Breaking: Saints Row IV Has Been Refused Classification

Breaking: Saints Row IV Has Been Refused Classification

Count this as a headline I never thought I’d have to write again, but Saints Row IV has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board.

“The Acting Director of the Classification Board, Mr Donald McDonald announced today that Saints Row IV was the first computer game in Australia to be Refused Classification under the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games that commenced on 1 January 2013,” read a statement posted on the Classification Board’s website.

According to the board, the rating was a result of sexual violence.

“In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context,” a press release explained. “In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.”

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think we would ever be in this position again. Despite Australia being in possession of a full R18+ rating a game that will be available in other territories will not be available in Australia.

We’ve gotten in contact with the local Australian representatives for Saints Row IV and will update when we learn more.

UPDATE: Head here for the iGEA’s response.

UPDATE 2: Deep Silver is planning to resubmit a modified version of Saints Row IV.

Via AusVGClassifications


  • I wondered how long it would take for the classification board to say, “Okay, band-aid solution worked. People who wanted it have shut up, lets get back to controlling adult content.”

    • time to kill the igea board and replace it with PEGI and time to kill julia gillard

      • Yeah, you show them that video game violence has no effect on players. Fight the good fight.

        • Yep, because there are so many gun massacres in S Korea and Japan, where there’s far more gaming going on than in the US or here.

  • Wow… so much for being able to make an adult choice about the kinds of things I play.

    • Forcing Sexual intercourse onto a character is not the kind of thing that you should get to make a choice on… If you want to have the choice to anally rape someone then you have an issue buddy

    • GTAV ban incoming; they probably wouldn’t stand having that widely popular game endorsing crime in Australia again. People obviously see this game as real, even the people who don’t believe it’s real do to a degree, better ban it… ? Anyone happen to see the failure of logic here. The people who play games having the higher degree of common sense in these issues. Que endless cycle of politicians reinforcing their out of touch and misguided principles.

    • We always knew that, though. It was pretty clear from the R18+ discussions that the level of content allowed wasn’t going to increase substantially.

      The R18+ rating has definitely been an improvement, and it’s at least providing a proper representation of the content in the games in question, as opposed to them just being labelled MA.

    • No, that’s not true.
      We do have a bonafide R18+, but the limitations on this do not extend to sexual violence, as they shouldn’t.
      Now that precedent has been set, if you feel strongly enough about Saints Row 4, go start a political party and do something about it… Or you could just whinge incessantly online and put your ignorance of the rating system out in the public eye for all to see.

      • Agree with you 100%, we’ve already seen a handful or releases here that wouldn’t have made it though the censors previously.
        Calling it “rebadged MA15+” is just throwing a tantrum, that’s clearly not what we’ve received so far.

        The R18+ legislation has (AND SHOULD) always contained provisions allowing the banning of extreme material, we have legislation recognising gaming as an adult pursuit and while I can’t comment on whatever has tipped Saints Row over the edge (having not played the game), images of “sexual violence” are always going to be contentious.

        It is what it is, I’m not getting too upset about it. I’ve seen some REALLY offensive stuff in games over the years and while I almost always find it funny I’m not going to have a cry about the lack of higher levels of “sexual violence” in games. No matter what we do there’s always going to be a developer who wants to push things too far, there’s always going to be a classification board with the occasional member who is overly conservative and there’s always going to be gamers who think we should be allowed to go far beyond what reasonable standards would dictate.

        You guys can get upset if you want, that’s your prerogative if you feel that as adults you aren’t given sufficient choice or access to “adult” material, but I’m out. The line exists, it should exist and I can deal with it where it is.

        • buy it overseas from, simple, get the UK version, and everyone is happy, all AUSTRALIA is doing is losing sales because of this.

    • Typical Australian Government, putting the spin on things to make it look good.

  • Great, back to square one, i thought this country had matured but is now still the same old country as before.

    Thank fuck i didn’t have this on pre-order.

    • Really? cause you would enjoy the game so much more by anally raping people? Not being able to do this is enough to warrant not buying this game??

      You sir are the reason the classification board exists…

  • Seriously ACB what the fuck?

    I can’t imagine volition would have gone any further in that regard as opposed to SR3, and you guys rated that MA!

  • I think the real tragedy here is that a man has lived his whole life with the name Donald McDonald.

      • LMAO. This is the only possible way the original comment could have been made funnier. Good job.

      • well of course he is
        Quoted from Wikipedia: “In Japan, Ronald McDonald is called Donald McDonald due to a lack of a clear “r” sound in Japanese.”

        if, ronald mcdonald is a shootable cameo in the game, i reccommend to australian importers that they get the japanese version

    • Damnit! Beat me to it Trjn… Not sure what’s more of a joke, refused classification considering SR3 was pretty over-the-top OR Mr Donald McDonald’s birthname. What were his parents thinking?!?

    • Somebody please explain to me why we’re still allowing dinosaurs to set public policy?

  • Didn’t we setup this new classification system specifically for games like this? Pretty pathetic to be honest.

    • No, we amended the classification system to include an R18+ rating to include the type of graphic violence often seen in modern videogames.
      We did not amend it to include sexual violence of any sort, as was made clear in the many, many reviews of the language used when the newly amended classification was being introduced.

      • It doesnt have sexual violence tho, it’s just implied, surely that is borderline and whats with all this drug stuff, surely we see all this and worse in movies.

        • exactly, and this is where the inconsistency lies. Movies and printed media get away with far more than the limitations imposed on video games. I have to think that it is at least partially due to the perception of games are an immature media, despite MA or R ratings.

        • Implied? You think this is implied?


          The game includes a weapon referred to by the Applicant as an “Alien Anal Probe”. The Applicant states that this weapon can be “shoved into enemy’s backsides”. The lower half of the weapon resembles a sword hilt and the upper part contains prong-like appendages which circle around what appears to be a large dildo which runs down the centre of the weapon. When using this weapon the player approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the weapon between the victim’s legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air. After the probe has been implicitly inserted into the victim’s anus the area around their buttocks becomes pixelated highlighting that the aim of the weapon is to penetrate the victim’s anus. The weapon can be used during gameplay on enemy characters or civilians. In the Board’s opinion, a weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context and as such the game should be Refused Classification.


