Saints Row 4 was refused classification by the Australian Classification Board due to the appearance of an anal probe weapon and “alien narcotics” in the game.
Yesterday the Board announced that its decision was due to the game’s “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”.
As reported by Kotaku, the Board’s full report goes into further detail on both these issues.
"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'," wrote the Board.
"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."
The Board also took a dim view of the game's drug use, especially as it gives the player character extra abilities.
"The game contains an optional mission which involves the player obtaining and smoking drugs referred to as 'alien narcotics'," it wrote.
"Smoking the 'alien narcotics' equips the player with 'superpowers' which increase their in-game abilities allowing them to progress through the mission more easily."
Gameplanet has contacted the game's Australian and New Zealand distributor to ascertain whether the ruling will impact on the release of Saints Row IV in New Zealand.
While the game has already been rated R18 in New Zealand, it's not clear whether game's Australian distributor will move ahead with local distribution for New Zealand only.