iGEA Responds To Saints Row IV Being Refused Classification

Despite Australia's newly created R18+ rating, Saints Row IV has been refused classification by the Classification Board as a result of "interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence". The iGEA has responded to the news stating that it "must accept that there will be some video games which will fall outside the scope of the R18+ guidelines".

The statement reads as follows:

We can’t specifically comment on the Classification Board’s decision to issue Saints Row IV with a Refused Classification as we aren’t privy to the specific content of the game. Broadly speaking though, one of the key reasons an R18+ was introduced was to ensure that we strike a balance between giving adult Australians access to adult games while protecting children from inappropriate content. Under the new guidelines, we celebrate the fact that adults can now access age-appropriate games which may have otherwise been refused classification, but as we have argued, we also must accept that there will be some video games which will fall outside the scope of the R18+ guidelines. Whether we agree or not with this specific classification, it highlights that the classification system is functioning as it should and that R18+ was never meant to open the 'floodgates' for all types of content.
Overall, we remain confident that the Classification Board is applying the new guidelines as they see appropriate, but we also recognise that with any change to a system as subjective and complex as applying classification guidelines, there will always be a ‘settling in‘ period where all stakeholders strive to find an appropriate middle ground. Currently, we’re at the ‘high water’ mark where there’s a natural inclination to err on the side of caution.

We have yet to learn if the game will be resubmitted, we'll update when we any new information comes to light.


Comments

    One step forward, two steps back.

    Last edited 25/06/13 6:49 pm

      I feel like this is more of a 'one step foward, one step back and another step to the right' kind of situation.

        You do the hokey pokey and ya turn around. Thats what classification is all about!

        Sorry lol.

    "Overall, we remain confident that the Classification Board is applying the new guidelines as they see appropriate". I guess it's hard to say more until we know specifics about the content in question, but I'm pretty sure my faith in the ACB is the same as it always was - nonexistent.

    it highlights that the classification system is functioning as it should

    Until we find out what exactly it was banned for, we can't actually make that claim...

      It was banned for drug use and 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.”

      http://www.kotaku.com.au/2013/06/breaking-saints-row-iv-has-been-refused-classification/

        @funkyj That's still a broad description of the content. Without specifics, the only people who know what content got the game banned are the game devs and the classification board. Meanwhile, they're probably editing it out now for a resubmit and every gaming publication in Australia is running a story about Saints Row IV.

      Knowing Saint's Row it probably involves someone being sodomised by a big guy in prison or something along those lines played more for laughs rather than anything particularly vicious or violent.

      Last edited 25/06/13 7:11 pm

        Good to know prison rape is "more for laughs."

          You know, bad guy goes to prison, starts mouthing off and big guy puts his hand on his shoulder and makes eyes at him sort of thing. Same thing a lot of movies use.

            Hell, they even implied it at the end of a Powerpuff Girls episode.
            I believe it was "Mojo Jones'in".

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnNqOG6lc-w

            Last edited 25/06/13 11:59 pm

          It's only prison rape when there's no soap dropped...

            After witnessing the aftermath of an attempted prisoner on prisoner sexual crime, I no longer feel prison rape jokes funny. SOMBER TIME GO.

              If we can't laugh about the misfortunes of the lowlifes of society what can we laugh at?

              "Drop the soap! Drop the soap baby! Drop the soap! Drop the sooooooooaaaaaaap!"

              http://comedy.com/files/2010/06/Dont-Drop-The-Soap-Navy-Tee-from-Zazzle.com_1276128074159.png

              Last edited 25/06/13 11:57 pm

                You seem to forget that your "joke" is also at the expense of the LGBT community.

                  Not really seeing how but don't tell Patricia Hernandez!!!

                  Oh and a little fact for you, the majority of male upon male rape is committed by heterosexual males. Just so you know. Rape is about power and control, not about sex, sexual attraction, or sexual orientation. Boys and men, regardless of their sexual orientation, are predominantly raped by heterosexual males who rape to demean and humiliate them, the same as men who rape women. A man who rapes another man does so to exert power and control over him, which has nothing to do with being attracted to him at all. As GI Joe says, 'Knowing is half the battle!'

                  I don't know what's more offensive... the fact you didn't like the jpg picture or the fact you just associated the LGBT with male on male... the R words been used too much now. Let's just say R.

                  Always wondered, why don't they just use liquid soap in jail?

                  Last edited 26/06/13 12:12 am

                Ah, but you explicitly wrote that its not rape if you drop the soap meaning that you want it if you drop the soap.

                It's very easy to intellectualise something or obscure the offense when you're not from a community which has to hear these "drop the soap" jokes which reduce your entire existence to your sexual behaviour and then deem that behaviour to be deviant.

                The bottom line is that rape isn't funny. Whether it be by/to a male or a female. And perhaps a little empathy next time somebody points out something which may seem foreign to you.

