The Classification Board Might Have A Problem With South Park: The Fractured But Whole

GIF: Kotaku

After being unavailable for a while last year, Ubisoft finally made South Park: Fractured But Whole available for pre-order to Australians. But judging by some of the footage coming out of E3 this year, there's a chance the Classification Board might take issue with the game.

The scene in question happens in the Peppermint Hippo Strip Club, where the player and a fellow superhero are looking for a dancer with a specific tattoo. The only way to find those dancers is to get into the VIP room. The player starts out by talking to strippers near the bar, but the strippers pointedly tell the player that they're too young to be in the strip bar.

At that point your fellow superhero says they've found a couple of guys and to "just play along". Playing along then results in a lap dancing mini-game, which culminates in ripping a fart directly into someone's face:

GIF: Kotaku

You can see the scene in full below, including the segments after the mini-game. There's a battle scene afterwards and a line about the kids spiking someone's drink with "something really strong".

With The Stick of Truth, the developers had to censor multiple scenes featuring the player, and other NPCs, being anally penetrated by alien probes. Another censored scene took place at an abortion clinic, where the player performs a faux abortion on Randy to avoid capture.

We don't know how many Fractured But Whole scenes are as risque as the scene the Peppermint Hippo Strip Club. There's already a few red flags as far as the Classification Board would be concerned though: the fact that minors are performing simulated sexual acts (even if they and the player knows otherwise, the NPCs they're grinding on don't), their exposure to alcohol and the principle of spiking someone's drink to get them out of the way.

Some Australians who played Fractured But Whole at E3 raised the issue with Ubisoft. In the background of this video from Skill Up, a local YouTuber, the Ubisoft representative said "we're in a lot of conversations with the age rating boards in Australia" (see 1m 17s below).

Fractured But Whole is due out on October 17, which leaves Ubisoft and their developers plenty of time to knock up a koala in a cape or something appropriate if they can't convince the Classification Board to let the game be released in Australia. Given that it wasn't possible for The Stick of Truth, and NPCs are talking about their boners while kids grind on their laps, it's possible the censors might have a bit of a problem with this.

We reached out to Ubisoft's local team to ask for more clarification on the discussions they were having with the Classification Board, and if there was any likely changes needed for Fractured But Whole to be released in Australia. We didn't hear back by the time of writing, but I'll update this article if they get back to us with a statement.


    I ordered to first game from Amazon to get around the censorship, had a feeling I might have to this time around too.

    So why even bother with an R rating anymore? Might as well revert back to the old days where the highest level a game could be rated was MA.

      Think you'll find that suggested date rape drug usage and minors with alcohol are things that even an R18+ rating won't excuse away. Throwing in said minors simulating sex acts on adults and we're suddenly in "no #(%'ing way" territory.

      But hey, people will get angry about the nanny state fun nazis and stuff again. Right?

        Movies seem to get away with that content just fine.

          "They are not interactive to it has less impact" or some such is the excuse.

            Yeah I was waiting for that response. The R rating is a R rating in name only, it's just a fancy MA.

            The ratings shouldn't differ as much as they do from the movie classifications.

              Or TV shows. South Park has these sort of scenes all the time and is generally only MA. I don't mind censorship when it's well-documented and well-read ones but games still get the short end of the stick in Australia.

              The R rating serves a purpose. A huge amount (somewhere near 75% from memory) of games getting rated MA were rated for higher ages overseas. So getting the rating allowed those games to have a proper category than just scrape into MA.

              I still think we shouldn't censor R stuff as much still. Especially satire stuff like this.

                True... it's a good thing, keeping harsh content away from 15 year olds.

                Unfortunately, it has a moral glass ceiling, set in place many, many years ago.

          pretty sure even a film depicting a child giving an adult a lap dance would get banned in Australia.

          Show me a movie that was released in Australia where a child grinds on an adult's lap while pretending to be a stripper, then uses a date rape drug on them, or a scenario remotely close to that, and your argument might hold some water.

              That's actually pretty close. I'd have to watch it to be able to comment with any authority, the premise actually looks interesting. Has a Sleuth(1972) feel about it.

