Well we can’t say we didn’t see it coming. Apparently the Austrailian Classification Review Board has ruled to attach the RC (Refused Classification) rating to Saints Row 4. Games that have this particular rating are not allowed to be sold, hired, demonstrated or advertised in the country by law.
It was a unanimous decision by the three-member panel of the review board that Saints Row 4 could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.
I really have to ask though, what’s the point of having an 18+ rating now? How old do you have to be to be able to play Saints Row safely? 40? Because to be honest a lot of gamers nowadays are actually reaching that age.
It’s still possible to import the game, although shipping in RC content can be risky, as if it gets caught by customs you can be fined for up to $110,000. That still doesn’t stop a lot of people from importing anyway.
Volition is working hard on an ‘Aussie’ friendly version which will be resubmitted for review sometime soon. I’m actually eager to see if Volition can pull some kinds of shenanigans with this. Maybe they’ll turn all the cocaine into Pop-Rocks or something.
You can check out the official statements here and here. They really seem to be uptight about this drug business, because Ninja Gaiden 3: Razors Edge was just allowed in under the R 18+ rating and there’s a pretty heavy amount of violence present there.
There is also a great deal of discrepancy between what’s permitted in a R 18+ movie and a R 18+ game due to the ‘interactivity’ of videogames making them more capable of influencing the player.