                  Oh it's not foreign to me at all, I'm just not the sort of person who's hypersensitive to everything that's all. While I do apologise if you did take it as offensive, I do think you're overreacting a bit and now we're done with it.

                  Last edited 26/06/13 1:36 am

      If there's a ratings problem in other regions, such as the US, then that's fine, change the content. If there's no problem, there's no parity, and we still have a problem with our ratings system.

        Exactly right. Developers aren't changing their games now that the ratings have been increased in Australia. R18, the new M.

        This is disastrous news!

      I personally think it highlights that the classification system is completely broken and not function the way it should. What is the point for R18+ rating if games still get banned for inappropriate content?

        Because the content is still innapropriate? R18+ being implemented was not a free pass for any and all kinds of deviant behaviours to be put into a game, there were still restrictions the whole time. SR IV crossed those restrictions, and was refused classification.

          Actually, traditionally RC is reserved for games that actively promote or display specific illegal activities such as rape, bestiality or pedophilia. Strong violence, sexual violence, sexual scenes, etc are generally classified into the R18+ category. The fact that it is being classified otherwise here does indicate we still lack parity with the rest of the game-playing countries throughout the world, something the introduction of an R18+ rating was supposed to address.

            Yes, the R18 rating does have allowances for violence, sexual scenes and drug use, but whatever was in it (considering that I haven't seen what was objectionable, and I highly doubt you have either) whether it be simulated rape/assault, or the mention of drugs as a reward/incentive goes beyond that.

              And yet other countries have rated it as either PEGI 18 or ESRB M. Obviously the content could not have been that huge an issue if it can be rated such in those countries

      Any form of interactive sexual violence (Visual or implied sexual violence) will not meet any kind of video game classification in Australia.
      It is classed as not meeting community standards and therefore does not meet classification standards.

    I knew this would happen at some stage. When the guidelines were released,m it was easy to see some things which would get a game banned. Drugs tied to some kind of "reward" is something that will haunt us quite a few times over the years to come.
    I don't necessarily agree with that guideline, it it was there in black and white.

    And just like that, the majority of potential buyers in Australia will pirate it come launch day, no way in hell am i going to play a watered down version of this.

      I'll import it, and if customs seize it, then I'll pirate it.

      Hopefully you can just buy a worldwide CD Key and chuck it into steam.

      Assuming you are part of the PC master race.

    As enraged I am by this news, I am still more pissed off at the ACB not classifying State of decay. They need to hurry up and get their shit together!

      Considering it took them 6 weeks to get SR4 classified, I think we'll hear something by mid-June... I hope...

    R18+ was never intended to let in everything, and if you thought otherwise, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Until we know what exactly caused it to be RC'd, we can't know for sure if the RC is legitimate or BS. Calm your tits, it's not over yet.

      Its refreshing to find a levelheaded commenter here. Danke.

      It kind of is over. They made their decision. The game is going to get edited no doubt.

      They will never tell you why it got RC'd. They don't have to; you have no right to fight them, you are just a child to them and they are your moral guardian.

        Yes, I'm sure that we, in the year 2013 with immediate access to all kinds of information from all over the world, will never be able to look at examples of the uncut game content and figure out what content cause the board to make their decision.

          The point is that there is no actual legal recourse to fight the ACB as affected citizens. Yeah, you can illegally import or pirate the game. Yes you can compare it to the international release. But this is, apparently, a democratic nation, in which we suffer censorship and have the discourse hidden behind the children. The fact is we are treated like immature entities.

      You have a bridge!? By golly I need one of those!

      F the government they think video games make people cerial killers just because there have been cases where people played video games have commited crimes but not put into consideration that they are influenced by TV? Why don't we blame TV or the film industry or the music industry or we could blame the real people responsible for these people turning out that way, their parents. I see more gun and drug use on channel 9 then I do in all my video games. I thought Australia was a free country with freedom of speech and press however this is complete censorship of someones hard work they make from scratch put months even years into developing just to be banned because theres a dildo (wtf is this bs i remember there was a bloody playboy game on the ps2 rated m15+). This goes to show Australia is just becoming a police state where all peoples actions are controlled by the authorities through intimidation and voilence almost like Nazi Germany (Nazi Germany too censored anything they didn't like). First they take away our rights and privacy with outrageous 'Terrorism laws'. What does Australia have different to a dictatorship where the government makes all the decsions for them including implementing new laws without public approval (Did someone say carbon tax?). This country is going to the sh!thole with this government I remember this country being in surplus before this sh!tty goverment came in and put us billions of dollars in debt that is continually growing each day.

    Looks like it's more sales for Ozgameshop and Play-Asia. Do the retards in charge of the rating realize that people who want this game will get it any way they can?

    What right does someone else have to say what adults can play though? This isn't kiddie porn we're talking about here, it's a fictional game, set in a fictional universe. They take issue with drugs and sex in this game, yet murder is completely acceptable? Where's their morals at? I know what crime I find worse.