          If that’s what you think is implied, I’d hate to hear what you think is graphic sexual violence.

      • So are you suggesting that killing someone in cold blood with a gun is “less of an offence” than raping someone? Which by all accounts we don’t even know if that’s the case in this.

        And sorry, but if you think anyone over the age of 18+ that hasn’t tried drugs, thinks they are going to try them for the first time over a video game, then you’re sorely out of touch with today’s society. People know full and well before the age of 18+ whether they are going to do drugs or not.

        • As an accepted social standard for entertainment…… yes.

          As a society we are FAR more accustomed to violence in entertainment then we are sex and particularly sexualised violence, but the two things cause VERY different reactions in people when exposed to them.

          Without getting too creepy about it I’d have to say that if I’m seeing a hot naked girl having sex on the screen my urge to recreate that kind of act is a billion times stronger than if I’m watching a Rocky movie and I get the sudden urge to punch someone on the face (which I do).

          Nobody’s saying that killing someone is less of an offence than raping someone, it’s a common sense acknowledgement that exposing someone to sexualised imagery is far more likely to elicit an emotional (and physical) response in a person that they feel compelled to act on. When you combine sex and criminal acts (violence, abuse of children) then you run a genuine risk of pushing a particularly unbalanced individual over the edge.

      • The drug use is certainly a double standard. That shit is rampant in other media. There are whole movies about taking drugs. Good movies, with worthwhile stories to tell (requiem for a dream, trainspotting, etc etc).

        • It’s not tied to rewards, though. In games drugs often provide you with a boost, implying that “taking drugs makes you better”.

          I can’t think of many movies where that’s the case, even when they do improve performance it’s usually the villain using them and the hero overcomes them through good old-fashioned heart and determination.

          • Arguably, drugs do make you better. Drugs do produce desirable results (in the short term, at least).
            This is not a secret, even though people would like to keep it that way.
            Drug use (in games) is completely safe and has no proven correlation to any sort of real world behaviour (much like video game violence)

  • I can’t believe that we’re doing this again. Unreal.

    Thank god for steam and US buyers, I guess.

  • “I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    As an avid and self-proclaimed GTA fanboy, I often run into instances against people who prefer Saints Row, but this is just wrong. This is absolutely ridiculous, what was the point. All the stupidity and low brow toilet humour of the Saints Row franchise and how bastardised it has become annoyed me to no end, but it still has the right to exist and be allowed for those who want it. Seriously hoping Volition/Deep Silver (?) try and appeal this because this is beyond ridiculous. This just leaves me speechless.

    • Please tell me more about how stupidity and toilet humour is completely missing from GTA games…

  • It’s hard to see where the ACB was coming from when it banned Saints Row 4. Considering that Saints Row 3 got through with a MA15+ considering that it had a giant dildo, naked drug trip and soliciting prostitution.

    So this to get banned must have included some rather questionable content.

    Also, why do my comments always have to be moderator approved?

    • Also, why do my comments always have to be moderator approved?

      lol, you’re clearly a dodgy bastard

  • Hate to say this openly, but I guess I’ll just pirate the shit out of this if that’s the case…

    • Already forgotten how we used to get around this? Buy online or if you’re using Steam, get a key from a non-Aussie retailer.

        • Also with saints row 3 there was no region locking on the key so you could buy the Russian version on day one for 15 bucks and it worked worldwide.

          I had preordered it from GMG for the bonus content but these days I think they will force the AU version on us.

          • Yeah GMG do, seeing as they went all AU discount (good thing) and had regional versions now to coincide with STEAM (bad thing)

    • That’s only hurting the developers and they aren’t the ones at fault here.

      • I know I know… reactionary comment. I’ll buy it… I’ve bought the last 3 🙂

        • Yeah, I had a similar reaction for a second, also I didn’t see the other replies you got about getting international versions gifted versions or whatever, that works pretty well.

          • Yeah, loved 2 but with 3 Volition completely secured my love. I know it copped flack but anyone who syncs up Bonnie Tylers I NEED A HERO with a rescue mission? Complete f*cking badass. lol.

  • Please help us ozgameshop and greenmangaming, you’re our only hope.

    Has GTAV been rated yet?

    • GTA V hasn’t been rated yet. But I doubt it would be refused classification for sexual violence because I don’t think there will be “interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence” in GTA V. Of course there are the ‘killing hookers’ violence but the classification system got pass that for the previous GTA games.

      • Agree. Grand Theft Auto is a class above Saints Row. Even if they have confronting themes, It will all be in the context of the story – Max Payne 3 was a great example i think

  • OMG, when i saw this i was like, everyone’s going to go fucking mental!

    i swear it was that supermoon

  • Why are you all complaining, as a parent and avid gamer I see no need for any implied sexual violence in any game. Some lines need to be drawn to ensure we do not approve of certain behaviour in our society.

    Someone please explain to me their desire for interactive sexual violence?

    • That’s not the point. The point is as an adult we should have the right to choose whether or not we play a game that may have that type of content. You obviously would decide not to play the game based on your personal opinions/beliefs etc. I on the other hand don’t care and would like to play the game. Forced censorship is crap and shouldn’t occur.

      That being said I thought this would happen at some point. When the new legislation passed it was clearly stated that any game with sexual violence and the like would still lead to a game to be RC as the R18+ rating is not a free for all for any type of content.

    • Not all anger comes from the actual content being blocked, but the act of refusing to allow it in the first place (i.e. Censorship) Personally, Saints Row 3 turned me off, I think it’s a mediocre sandbox game in general, and there are just so many other faults I find with the series. Having said that, I am livid that this has happened. And it is especially bad as we just got the adult R18+ rating this year. This should no longer be an issue. I think it’s great that you actively monitor your children’s interactions with games. I wish all parents would. People weren’t going out to but this game because “Hey cool! Implied sexual violence! Just what I wanted!”. It’s not like something that deserves banning (e.g. Rapelay, the Rape simulator). That’s not what it is marketed as. People wanted it for all the other features and things possible. In fact I’m sure most people would complain about the specific part that got the game banned in the first place as being distasteful.