              About all I could say is that the protagonist is 14, that's a very different level of agency compared to the age of the kids in South Park, from memory their in universe age began at 8 and is what, now 9 or 10? According to the release page at imdb, it also appears only to have been shown at the Sydney Film Festival, hardly a wide release. Video games are for children, remember?

              I'm actually ok with the Classification Board taking a good, long, hard look at this. I doubt this would be the only scene to which they would object.

        It's a really fine line. You could argue that it's animation and doesn't even look realistic. But then that opens the argument for other animated acts to be considered ok. As in, at what point does animation become realistic enough to count as porn.

        I think in this case they should be letting it through, but I can understand the censors using the "slippery slope" logic.

          South Park itself has a long history of causing the FCC no end of troubles, proudly proclaiming they have never had their original submission approved for a single episode.
          The episode in which they counted out over 100 uses of the word shit was in defiance of similar restrictions placed on them.

          As a TV show its aired at night to lower the chance of children seeing, it's established itself and its context is easily defined.
          But yeah, as a game I can see why it's not gonna fly over the Outback.
          So many factors to take in to account that "it's just SouthPark" doesn't cut it sadly.
          Many of us get it, but where do you begin to set the boundary for what is basically uncharted ground in many ways.

          God I love that show and it's ridiculousness.

            The boundary is for consenting, informed adults surely. They dont have to force censorship, or if they feel they do, why not create an AO or X rating as R obviously isn't adult enough?

              Thing is an AO, X or any other further ratings would be subject to the same rules believe it or not.
              Drug use with beneficial effects would still be there, as would children in a sexual situation and simulated rape.

              The R rating has never been anything more than MA with relaxed rulings on some forms of violence.

              I'm with you, I believe it's up to people to properly monitor their children's intake of entertainment to avoid them playing games that aren't suited for them.
              But I've also seen parents buy games for their kids and can count on one hand those who even bother to use the ratings.

              @Simocrates answered this perfectly. Anything with kids involved is blanket banned. Has nothing to do with consenting, informed adults. It's basically considered child porn.

              What I was getting at is this (the southpark game) is blatantly ridiculous and pretty non-sexual so it should probably be considered differently to say, the teen girl love anime @Simocrates refers to. But like I said, I suspect the censors would just take a blanket approach because they are too scared to take a more considered, case by case approach.

              Side note: When are the comments going to be fixed? Getting tired of these random errors when trying to post. Having to logout and back in again. Losing comments in the process :(

          Simulating sexual acts or acts that can be perceived as sexual in nature with minors regardless of whether they are drawings or real people is classified as child porn. Now The average person won't see it that way because context however legislation doesn't worry about such things.

          Also FYI to anyone who watches those cartoon Japanese documentaries where the female is in high school or looks like they are 12 is also considered child porn in Australia.

            I agree with your first point. That's why I was saying they should consider the particular content rather than just banning it outright without thinking. But I doubt they will.

            Interestingly a lot of the Japanese "school" anime aren't school like we think (kids in high school). From what I remember they actually wear uniforms in college so (depending on the show) you're actually watching adults not children. That said, some of them are a bit creepy.

          Except the "slippery slope" is a logic fallacy, therefore should not really be acceptable as an argument.

          As has been pointed out numerous times (both previously and in this very article) the highly arbitrary and subjective manner in which supposedly "objective" rules are applied to rate or censor content is quite ridiculous.

            Doesn't matter, the govt and censorship board don't view it that way. And yes I agree they're pretty ridiculous about their interpretation of rules.

      honestly, the entire rating system is fucked here. Stuff like Monty Python and the life of Brian, which has stuff like nudity, racism, constant swearing etc is only M (13+). But Vacation, which only has Swearing is MA. Weird.

        Sure, but LOB was released in 1979 and the MA rating wasn't introduced until 1993. The choice was either M or R. You don't get re-classified just because a new rating is introduced.

        Same as plenty of older games were only MA15+ because we didn't have an R-rating.

    There was an unofficial patch to de-censor the game (they didn't remove the scenes from the data), so hopefully same thing happens.

      Really? That sounds like Hot Coffee waiting to happen all over again.

    soon as i saw that on the e3 gameplay trailer i knew i wouldnt be able to buy the game here, just like the last one.

    Good thing I already ordered a overseas copy last year getting an uncensored Stick of Truth was a nice bonus.

