Yesterday, we confirmed that Saints Row 4 has been Refused Classification in Australia – today, we can tell you why. Those of you who were expecting it to be something typically over-the-top are right on the money – the Board objects (among other things) to the game’s inclusion of an “Alien Anal Probe”.
From the Board’s report:
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 Board goes on to explain that the weapon can be used on innocent civilian bystanders as well as enemy characters – and that neither attack is sufficiently justified by context.
The weapon has been designed “to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians” – and in doing so, creates a visual depiction of interactive, implied sexual violence.
That’s just one reason for the Board’s decision to refuse classification of Saints Row IV. Another key factor considered by the Board is the use of illicit or proscribed drugs within the game:
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.
This inclusion of – arguably – real-world illicit or proscribed drugs in a way which benefits the in-game character was traditionally enough to get a game Refused Classification in Australia. It’s the same thing which got the original version of Fallout 3 effectively banned, until Bethesda removed all references to “morphine”.
Publisher Deep Silver is reportedly modifying the game to remove the offensive content, with the intention of resubmitting an Australian edition of Saints Row IV for classification in the near future.