    • that’s why we have the R18 rating, so there is no need for the parent to worry.

      • I’m not worried, i’m supportive of the Classification Boards decision to refuse classification.

        • You’re a horrible, disgusting human being if you support censorship, and that is absolutely what this is.

          If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. I don’t care if it’s a how-to book on suicide, a video game where all you do is kill Jews, or a comic book where people use frozen dogs to rape the homeless: If it was created without impinging upon the life, liberty or property of someone without their consent, there is no reason it should not be available to adults who want to purchase it.

          • Bingo. This is censorship at it’s most inappropriate.

            I can sign up for the military, go overseas and shoot people. If the government deems me too irresponsible to witness “implied sexual violence” in a video game, then I don’t know how they can justify putting a gun in my hands and going overseas and shooting people.

          • Should we not limit what drugs our citizens can produce and take? Should heroin and ice be accepted? Should we not censor the behaviour of rapists?

            The game is available to those who wish to purchase it. Your personal freedom is not under attack. If you want the game, get the game.

          • Yes, we should limit what drugs our citizens can produce and take, because it can lead to tragedies and death. And yes, we should censor the behaviour of rapists lest vulnerable individuals are affected negatively by it. What you’re missing here is that this is a video game, portraying presumably comedic material. You’re really of the mindset that this is as bad as Heroin being freely available or footage of rape being shown on TV?

            There’s far worse than this shit in plenty of horror films. The fact that video games are interactive have caused these worried old men to treat all content in video games as if it’s ten times worse than it actually is.

          • I would argue that we should not be limiting what adults want to do with their own bodies. If someone wants to smoke crack in the privacy of his own home, without exposing others to it (unless they consent to that), it’s not anybody’s business but his own.

            If it doesn’t affect the life, liberty or property of someone else without their consent, there is very very very VERY rarely any reason the government should have any say in it.

            Rapists are affecting someone else’s life and liberty without their consent, which obviously fails the test.

          • I hate the idea of censorship, but that first sentence of yours is the only thing disgusting about this. Seriously, that wasn’t necessary.

          • It’s not necessary in the strictest sense of the word, but I consider censorship to be nothing short of a crime against humanity. It’s horrifying, and the cretins that support it are the scum of the earth. Book-burning dogs.

          • I agree with Ben J. Ad hominem attacks rarely give your argument more merrit. I agree with the rest of what you said though.

        • So every game-playing adult in Australia has to suffer because you’re a crappy parent and a sub-moronic tool who can’t differentiate between what happens in games and what happens in real life.

          I assume that you have never purchased a game which portrays any kind of violence or killing, because we don’t find those activities acceptable in our society either.

          Get a dog up ya, you absolute tool.

          • Why are you so bent on personally attacking me? You have no idea of my parenting ability and are making a lot of assumptions. Why is it so offensive to you that I support a ruling made by an elected representative body?

            Using phrases such as “Get a dog up ya” demonstrates an abysmal lack of judgement and maturity which would embarrass any self respecting member of the public. You are the an example of what would happen to this nation and it’s society were allowed to behave in whatever manner they saw fit. We have laws and restrictions on any product sold, traded or advertised in this country. These restrictions are reflective of the greater public’s majority decision regarding how we live our lives in Australia. You are the minority.

            What I have purchased with regards to entertainment media has been passed by a board of representatives from this country.

            “every game-playing adult in Australia has to suffer” Really? Every game playing adult will suffer because of your assumption of my parenting? What do you base your assessment of my parenting on? Is it based on your own experiences of being parented, because if your manners are the result of what you deem to be acceptable parenting then I hope you are not able to breed.

            Don’t get so personal and make assumptions about strangers, you arrogant individual.

          • Appreciate your views on the subject.
            The board of classification needs to give itself an upper cut. Their job is an advisory capacity to place the appropriate age recommendation on the box. The gaming majority (75% over 18 according to Digital Age Australia) has the right to choose what is acceptable for themselves.

            Parents need to take a more active role in choosing age appropriate games for their kids. Every smart phone can get access to YouTube. There are plenty of game play videos and trailers available; in 5 minutes you can establish if a game is appropriate or not. Every time I visit a games reseller I see parents buying games like COD kids.
            Do not excuse lazy parents expecting the government to save your kids while sacrificing your right to choose.

        • I’m a bit upset about this and I’d really like to see a more indepth reason behind this.

          I can’t believe we gave SR3 an MA15+ but SR4 can’t get an R18+, if this is the same old problem of inconsistent ratings it needs to be fixed and stopped.

          And I would never give Saints Row to a kid, or GTA and no way in hell would I expose them to the toxic Multiplayer of COD. For my argument a kid is under 13, at 13 they become a teenager and I’d seriously consider some of the games if my child is demonstrating a proper level of maturity.

    • I think the issue is that people don’t trust the ACB’s interpretation of “implied sexual violence”. It would be easier to make a judgement on their judgement if we knew the context. At the moment, all we know is what the previous games and the trailers depict. Which if my memory is correct, they may be referring to things like the gun that shoots dildos that smack into people (comically) or the same issue people had with GTA, where you can hire a prostitute and then as with anyone in the game the player has the option to kill them. I don’t remember this previously being a scripted part of the game though, it’s usually something players may or may not do in the open world.

    • It’s a game not real life or even trying to portray real life. Your kids shouldn’t be within a 100 miles of this game, the game was made for adults who don’t take things so seriously and can see it for what it is. I haven’t seen the “implied sexual violence” (whatever that means) so I can’t comment personally on what is actually in the game but I wonder how bad is it? We had a film called the human centipede with no humor in it whatsoever, is it worse than that!

      • Maybe the government is just trying to make sure there’s no game within 100 miles of any kids then??… Or not.

    • Its not that we want sexual violence. Its more that we want to be able to play what the creators put out, without having an over-the-shoulder government worker that DOES NOT PLAY GAMES FOR FUN deciding what I or you can play or view.

      I’ll be my own moral compass, thank you.

      • We live in a country with elected representatives who we have chosen to makes certain judgements on our behalf. Perhaps you would be happier in a country with a more relaxed view on the subject matter.

