Anal Probes and Australia: What happened down under with Saints Row 4
After nailing Volition's Saints Row IV (or Saints Row 4) with a virtual kiss of death, "Refused Classification" rating, the Australian Classification Board has isued a statement providing a more in-depth explanation behind the logic for the game's rating.
The legalese phrase, "interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context" leave a lot to the imagination, but in a statement published on Kotaku, it's actually in reference to a a single, measely weapon. As the statement puts it:
"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."
It's basically exactly what you'd expect an alien anal probe to be capable of, coupled with the same sort of cartoonish, juvenile results seen in many other games featuring butt humor. I'll be trademarking that phrase later today, FYI. Apparently, the Australian Classification Board doesn't find the humor in it, as, "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."
And here I was thinking that the promise of unwanted butt play was a big deterrent to being a villain in the first place.
Oddly enough, this exact sort of weapon has been employed in other games that made it "down under" (meaning Australia, for you with deviant minds) with out any problems. An anal probe weapon has been employed in every single one of the Destroy All Humans games, and never encountered any problem with the Classification Board, and these games were all introduced long before the R18+ ratings system was introduced. Of course, the Saints Row series does have a bit more of a scandalous reputation. Leave it to the game franchise whose legacy is a giant dildo bat to cause problems.
Australia recently added in a new rating to their system so that more "adult oriented" titles could come in to the country. Prior to the recently introduced R18+ rating, any game that the Board felt exceeded a rating of MA15 was given a "refused classification" rating, and effectively banned. Games that have met with this fate in years past have included Manhunt, Mortal Kombat, Left 4 Dead, Silent Hill, and even Marc Ecko's Getting Up. Despite the new rating, the Board still maintains a policy to dole out the "refused classification" label on games that they feel fall outside of "acceptable content guidelines."
As a direct result of this policy, Deep Silver and Volition will me modifying the game to resubmit it to the board, likely with all the content the Board took issue with removed. Sorry Australia, but at least you still have the wub wub gun.
Saints Row IV is still expected to arrive in August on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.