      It's all over the place. In 2003 there were 15,511 smoking-related deaths in Australia* and in 2006 in NSW, there were 42,356 smoking-related hospital admissions*. Yet smoking is perfectly legal for 18+ year olds. Hypocrites much?

      I guess games don't get taxed as highly...

      *http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/31901/reduce-risks/smoking-reduce-risks/tobacco-facts/statistics-on-smoking-in-australia/?pp=36576

      The "kiddie porn" argument was ridiculous when labour used it to justify the Internet filter.
      Its still ridiculous....Your comparing apples to kiddie porn.

        Huh? I said this wasn't kiddie porn. As in arguing there's no good reason to ban it.

    1. There goes my American president hat from EB Games.

    2. I want to see the classification report. The statements we've been offered gives no detail and has caused blind outraged. If they inform us properly, you'll find people will be more understanding of the reasons why.

    3. Going to import it anyway now. Done it twice before (Silent Hill Homecoming & Mortal Kombat. The latter game I reviewed for this site while it was banned)

      I fully agree with point 2. I don't approve of censorship for the sake of censorship and I feel like we are a bit blind to what triggered the RC rating. I don't like that they can make a decision then basically say "nah, trust us, we know what's good for you."

    New classification category, same old conservative attitude. The former OFLC is still deciding what is and isn't appropriate entertainment for grown adults. While I have no interest in playing Saints Row IV, this is really disappointing and makes me fear for the future of game censorship in this country.

    It takes a lot for a movie to be refused classification. Are they still saying interactive entertainment is "higher impact"?

    It will be interesting to see what the game was banned for - sexual violence isn't generally restricted in R18+ film, I'd assume something would have to be particularly heinous, tasteless, graphic and devoid of artistic context to be refused classification.

      Are they still saying interactive entertainment is "higher impact"?

      Actually yes thats what they exactly did when they revised the ratings. It will most likely stay that way for the time being, possibly until there is no more generation gap i presume.

      It will stay that way until the dinosaurs who are on the board either stop using 1950's morals, or are replaced with younger blood. It's as simple as that.

    "we also must accept that there will be some video games which will fall outside the scope of the R18+ guidelines"

    I'm sorry, but no we don't.

    I'm an adult, what is the point of being an adult if some wanker in a suit thinks he knows what's too inappropriate for me then I do? I thought as an adult I was supposed to be responsible for my own maturity? what you're saying by refusing classification is that you think you know what's too violent for me then I do, and you won't even tell me WHY.

    the response isn't even from someone who knows why it was refused, typical PR bullshit

      So, you want to see games like the infamous Rapelay allowed in?

    Fuck this country seriously, we wait 10 years to get that classification, for something so trivial about a game hold it back from being classified and released here is just arrogant, why place a R18+ rating if it will never get used to its full potential, Australia I say this from many annoyed gamers here but we are very disappointed and aggravated also we hate you and your broken system.

    So, just to clarify... We can watch Geordie Shore, but we can't play Saints Row IV. Fantastic!

    has it been refused classification in any other country? If not then Australia has just shown itself once again to be backwards and run by dinosaurs who know best for everyone else

    This is disgusting im 21 and i don't need a classification bored telling me what i can and cannot play/be exposed too. F U Australian Classification Board, we have R18+ for a reason!!!!!

    This is a paragraph i find interesting from the media release.

    When making decisions about computer games, the Classification Board must use the criteria set out in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games Act) 1995, the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games.

    So they never even bothered to change the act to accommodate the R18+ classification when it came into effect at the start of this year. So really the R18+ classification is nothing but a band aid holding together what is still fundamentally a broken system.

      Likely that the Act was originally passed in 95 but has just been amended since, keeping the original name.

      I agree the system is broken though. No reason games should be treated any differently than films.

        but it needs to be passed again if it is amended, which would mean the year would be updated too.

          I don't have tons of experience with this, but from what I've seen that isn't what happens. The bill keeps the same name including the year it was first passed, just that amendments are added and voted on.

            samsam is correct. The name of the bill doesn't change. It just has ammendments added to it.
            http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2012L01933

          No it isn't. Acts are ammended all the time, and the year reflects when it was initially put in place.

    Australian classification board, What a fucking joke.

    I'm not angry, just annoyed because now I'll have to import it. So over this kind of bullshit. So far, all I've seen is MA15+ games get bumped up to R18+, which I'm fine with, and we finally get a 'real' R18+ game but it gets refused.

    I read this whole article as "Australia doesn't want your money, wants you to give your aussie dollars to a different country because you're gonna play it uncut anyway"

    I would like to know how big the jump in content was between Saints Row IV & Saints Row V that the classification board felt the need to jump from MA15+ to RC.

    Credit where it is due: very appreciative of Mortal Kombat release although it did come too late - Injustice is now the new obsession.

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