        • But the ACB is not elected by the people, it’s selected to apparently be representative of the people.

    • Firstly, where did anybody say they want sexual violence in their game? Quote it for me. I’ll bet you you cannot.

      Secondly, what bothers me more than any “implied sexual violence” scene would, is the fact that grown adults are apparently too tender and innocent to decide for themselves what is real and what isn’t. I mean come on, why did you even mention you were a parent? It’s an R18 rating, why does the thought of children even enter into your head? You shouldn’t be buying anything with R18+ stamped on it if it’s going to be accessible to your children.

      Thirdly, where on earth did you get the idea that there was “interactive” sexual violence anywhere, whatsoever? It clearly says “implied”, not “interactive”. That probably means it’s not even graphic.

      Fourthly, the point is that we’re being treated like dumb children and being barred from playing a freaking video game that some people may have been looking forward to. Not that people want implied sexual violence.

      • “Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence”

      • “In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context,” a press release explained.

        Did you actually read the article before scrolling to the comment section to rage about being treated like a “dumb child”?

        • So, wait, if it’s interactive, then how can it be only implied? If you get to interact in sexual violence then it sounds to me like it’s a tier above “implied”. It sounds like it’s “confirmed” sexual violence in that case.

          • It sounds like it’s “confirmed” sexual violence in that case.

            I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

          • interactive – You are able to partake in
            implied – creates the illusion that an act or event takes place without it happening in the view of others

            The outline of the statement contradicts itself is what @toasty_fresh was getting at.

          • Yes, I understand that. I don’t understand what “It sounds like it’s “confirmed” sexual violence in that case.” means, though. What’s confirmed? We already know that the game has sexual violence.

          • I believe (Can’t speak for the bloke) he means that by saying its interactive, that the sexual violence actually takes place in game, thus “confirmed”.

            By using contradictory terms in the statement the ACB has created a “panicked and confused” state of outrage. The sooner the classification report is issued, the sooner things become clear.

          • They mean “confirmed” as in, the sexual violence is shown explicitly on the screen.

            As opposed to implied sexual violence, where the user is shown enough detail to ‘imply’ that sexual violence has/is/will occur, but it is not actually shown on screen.

          • I don’t know how I can put it better than that. Something cannot be interactive and thus obvious and prevalent and just be implied.

          • I remember it was either GTA4 or one of the previous Saints Rows that let you have sex with prostitutes, but it would happen behind a closed door so you didn’t see anything and you had to play a minigame with the thumbsticks to determine your performance. Maybe it’s a similar thing here.

          • Interactively beating someone with an enormous purple dildo. The ‘sexual violence’ is ‘implied’ but you’re doing it interactively.

            Or perhaps if you had a QTE that allowed you to sentence someone to 10 years in Jail with Bubba, implying prison rape, that could also be ‘implied sexual violence’ which would be ‘interactive’.

            I’d argue neither example (and they’re poor ones I came up with from the top of my head) would remotely constitute something worthy of a higher rating, but Atelier Totori Plus on Vita received an 18+ rating, for “references to sexual violence”, for a scene which is described by the ESRB here and which was in the original PS3 release (rated PG in Australia), so I guess anything is possible.

          • Why does everyone seemingly have “sentenced to jail with Bubba” (implying prison rape) embedded in their psyche? I’ve read or heard that many times. Where does it come from?

    • The problem is the keyword “implied”. Apparently even textual descriptions of something that may possibly be interpreted that way is enough to get you thrown straight into R18+ (see: Atelier Totori on PS Vita controversy earlier this year) so it’s not hard to imagine that the material they’re referring to is far tamer than the wording of this would suggest, especially since actual interactive sexual violence would see the game banned or effectively banned in Europe and the US as well.

      It’s honestly more likely to be drug use tied to incentives though. The ACB have always taken a dim view of that for some reason, though like with anything else they’re wildly inconsistent with whether they apply or don’t apply their guidelines.

    • The popular theory is that the sexual violence mentioned is the same seen in Saints Row III (eg. attacking people with a large dildo), which was rated MA15+.

      Until more details are available it’s impossible to draw a conclusion. I’m sure those complaining would agree that if the game involves interactive violent sex, as opposed to interactive sexual violence, the RC verdict is understandable.

      • I’d argue neither is acceptable, but in this case it is implied sexual violence, and no one actually knows what that means.

    • the problem isn’t the content, the problem is that the wankers who refused it think they know what content is too inappropriate for us better then we do, and frankly I’m offended they would not only make the assumption that I can’t tell a video-game from real life, but then act on it as if it were true.

      and pray-tell how allowing a video-game to have certain content is the same as it being approved of by society? I’m pretty sure society doesn’t approve of rampant murder yet I see that in video-games daily.

      and you want to know the desire in interactive sexual violence? IT’S A GAME! IT’S NOT REAL! stop treating it like it’s real sexual violence, it’s not, and I can’t fucking believe that the guys banning it think anyone is stupid enough to think it’s anything close to reality.

      oh and next you’ll be telling me we should outlaw roleplaying a rape fantasy, because obviously people who consentingly decide to do that are crossing a line and they’ll start thinking rape is OK, next thing you know they’ll be out on the streets raping your children!

      P.S. the fuck does you being a parent have to do with anything? people are asking the game be rated 18+ because we don’t need them to tell us what is and isn’t appropriate content, it has absolutely dick all to do with children.

      P.S.S. and another thing, I have no idea what the appeal of interactive sexual violence is, but It must have some if the creators of the game decided to put it in there, and I’d like to know why, but I guess I’ll never be allowed to do that if these guys have any say.

      • Agree. All saints row games have very poor graphics. How anyone could confuse it with real life is mind-blowing.

      • Sexual violence has always been banned / censored / modified / toned down in Australia an R+18 rating is not going to change that. Now my guess is they looked at the game and the publishers application and said nope to the sexual violence. Case in point. If you buy the porn version of Pirates of the Caribbean “PiratesXXX” it came with 2 dvds the porn on one DVD and the Violence (well fighting CG animated skeletons and crappy swordplay) on the other disc. this was the only way they could officially release the DVD here. The board has made that moral choice for us, good or bad the only way that is going to change is through Parliament and I don’t see that happening.

