You Can Smoke Pot In GTA V, According To Ratings Board

You Can Smoke Pot In GTA V, According to Ratings Board

We had a hunch it was going to be possible, and, now, the people who rate video games are letting the cat out of the dimebag. You can smoke pot in GTA V, according to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. That same group has offered a bunch of other mild spoilers for GTA V, if you're interested.

The following is the official summary from the ESRB's listing for GTA V, which is getting an M rating for, well, being Grand Theft Auto. Remember, M-rated games are for gamers 17 and up.

Rating Summary: In this open-world action game, players assume the role of three criminals whose storylines intersect within the fictional city of Los Santos. Players can switch between each character to follow his storyline, completing missions which often include criminal activities (e.g., stealing cars, executing heists, assassinating targets). Players use pistols, machine guns, sniper rifles, and explosives to kill various enemies (e.g., rival gang members); players also have the ability to shoot non-adversary civilians, though this may negatively affect players' progress as a penalty system triggers a broad police search. Blood-splatter effects occur frequently, and the game contains rare depictions of dismemberment. In one sequence, players are directed to use various instruments and means to extract information from a character; the sequence is intense and prolonged, and it involves some player interaction (i.e., responding to on-screen prompts).

The game includes depictions of sexual material/activity: implied fellatio and masturbation; various sex acts that the player's character procures from a prostitute — while no nudity is depicted in these sequences, various sexual moaning sounds can be heard. Nudity is present, however, primarily in two settings: a topless lap dance in a strip club and a location that includes male cult members with exposed genitalia in a non-sexual context.

Within the game, TV programs and radio ads contain instances of mature humour: myriad sex jokes; depictions of raw sewage and feces on a worker's body; a brief instance of necrophilia (no nudity is depicted).

Some sequences within the larger game allow players to use narcotics (e.g., smoking from a bong, lighting a marijuana joint); cocaine use is also depicted. Players' character can, at various times, consume alcohol and drive while under the influence. The words "f**k," "c*nt," and "n**ger" can be heard in the dialogue.

It's not clear just how often players will have control of using pot. And it seems like the ESRB is drawing a distinction between players using pot and cocaine being depicted. Interactivity for the former and no interactivity for the latter?

We've reached out to Rockstar for clarification on how players can or can't use pot in the game and will update you if they provide any details.

It also looks like GTA IV's drunk driving will be back, according to the ESRB summary.

GTA is also known for pushing the envelope regarding sex, but according to the above description, it seems that the sex in GTA V will be nudity-free. There will, however, be some exposed body parts in some non-sex scenes.

It may seem weird to parse a game like this in advance. It's possibly the least cool way to appreciate or anticipate a creative work. But Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto stands out as a game series that perpetually pushes the envelope in terms of sex, violence, cultural diversity, and political satire. How far they go can predict how far they'll pull the rest of big-budget gaming along or at least show how much further away from most of it they'll remain. While most games made by large studios are exercises in playing with safe content, Rockstar risks going further.

Previous GTA games have depicted drug use, though at least one of the series' protagonists, GTA: San Andreas' Carl Johnson, was anti-drug. GTA: Chinatown Wars let players make money selling drugs but didn't depict use. Other gaming series, such as Saints Row, have depicted use of pot, often under euphemistic names and generally just for comic effect.

Grand Theft Auto V, which seems like a significant evolution of Rockstar's open-world gaming formula, will be released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 17. The game will also launch the ambitious Grand Theft Auto Online.

Also, for anyone scandalized about the idea of smoking pot in GTA, please note: you can also shoot people to death in this game.'s best to keep this in perspective, whether you're pro-marijuana use or against.

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter @stephentotilo.


    Hmm, I wonder if us Aussies are getting a pre cut version with all this taken out, although the classification does say strong drug use.

    Or could it be that the ACB looked the other way knowing that this is one of the biggest, most hyped games of this generation?

      The ACB will RC drug use for two main reasons:
      - drugs are given as a reward for doing something (where SR4 fell down), or
      - drug use is seen as wholly positive.

      If there's negative aspects of drug use portrayed (such as making it hard to control your character when you're ripped off your tits), it'll usually get through as an MA or R rating.

      Noting that the only reason that GTA5 got the R rating was because of the strength of the drug use scenes - otherwise it would have been MA - I'd say that the ACB knows all about the drug use and that it didn't tip the game over the line.

        The ACB have already classified this game R18+. In other words, it hasn't been refused... so you don't have to worry about any RC anymore.

          If they missed something it can be subject to a review - viz. GTA3 and GTA4/Hot Coffee.

        Or if was tied to a bonus, like giving the player health or "special" bar. I read that the alien narcotics give your super powers a boost in SR4 and that was one of the reasons it was banned.
        Implying a benefit of drug use etc.

          I read that the drugs were blocked because they were given as a reward for completing Shaundi's loyalty mission. As I understand it, either way, if they weren't actually named "narcotics" they wouldn't have caused a problem.

      My guess is there likely isn't an incentive for smoking, or it'll be handled similarly to how they handle drinking.

      It will depend on the effects of the narcotics. If it does not supply an improved state of play-ability, then it will be fine. Also, GTA:IV had a drunken state in which you could drink then drive and in most cases; crash into a police car, jump out of the car to run away, and fall over dead drunk.

      I think we need to be more worried about the torture sequence... Hopefully it gets an R18+

        Old news.

          ah. I googled (EB site was first AU pick) and it didn't specify the classification, assumed it didn't have one.

    I don't believe they would have looked the other way at all, but given the shit storm that generated after announcing the fate of SR IV perhaps any censorship was handled quietly by both The Board and R*. Don't know really. I guess we'll find out in September!

