specific reference to one scene dealing with human trafficking. One character inspects the women, feeling her breasts and "spreading her legs" before pulling a nearby character into a room, where the presumption is — as shown by a later scene — that she is then sexually abused.
"The room is set up with video cameras and filming equipment and as the male moves away from the bed several blood spots are visible on the bed sheets," states the report. "On-screen text identifies the woman as a nineteen year old, Romanian immigrant."
After attempting to obtain a copy of the report earlier last week, we were informed that Ubisoft had asked the Classification Board to refrain from releasing it until 17 March for "commercial reasons".
The Board's report makes specific reference to new, previously unseen elements in the game.
"A version of this computer game has been previously classified MA15+ (with consumer advice of strong themes and violence, gaming experience ay change online) on September 13th 2013," the report states. "In the board's opinion the modifications to this game contain classifiable elements that alter this classification and exceed a strong impact level."
Ubisoft confirmed to Kotaku that these new elements were added after the delay.
"The entire development team has been working hard to polish and fine tune Watch Dogs in order to deliver a truly memorable open world game," explained Ubisoft. "In parallel, the extra time also allowed the team to include a bit of additional content. As per Australian classification guidelines, Ubisoft resubmitted the updated version with the added content to the Australian Classification Board (ACB). The decision to amend the rating of the game from MA15+ to R18+ was made by the ACB."