    • That’s your choice and that’s great. But those who like this franchise should have the choice to play it if they so choose, instead of having a ratings board telling them what they can/can’t play. We also don’t know what the content is question is either, so it’s a bit hard to defend either side. Knowing this series it would be something lewd, immature, maybe even a lil’ graphic, but nothing that would be above a R18 rating. I haven’t heard of other countries having this issue (unless it hasn’t been rated elsewhere yet).

      • No one is choosing for you, it just will not be sold here in it’s current form.

        • “it just will not be sold here in it’s current form.”

          That is the very definition of “choosing for you”.

    • It’s because there is now a classification just for this game (R18) which took so long to get recognised and put into law. Getting it classified R18, should stop kids being exposed to it. And people have all sorts of things that draw them to play a game, just because you personally aren’t interested in sexual violence, doesn’t mean other won’t be either.

    • It does not make any difference if you are a parent, the rating is 18+. Meaning, only adults can play the game. Why would you being a parent mean a thing in this context? Do you buy R18+ games for your kids? because if you do, not only are you a pathetic excuse for a parent, but your argument disappears.

    • Whats your desire for murder then? Terrorism? Theft? How about the blatant treatment of women as sexual objects?

      I too am a parent and avid gamer. I monitor my kids gaming and internet activity and at just 5 years of age they are aware of the rating system, what they can and can’t play.

      “Interactive sexual violence” can be as simple as slapping someone on the bum. The other key word you’re missing here is implied. How about the implied threesome in God of War? Whats your desire to have a threesome? Thats pretty naughty too, especially in a game suitable for 15s.

      Whats my desire for sexual violence and all of the other atrocities depicted in every other video game? My desire is always that its something that I cannot do. An escape from reality if you will. Why do people watch horror movies, pornographic movies, war movies? These are all escapes from reality. Check out Irreversable or Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Its not interactive sexual violence, but its also right there in your face – nothing is implied.

      If your worried about your kids, then you should teach them what the rating system is there for and don’t sit back and let the government do your job.

    • I guess the down votes are to be expected…

      But honestly IMHO your looking at this at a slightly wrong angle. Why are *other* media such as film/books allowed much much MUCH more graphic content on R18+/X18+ ratings and yet just “implied violence” is already a ban hammer?

      Even then the “interactive sexual violence” is also a red herring. Must i point out the land of the rising sun here? They have a fairly robust “adult video game” industry (all the way back from the 80’s I might add) and some of their stuff can get extreme… yet the often preached destruction of public order and society has never happened.

      The point of a classification is to point out whats appropriate and whats not. It’s not supposed to be a moral compass. That’s the parent’s job. It’s the same way a classification bored cannot just arbitrarily ban explicit sex/violence content in films/books but just warn us that it is definitely not for minor consumption.

    • Your being a parent is irrelevant to a discussion about what should be an R rated game. Unless your kids are over 18 of course.

    • The fact that @veeks comment has gotten so many down votes scares me – Games with sexual violence should never be allowed and if you feel the need to have the choice to be sexually violent or not then there is a problem with you. If you think you should be allowed to have the choice to be able to take part in an act like this then go live elsewhere…

  • This should not have happened. This should not be happening. They are effectively treating it as an X-Rated title?

    • Which would still result in an RC rating, even if Saints Row IV were pornography.

  • “In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context,” …

    Aren’t you the President? You can do whatever you want!

  • Isn’t it a tad bit hypocritical that we can have ultra-violence I.E. Mortal Kombat being classified but get bitchy about drugs but the sexual violence thing has me confused?

    In my humble opinion, violence has much more of an impact then drug use.

    • In my humble opinion, violence has much more of an impact then drug use.

      Which is why it was banned. Sexual violence.

      • But i says in the press release it’s “implied sexual violence” so technically it’s not showing anything.

        • Does it matter if it’s “showing anything”? The key points are that it is interactive and not justified by context. Interactive, unjustifiable sexual violence is not something that should be in any video game.

          • How can it be implied, yet also interactive?

            If it were interactive, wouldn’t it be explicit rather than implicit?

          • The developers obviously thought it was justifiable to put in. That’s why… they did it! So it is justifiable by context. There is depicted sexual abuse in both the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. It is done to establish a dislike for the character doing it. The superhero Antman backhanded his wife in Marvel comics… should that be censored? Basic Instinct, Species? There are a lot of funny ads which have been banned from Australian television because someone somewhere has deemed it inappropriate… which is fine because there is no R18+ restriction on free to air television.

            Why should American or European citizens get access to this game while Australia does not? It is obviously okay for them, why not Australia? How do you JUSTIFY that? Why should it be discriminated against because it is a video game as opposed to say a movie?

            I am against sexual violence. I would jump up before you to stop a sexual violence crime. But this is silly… it’s like if they have a gay marriage in a video game… should you jump up and down in a hissy fit because you don’t agree with it?

          • The developers obviously thought it was justifiable to put in. That’s why… they did it! So it is justifiable by context.
            That’s not how it works, I’m afraid.

            There is depicted sexual abuse in both the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. It is done to establish a dislike for the character doing it.
            If it’s interactive, I’d assume that it is the player character (the protagonist) performing the act. I don’t think that kind of character should be playable in a video game. Also, using sexual abuse to create an antagonist or villain is crude and lazy writing.

            Why should American or European citizens get access to this game while Australia does not?
            Australia’s consumer law differs to that of America or Europe. That’s the way the world works.

            It is obviously okay for them, why not Australia?
            It is okay for them because their classifications and classification board are entirely different to Australia’s. Again, that’s the way the world works. Different countries are governed by different people.

            How do you JUSTIFY that?
            See my above comments.

            Why should it be discriminated against because it is a video game as opposed to say a movie?
            I’m not sure one can “discriminate” against an inanimate object. In any case, film and video games are entirely different forms of media and are therefore treated differently.

            But this is silly… it’s like if they have a gay marriage in a video game… should you jump up and down in a hissy fit because you don’t agree with it?
            Are you comparing gay marriage to sexual violence? Do you think myself and others are objecting to interactive sexual violence in a video game because we “disagree” with it? Really?