    Matt and Trey wont compromise on the content they put in their work. To quote the show about censorship "either everything is ok or nothing is". In general i have found they are reasonably intelligent with there jokes around taboo subjects, though they can be crass too. I hope that they censore their work on quality grounds, i.e. not having content for shock laughs, as it's not really that good humour anyway (again something they have addressed in the show). At the end of the day, it will likely be censored here but for those who want the original, it wont be that hard to get. And if it being censored or the content itself pisses you off, relax, sit back and actually think about why you're annoyed and what you can do to positively add to the debate around censorship

    Being honest, I think the crying koala was funnier than the anal probe scene... but yeah, high time that R ratings get somewhat more lax IMO.

      LOL, take a look at the current board members and tell me that you expect those jerks to be lax -

      Half of them look like bleeding heart 'save the precious children from the internet nasties'-type of people.

      Reading the bios, there's only a few that I'd expect to be more liberal in their classification interpretations.

        To be fair, most people who don't fit into the bleeding heart category have better things to do with their time than to try to impose censorship of computer generated animations on others based on their own personal moral beliefs.

          Oh don't worry, they get paid to do it!

          I sometimes check out the website to see if any new positions have come up.

          If I'm ever a board member things will get very interesting indeed!

            There's unpaid volunteer positions as well, right?

              I don't think so. There are board members and temporary board members, which are kind of like casual/contract positions as far as I know. Seeing as it's a statutory body I'd say there would be a good budget for salaries and entitlements.

      I feel the same. The crying koala image, along with the plain text explanation of what was happening in those scenes still brought the laughs. They'll think of something to fill the gaps again if the classification board wants something cut.

    So buy it overseas, uncensored, and at a lower price.

    That's the Australian way.


    This is Australia also known as "Nanny state of must protect the peoples". Even with the r18+ classification we now have did anyone actually expect this to get through unscathed?

      The implementation of the R18+ category is a joke. All they did was take games that would have barely scraped into the MA15+ category and put them in R18+ instead. The vast majority of material they wouldn't classify before, they still refuse to do so. There has been no reduction in censorship in Australia since it was introduced, but rather an increase in it.

        Hah.... that doesnt even include some of the most inane decisions..

        Such as them putting one of the Atelier games plus rerelease as an R from the original PG because.... *gasp* they added in the beach sidestory dlc!

    And the awesome thing is that when this game is inevitably refused classification Kotaku will have to remove the videos of it... YAY CENSORSHIP!

    We don't know how many Fractured But Whole scenes are as brusque as the scene the Peppermint Hippo Strip Club.

    Did you mean risque rather than brusque?

    To be fair they *didn't* censor the sequence in the first game where you are miniaturized and have to fight the underpants gnomes beneath two people having sex, periodically causing an interruption of the battle where you have to dodge an incoming dangling set of balls.

    So you never know.

    The more annoying thing was that Australia's steam copies had a bug that also applied the German censoring, so the nazi zombies didn't yell recordings of Hitler.

    Just give it an R rating and be done with it. We see this kind of comedy in the show on a weekly basis.

    This game offends me, thus I wish it to be banned in Australia so no Australian can enjoy it, because I'm an offended snowflake...

    Are the govt so stupid as to not realise how simple buying the US version is? Whether it be from PSN, XBL, Steam or TPB, anyone with a brain can do it. The ACB has no say in what I read, play or watch - none. They're an obsolete department and have no relevancy in 2017. We pay these morons to censor our entertainment choices.

    Benefits of a US account:
    No censorship
    Cheaper VS Aus Psn, 20 dollarsin this case.
    Best of all I get Stick of truth right away. Thisis not limited to the US. As far as i can tell ONLY Australians miss out on downloading Stick of truth immediately after purchase.

    Here we go from the Ubisoft website

    "If you decide to buy South Park: The Fractured But Whole digitally after the release (October 2017) from either PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace, Steam or other eligible PC digital stores*, you will receive South Park The Stick of Truth immediately as download unlock for your platform"

    "Australian customers – Note that the Stick of Truth offer will be available on digital platforms closer to the release of The Fractured But Whole."

    Presumably they have to re-censor the PS4 version.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now