The Australian Classification Board has announced that Saints Row IV has become the first video game to be Refused Classification in Australia under the new Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games that came into effect on January 1, 2013.
The Board made the decision, which results in the game being banned from sale in Australia, because the game “includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context”, as well as “elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards”.
The humourously-named Acting Director of the Classification Board, Mr Donald McDonald, made note that “[apart] from today’s decision, since the beginning of the year, the Board has classified 17 games R18+ under the new guidelines.”
It was clear from the outset that Saints Row IV was going to be an over-the-top, almost-facetious game, but the presence of “sexual violence” makes me wonder just how far Volition have gone. Adding the word “interactive” to the front of that – meaning that it’s a part of gameplay – is nothing short of disturbing, especially considering that sexual violence is something that society in general is trying to stamp out.
Saints Row IV will be released for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on August 20 in America and August 23 in Europe.