          • Yeah, sorry but it is okay, it’s not real life, it’s a video game, in real life saying that to someone should get you in trouble but video games just like movies, books and music are art and they depict things like that whether you like it or not, it’s not up to the government to decide what adults can and can’t watch. If you don’t like it then you don’t buy it, but some people want to play games like this or watch movies like that, it isn’t real and it should be up to the adults not the government.

          • It’s okay to threaten a person with rape, if it’s in a f**king video game. Get off this site. Seriously.

          • Well yes, provided they aren’t real and a video game character than go for it. Nobody will be hurt.

            Just don’t do it to a real person. Please tell me you as a parent an avid gamer can tell the difference between people and pixels.

  • Sexual violence has no place in games really, basically rape. plus the game looks as much of a joke as saints row 3

  • Visual depictions of implied sexual violence.

    So – the sexual violence is implied. Not shown. The visual depiction is of the implication. Not the sexual violence. Isn’t that what R18 covers?

    • It’s also interactive and not justified by context. I guess we won’t know how bad it is until we see the gameplay they are referring to, however I’m certainly not upset that they’ve banned such a game.

      • Implied sexual violence is pretty rampant in other media – like Goffrey taking a likeing to mutilating prostitutes in GoT. It’s not shown on screen (just the aftermath), and it’s not interactive. Arguably it’s justified by context, but that’s something that is pretty subjective. E.g. I already thought Goffrey was just as terrible before he did anything like that.

        • Have you read this morning’s article? It’s pretty clear that the sexual violence in Saint’s Row IV is entirely unjustifiable.

  • @veeks

    It really is more how we have a so called R18+ rating now for games and they managed to not be able to rate it on trivial things like “interactive sexual violence”, in plenty of other GTA games plenty much of the same thing is in it and they got a MA15+ rating, if it got a R18+ rating, I am sure you would know not to allow your kids to play it as if you saw a rating like that you would have that common sense as a parent.

    • If you payed any attention during the push for, and introduction of the R18+ rating, you would also know that this kind of material was always going to be classed as RC (Refused Classification). The R18+ rating is more of a deterrent and informant than an open door policy. My point is that as a mature Australian gamer I feel no need to change the law regarding classification in a way that would allow interactive depictions of implied sexual violence to enter our mainstream media.

      • Mature? really? just because you are pro-nanny state and government censorship does not mean you are mature.

        • He is referring to physical maturity (his age) not emotional maturity (which you happen to lack).

          • If you’re going to resort to baseless personal attacks, you would appear to be the one lacking maturity.

          • Please. You downvoted me for this:

            Please show me where I stated that “video games should not have sexual content”.

            I have never once stated that “video games should not have sexual content”. You’ve essentially downvoted a comment in which I was defending myself WITHOUT ANY PRIOR READING.

            And yet apparently I’m the one “lacking maturity”.

          • Don’t make assumptions, Lastelle, particularly about what other people have or haven’t read. It makes you look even more foolish. Would you like to know why I downvoted the comment you quoted? Perhaps you’d like to ask why, before you jump to wildly incorrect conclusions?

          • @Lastelle I downvoted you in that thread because you weren’t contributing anything to the discussion. You were arguing about whether or not you were trolling on a reply to someone else’s comment where you said nothing more than ‘I disagree’. You’d already made your position clear in other posts, you didn’t need to reply to his post in the first place, and you shouldn’t have gotten caught up in tit-for-tat over it. The downvotes in that thread were to say ‘leave it alone’, nothing good was going to come from it.

      • I feel no need to change the law regarding classification in a way that would allow interactive depictions of implied sexual violence to enter our mainstream media.

        Good thing there’s never any implied sexual violence in films or TV shows then! If video games could contain it, why, it’d probably invade my beloved Game of Thrones next!

          • And that’s my problem with it. Why does interactivity dial up the impact so much? If the same content was made a cut-scene in the game, does that suddenly make it okay? Interactivity is inherent to the fact it’s a video game.

          • The problem with interactivity is that the developer is giving the player control. When one is in control of a character, they tend to see that character as the protagonist. It’s much easier to justify sexual violence (or any violence) if one is seeing it from one’s own POV.

            A cut-scene or film is different, because the player/viewer is not in control. They don’t make the decisions; that’s the responsibility of the writers and directors. A good director can make us feel disgust and horror at violence that we would be fine with if we were committing it in a game. The use of different camera angles that portray the fear in the victim’s eyes, or a close-up of the moment of impact can really change the way violence is interpreted by the player/viewer, as can lines of pleading dialogue or horrible screams that die in the throat of the victim as the protagonist ruthlessly murders them. Think about video games where you’ve killed or hurt large numbers of people. They very rarely depict violence in the way I’ve just described, yet that is the reality of violence.

            Interactivity doesn’t “dial up” the impact. It reduces it drastically. And that is far more dangerous to society.

    • trivial things like “interactive sexual violence”

      You think sexual violence is trivial? Disgusting.

  • Terrific! Back to square one!

    Who wants to bet this isn’t going to be about something meaningful like rape (where an argument could be made), but rather about some S&M which consenting adults must be shielded from, because … oh I don’t know … it’s too exclusive a club?

    • I had requested this comment be removed, but since it’s here and it now been stated why the game was refused classification and it IS a sexual assault. I’m quite okay with (in fact, glad that) this title is being refused classification.

  • So… just to get this straight…

    These were the same people that classed the Vita release of Totori as R18+ because of “Sexual Violence” right? Because it had violence and it had sexual references! So Sexual Violence!

    Yeah… so I’m not too surprised… which is the sad part =/

  • drug use? WTF, technically you’ll have to ban pacman, mario & pretty much every RPG out there for use of ‘powerups’..

  • I guess my question is, would this “objectionable content” have been RCed if it was a movie (ie. non-interactive)? If no, then we’re no better off than where we were before R18+.

    • I’m leaning towards “no” and that’s why they bandy about words like “interactivity” and “justified by conext”

  • For people complaining that R18+ is just a rebadged MA15+, let’s not assume that until there’s proof. We know that sexual violence not justified by context is still grounds to refuse classification. While I’m frustrated by this, there might actually be a reason for it.

