You Won't Believe Why Saints Row IV Was Banned In Australia

Never have I read an official government report that includes the words "alien anal probe". That's one of the reasons that Saints Row IV copped a ban from the Classification Board. Read on, if you dare.

So Saints Row IV was Refused Classification for “interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context”, and “elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards”.

Our friends over at Kotaku tipped us off about the Classification Board has described those two issues in detail now, and it makes for...interesting reading.

On the "alien anal probe" weapon:

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.

On weird "alien narcotics":

The game contains an optional mission which involves the player obtaining and smoking drugs referred to as “alien narcotics”. Smoking the “alien narcotics” equips the player with “superpowers” which increase their in-game abilities allowing them to progress through the mission more easily. The mission requires players to locate and kill a drug “dealer” to “score something to boost (them) up for killing”. During the mission onscreen prompts guide the player to “Go to deal location” and “Get drugs”. One character describes that the drug, referred to during the mission as an “alien narcotic”, will “enhance abilities on top of giving you a really wicked buzz”. After killing the dealer the player is depicted implicitly smoking from what appears to be a small glass pipe. The drugs they obtain from the first dealer do not achieve the desired effects and the player locates and kills a second dealer. After killing this dealer the player is again depicted implicitly smoking from a small glass pipe. Within moments the player begins to feel the effects of the drug, commenting “(my) powers feel limitless”, “(I) feel like every muscle inside me is going to burst” and “holy crap we have superpowers”. The player then embarks on a mission to locate and kill an enemy character and is depicted using superpowers which include increased speed and jumping abilities.
In the Board’s opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the “alien narcotic” available in the game and real-world proscribed drugs. The Board notes that the label “narcotics” is commonly assigned to describe a class of real-world drugs that include such proscribed substances as cocaine and heroin. In addition, the means by which the drugs are obtained (from a street dealer) and the method of administration (smoked using a small glass pipe) parallel realworld scenarios and, when used, the drug provides quantifiable benefits to a player’s character. This game therefore contains drug use related to incentives and rewards and should be Refused Classification.

One of the issues relates to an item and the other to a side-mission. It's feasible to think that by removing them both, the game could slide through the Classification Board with an R18+ rating. In the meantime, we can laugh hysterically. [Kotaku]

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    Laugh hysterically and buy the game online... *shrug*

    Possibly someone on the Classification Board has been "anal probed" one to many times and is sensitive to the topic...

    Nothing wrong with probing or aliens in my opinion ... Still why anyone buys games from Australian retail baffles me anyway.

      The people who feel somehow limited by the clASSification boards decision.

    I don't like the sound of the probes.... they could of just done without it IMO

    Looks like I'll be buying this from overseas then!

    Yeah that's rape. That's gonna get your game banned.

    But movies with rape scenes are fine.

      It would depend on the context. I'm pretty sure a rape comedy would struggle to get by the board.

        Little Nicky has a scene in it where Satan insert a pineapple up Hitlers ass, leaves first. That is most certainly rape. That film was rated M15+.

          Not to mention the countless prison rape references in various movies and TV shows. After all, the board complained about 'implied' sexual assault.

          Last edited 26/06/13 1:46 pm

            C'mon zombie jesus, read the post and the comment thread
            From the OFLC
            visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context
            From ajm
            It would depend on the context.


              I read it. I've also played the SR games and a gun as described fits perfectly into the context of the game. Interactivity, as I've argued elsewhere, is an excuse. So rather, I don't agree with the board's assessment.

                it may fit with the context of the game, but probing someone/civilians for laughs is not a context that the OFLC sees as reasonable. Prison rape is okay, as it's not done for laughs.

                Full disclosure - I have never played the game and should probably shut up

                EDIT - I just re-read what I wrote, I'm not condoning prison rape

                Last edited 28/06/13 5:02 pm

    The thing that gets me, and proves that the system is still fundamentally flawed is that the ACB allowed Mortal Kombat to be classified and hence be released legally in this country but if the ACB still had to abide by the guidelines set before the introduction of the R18+ classification then why was Mortal Kombat allowed in the first place?

    Lol. What a joke. Great way to support piracy and international sales. Smart move Australia. What happened to the 18+ rating. What even adults can make a judgment call.

    So what the hell is the point of R18+ classification? Might as well have left it as it was.

    So I'm assuming the CB has never seen an episode of Family Guy called Stewie Loves Lois? The game sounds like it is clearly presenting the "alien anal probe" in a non-sexual manner, unless they assume that all acts of anal penetration - including prostate exams and colonic irrigations, for example - are sexual. The only question mark would be that the probe has a piece that "…appears to be a large dildo…", but since a dildo-shape is a highly efficient one for entering large body cavities (obviously), it's also a valid shape for a device designed to enter the anus for non-sexual purposes?

    They're clearly over-reaching, and looking for sexual content where it isn't there. Very poor decision, there.

    The drug use stuff may be justifiable, but it sounds like if they called them "alien herbs", it might get through, since it seems the use of the word "narcotics" is what pissed the CB off.


      Not to mention the episode of Family Guy where the father suggests raping his daughter.

      Father: "I'm going to do something you won't remember until you're 40!"
      Daughter: *screams and runs off*
      Father: "I was only talking about sex!"
      (Paraphrase, since I can't remember the exact dialogue).

      Bunch of fucking inconsistent twats, the OFLC.

    Re: Drugs.

    Why is it OK for cold blooded murder to be committed, yet it's not OK to take drugs? Surely both are completely illegal acts?

      Or for that matter, why can't 18+ adults be trusted to play a game that involves drug use, but we can be trusted to witness far more explicit drug use in film or literature. Makes no sense. Interactivity is an excuse.

    Southpark Season 1 Episode 1...

    nuff said

    Laugh hysterically at gratuitous sexual violence?

    Do you have any idea what you sound like when you say something like that?

    Luke, any response to the recent article claiming that "Ban of Saints Row IV was justified, say gamers"

    Once again the ratings board is completely inconsistent. I have got to believe that the person/committee that makes these decisions varies constantly and that SRIV simply dropped by on an bad day when Mr. Fusspot McCrankyPants and Mrs. Creakybones Deadinside were the ones in charge.

    If Prototype, a game in which you can EAT CIVILIANS can get passed, I find it hard to believe that SRIV is horribly objectionable to them.

    sigh...I just love playing the US steam account gifting game.

    Detailed answer sounds legit/plausible/justifiable to me. I guess I'm not as desensitised to mindless violence and depictions of sexual violence as others though. *shrugs*

    Banned cause you can fly airplanes into buildings XD

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