    Last edited 21/08/13 11:09 am

      Not so sure they've looked the other way as opposed to this still being within guidelines. I think the guidelines stipulate that taking drugs can't be seen as a positive thing. Maybe in the context of the game it's something negative?

        I'm pretty sure you can still depict and have interactions with narcotics as long as there are no benefits like regaining health (a la State of Decay) or special bar, or going into bullet time, or gaining extra super powers (a la SR4). If its just showing an avatar using it or actually having to push a button as long as there is no positive EFFECT it can pass through right? Or am I still not understanding the "guidelines"?

          That's my understanding too, yeah. As an avid gamer, I should really read about this in more detail!

    Delayed for 6 months in AU, no missions or activities remaining in the actual game.

    Aussie version to contain only a series of dog walking missions, and grocery shopping (soft drinks will be banned too).

    I know people in Australia are getting worried about this revelation, and with good cause considering the absolute mess that is Saints Row IV, but the thing to remember about our classification laws is that the ACB only really has a problem with drugs linked to incentives or rewards. In other words, if in GTAV you smoked pot and could then run around at twice the normal speed and take half the normal amount of damage, the game would get banned. If however it behaves like the drunk driving did in GTAIV and actually makes the character more difficult to control, it's totally fine (well not totally fine, but they'll let it through at any rate).

    That being said, I wouldn't put it past Rockstar to submit a pre-censored version and then claim they didn't. I seem to recall that's what happened with GTAIV.

    I hope the exposed male genitalia is just as hilarious in this as it was in The Lost and Damned.

    It was confirmed on R*s twitter that there are no cuts to the Australian version. So either weed doesn't have health benefits in the game or the classification system is still hopelessly broken.

    Australia just gets an extra mission, or possibly a cut scene, where the three charaters explore their issues battleing Glaucoma. you also have side missions where you go pick up your weed script. Problem solved, for once Australia does not miss out.

    GTA V has already been classified in Australia, hasn't it? No reason for us to get worried.

    See, it's already done.

    Last edited 21/08/13 12:22 pm

    "You can murder hundreds and thousands of people in this game."
    "You can also smoke pot."

      Sense the system does not make.

      Also until someone shows me a definitive study that saying 'fuck' has a direct correlation with things such as a propensity to commit crimes, be violent towards other people, etc, I don't see what the big deal about such words is.

    Will very obviously not provide incentive, GTA IV handling of Drink Driving was actually rather entertaining, I can only imagine the effect of pot on our characters.

      You can only drive at 5mph and your GPS automatically redirects you to the nearest store that sells burritos.

        all while a little voice in your head say "they are on to you, act more normal"

        A burrito!? My food of choice at 3am is a good, ol' kebab!

    Vice City let you pop those pills that slowed you down. I never did see the point of those.

      They were hilarious. Punching people in slow motion never got boring.


    Still bummed I missed out on a the Collector's Edition....actually, not really. Don't wear caps and the security deposit bag is just a novelty really. The only thing I hope we can get post-release that the CE gets is the "unique vehicles and garage property". Need me some sexy paid-for-DLC. ;-)

    Edit: Spelling.

    Last edited 21/08/13 1:25 pm

    GTA franchise stopped pushing boundaries with IV. For boundaries, look at Saints Row. It picks up where GTA stopped, when it became the target of too many conservative pundits.

      I don't think that's true. They innovate with each new iteration of the series. GTA IV was an attempt to inject realism into the genre, to explore themes with a meaty and serious story. It wasn't an entirely successful endeavour, but they still did a good job with it.

      Chinatown Wars, which came afterward, did the opposite, and showed they still have a decent handle on the insane.

      I don't think you can write off a series based on one game.

      Or, if by boundaries, you mean dick jokes, then yep, Saints Row has you covered.


      You just went full retard. Never go full retard. GTA IV DID push the boundary not in the gameplay, but they were trying out their new game engine and physic system for the awesome graphic and physic of the game. And Rockstar games is DEFINITELY pushing it very far with GTA V.

      If you mean sr pushing the boundaries for cheesey jokes, crap graphic and generic gameplay then yep you are right.

      Last edited 21/08/13 6:28 pm

    I'm gonna take so much weed!!!

    I do weed all the time!!! IRL!

    My parents don't even care!

      I did 4 marijuanas today, that's why my gamertag is xX_420-nO-scOpes-444_Xx


        My brother was put into a coma after injecting 3 marijuanas.
        The first thing he said to me when he woke up was
        "I bet I can do 5"

        Scary stuff.

    Either way, I'm just glad it got an R18+ rating in Australia. This means it IS being released. If they remove the ability to light a joint or smoke a bong, I don't really care. If it becomes incompatible through multiplayer because of the removal of such mundane things, then it becomes an entirely different story.

    But I'm happy........

    Hmm, didn't GTA III get retroactively banned due to the prostitution sequences? I remember in the first release the car would rock from side-to-side but in later releases and subsequent GTA games nothing would happen. That could be more concerning than the drugs in the censor's eyes.

    Australia has been notoriously picky about sex in games for years (for example, Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh - removing the sex footage enabled it to get it past the board, never mind the footage of a character getting killed with a stapler and having their intestines eaten... hmm priorities!)

    Last edited 21/08/13 8:58 pm

    SR4: Take drugs and get superpowers = ban from ACB
    GTAV: There are drugs in the game , but they are not central to the plot = R18+ rating from ACB

    Seriously , the same standards are applied to games as movies now, and what was in SR4 would not make it into a movie here either.

    Anyhow I am looking forward to GTA V since it will be the GTA type game (and it is THE GTA game) I will be able to play with my Australian and American friends at the same time. ( making the coop of SR4 a walled garden rather than just locking AU players out of the mission like they do for DLC missions in other games is a mystery to me, perhaps they WANT to make a fuss so they broke the game more than it needed to get people angry.)

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