  • why’m I not surprised to find out he’s a long time Liberal supporter. I fear not much will change once Abbott and his cronies get into powrr in September

  • I’m sorry.. But hasn’t this issue come up in another game recently as a sex for mission reward? It’s all good to have a whinge and a bitch about this but you really can’t have a valid discussion without the context of why it was refused classification..

    Maybe the issue was for a specific mission/ part of the game that was scripted and you didn’t have the choice of the action or mission reward or maybe it was something questionable that you had to do do you couldn’t progress in the game.

    At any rate I would argue that a naked guy leap frogging an old woman then beating her to a bloody pulp with a 6 foot long purple dildo sword would be actual sexual violence..
    But then again I would have to choose to do that as it’s not an essential part of the game

  • Refused classification? No worries next gen consoles are region free *wink wink* shove that up your pie hole Mr Ronald McDonald

  • Gamers of Australia – it’s time to reunite. Reunite and fight for what we believe in – an X18+ rating for video games.

  • I’m mourning the loss of my ‘Saints Glory’ flag and Uncle Sam hat that i would have gotten from the Presidential Edition of the game 🙁

  • the basic lesson here is that Oz is culturally backward.

    The ‘motherland’, the UK, has a voluntary classification scheme whose primary role is to provide detailed advice to parents on what content is in a game (the same goes for film, though it is compulsory for film and TV).

    Compare that to Oz, where no real information is given to consumers on movies or games – maybe half a sentence at most.

    Check out the British classification info for Saints Row 2:

    Versus the Oz for SR2:

    A world of difference.

    • We are always behind and we are always backwards, we are unfortunately a conservative country.

      • Unfortunately, you’re correct. This statement, historically, sums up many instances of us ignoring, neglecting and rejecting ideas, concepts and attitudes in this country until someone else takes the lead, or we drive our visionaries overseas to more fertile shores where they are more appreciated. Sad to see we still haven’t learned from our mistakes. 🙁

  • I’m quite interested to know what constitutes “sexual violence” in this case… In the MA15+ SRIII under my TV you can beat people with a giant purple phallus dubbed “the penetrator”

    We’re they asleep at the wheel over at the ACB last time? Is there something genuinely worse in this game? Or is this one of those cases where the reviewing member didn’t like it and when it goes to appeal someone else will let it through?

    • Hitting someone with a dildo and using a dildo to shove up someones arse are a little different….

  • “…prohibited by the computer games guidelines.”
    “…the computer games guidelines.”
    “…computer games…”

    Australian Classification Board…. STTHAAAPP!!!

  • Well done on making sure money that could be spent at local stores are now going to be sent out of Australia, ACB.

  • It’s kind of funny, this was the first time in this series existence that I wasn’t worried about it getting RC’d. Funny, in a not at all funny way.

    • Yeah.. same here.
      Then again, I could have just been excited about the prospect of a cool Uncle Sam hat.

  • This is complete bull shit. Saints row 3 was practically the same
    If not more fucking worse
    Saints row 3 has gimps, nudity which gets blurred, makes prostitution fun, has a fucking purple dildo baseball bat the is very detailed and the ability to rob anyone.

    Saints row 4 is pretty much the same but lacks the ability to beat people with a huge cock.
    Probably the prostitution minigame aswell

    Hell the call of duty games have more gore then saints row. Ban that while your at it.
    No? Because it’s popular?
    What about dead island? Wasn’t that ‘promoting violence’?
    That’s popular. Ban that too.
    Saints row is popular like both of those games and is really not worth the rage From people like me.

  • you know what, FUCK IT! Every single retailer out there should still bring it in and Sell it because there is fucking way that Saints Row 4 could be any worse than Saints Row 2, or even the postal series and SR4 is most definately not in the same category as Rapeplay.

    What this is say is that its worse than Mortal Kombat and left for dead 2. I garuentee that Volition will fight this and that the review bord will overturn this. This is a god damn farce

  • This entire discussion of whether it’s morally right or wrong would be a lot clearer if we actually knew what the issue was. Half the problem, as evidenced by the comments, is the wording of the statement. We need to be careful not to endorse sexual violence, rape etc. as an industry and as a society (and I am specifically referring to non-consenting/derogatory sexual acts – each to their own when it comes to your private, consenting lives!), because unfortunately these issues are still very much CURRENT and acceptance of this content implies approval of that behaviour. There has to be a line drawn in what’s OK and what’s not and I think everyone can agree with that.

    The problem is that when the board offers no advice on where they’ve drawn the line, we of course get angry because there is no clear consensus on whether that was appropriate and there is no discussion of why or why not.

    Having said all that, I personally think it’s unlikely that the game has crossed a line and is therefore unfit for classification. It would be in bad taste for a developer to release a game that endorsed (even implicitly) “contextless” sexual violence, given the representation of gamers is nearly 50/50 male/female (see:, and some huge volume of women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime (check this out: It’s not a “fun” topic. The exact problem that those scenes pose needs to be discussed in the gaming and wider community so that there can be some analysis of the impacts. We might even be able to do some good by becoming more aware of the issues of depicted sexual violence in games and other media! Just my 2c…

    • The discussion becomes clearer, I think, when you consider people’s comments in the context of opposing censorship in any form. People are responsible for their own actions, a video game can no more encourage a person to commit a crime than can a book or a movie. In exchange for holding responsibility over our actions, we as adults should have the right to be able to choose what media we consume and what media we don’t. We’re capable of deciding that for ourselves, we don’t need a government body doing it for us.

      • It’s not about whether someone goes out and starts raping people after seeing a rape in a game. That’s too simplistic and that’s not the way it works, and it’s not what I’m saying. Sexual violence is still far too normalised in our culture, it’s not a “past tense” issue like killing people or theft. We don’t struggle to see the borders of what’s right or wrong when it comes to killing people, but we do struggle with treatment of women. I am not going to post more stats – the last one should have been enough – but that’s why it’s not something we can laugh off as being so obviously unreal it doesn’t relate to real life and has no transference to behaviour. People are responsible for their actions but media contributes to a tone of what is acceptable in the range of human behaviour. I do NOT support censorship, but I do support the idea of dealing with these big issues upfront. When we can all pick up on mistreatment of women, however indirectly or implicitly, then we’ll be able to laugh it off and make games about it that have a clear moral context, just like we laugh about killing people in games. Right now though, it’s a problem.

        • It doesn’t matter how closely it relates to real life. It was never a question of whether it was fantasy far removed or not, it’s simply a question of whether adults can be trusted to consume media. Tone isn’t a factor, fiction is free to tell any story about any environment it wishes, including those about difficult or controversial subjects.

          You don’t fix a rotten foot by cutting off the whole leg, you cut out only what is necessary and no more. Attempting to fix gender perception in society by eliminating the freedom of fiction to depict what it chooses, and the freedom of adults to consume that fiction, is not only overreaction and wasted effort that will not fix the problem itself, it sets a dangerous precedent.

          The problem doesn’t exist in media, the problem exists in people. Expending effort trying to control the former does nothing to solve the root that exists in the latter.

  • And then the gov bitch and moan wondering why more and more Australia and buying online from other countries.

    Steam better not block this game from being played in Aus

  • I’m just unnerved that the Australian Classification website still refers to everything as a ‘computer game’ and not just ‘video game’ like everyone else has for ages.

  • Fuck you Australian Classification Board, fuck you and your bullshit lies. We should start some NODRM style movements over this bullshit. I don’t play the Saints Row games, but the idea of the R18+ rating was so that this never happens again.

    • I don’t play the Saints Row games, but the idea of the R18+ rating was so that this never happens again.
      Uh, no it wasn’t. Maybe it was YOUR idea.

  • *sigh* welp, guess I’m going to be pirating yet another game. Thanks ACB, you are really helping me save my money and hurting the game industry.

    • The fact you go straight to pirating rather than considering other, legitimate ways to obtain the game shows just how entitled you are.

  • So the new Saint’s Row is banned. Perfect.

    First they tell us they’ll introduce a rating system for games with an R18 rating and things will change for the better with it. Then when the system comes in, and other than the color of the label, it’s no different to the old system. Adult gamers continue to be treated like children.

    Sigh. Back to torrenting and importing we go. This whole screwed up situation can only be fixed with generational change, like I’ve always said.

    At least this happened before the election, and this close to the election. Now they’ll have to face the music for giving gamers an ice cream, then snatching it back after they say “Oh cool, you’re forgiven, I’ll vote for you!” Rather sitting smugly for another term after stabbing more people in the back, safe in the knowledge that the public will likely forget about it before the next one, they’re going to cop a hiding from us and others we can get on board. Vote LDP people, they will fix our horridly flawed “classification” system.

  • Didn’t we introduce 18+ for a reason? So that people over that age could access the game no matter the content. It kind of defeats the purpose of having an 18+ in the first place. Countries that also have 18+ will be getting the full game but our classification board F**ks us over. God damn it, give us full games please! We’ve waited long enough!

    • it’s not “no matter the content” there are caveats to this in the legislation, and the ACB still has has discretion to RC something if they feel it doesn’t comply. if *they* feel…there in lies the issue.

  • “interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence ”

    I’m also starting to dread Metal Gear Solid V’s fate now.

    • That’s got all kinds of intricate, convoluted context to justify some messed up things. But will the ACB be willing and/or able to understand this context?

  • When I was younger, this sounded like a valid argument to me. Now that I am older, I realise how silly it is. You make it sound like it’s a simple formality to just choose where you want to live in the world, and then just go and live there. Not the case at all.

    It also encourages people into apathy. When the laws suck, don’t challenge them… just leave?

  • No-one should be surprised by this. If anyone actually bothered to pay attention when the R18 rating was implemented, it was implemented to increase the tolerance for violence. The rules on drugs and sex in video games never changed.

    I’m not defending the censorship, I’m simply stating the system is still working as it’s designed… It’s just unfortunate no-one actually payed attention to what the R18 guidelines were and they seem to think it’s broken.

    • The funny thing is that you can walk down to the seedier side of town, and for the price of a video game, you can get your IRL sex and drug kicks without the interference from you local neighbourhood censor.

      • True, but at the same time you open yourself up to the risk of an STI and an OD, as well as potentially a problem with law enforcement because the hooker crack dealer was part of a sting.

        Your justification makes no sense, if you want to play real life like a video game go right ahead, let’s see how far you get before you try to respawn.

        • So the drugs are a bad example (being illegal and all), but the sex industry is legal, and people will pay for some really dodgy stuff. This kind of thing is also featured in movies and novels etc, but you don’t see those censored like games. The rating means dick, games are still for kids in the censors eyes.

          • Yes, the rating does mean dick… And that was my original point.

            People saw “R18” as a “we won, we get adult games”… No, that was never the case. The gamers got their win and actually failed to care about the specifics. The specifics stated there would be no change to use of drugs and sex in video games. The R18 rating has a clearly defined set of guidelines that only accomodate for the use of high impact violence.

            A link from this very site in September last year:
            And it looks as though some games that were banned previously in Australia, without an R18+ rating, would most likely be banned under the new R18+ rating. Particularly with relation to in-game drug use.

            Computer games will be Refused Classification if they contain:
            (i) illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards;
            (ii) interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic.

            Hence my point… No-one should be surprised by this.

          • Very true. I lost the point mid-rant there somewhere. I need more coffee. 😀

            Ultimately the classification system needs to be consistent across all mediums, but the chances of that happening are slim.

          • I’ve sent an email to Mark, he needs to do an article reminding people of this. Everyone thinks the R18 rating has failed them, it has not… it has still worked exactly as it was designed… If people want drugs and sex in video games, they need to fight for that too.

  • By doing this they’ve just increased sales for this game 10 fold.

    It remind me of when Manhunt was banned. I had no interest in that game before it was banned but had to have it once it was banned from sale.

    Saint’s Row 4 will be coming to my house.

  • Australia can’t do anything right. What a fucking disgrace. I’ll import.

  • “visual depictions of implied sexual violence” I bet its one of two things. Ether its a over sized “novelty massage wand” used as a weapon, or, and more likely, it involves the aliens, probes, and the buttocks.

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