Update: Publisher Deep Silver has released the following statement:
"Deep Silver can confirm that Saints Row IV was denied an age classification in Australia. Volition, the developer, are reworking some of the code to create a version of the game for this territory by removing the content which could cause offence without reducing the outlandish gameplay that Saints Row fans know and love. Saints Row IV has been awarded PEGI 18 and ESRB M ratings where fans can enjoy their time in Steelport as originally intended."
We've replied seeking further clarification as to whether New Zealand will receive the edited version, in spite of the unedited version already being approved for an R18 release.
Original: Saints Row IV has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board.
This makes Saints Row IV the first game to be refused classification under new guidelines that introduced an R18+ classification for videogames in Australia.
According to the board, Saints Row IV has been banned due to depictions of sexual violence and drug use.
In a press release, the Australian Classification Board writes, “Saints Row IV includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.”
Saints Row IV was to be showcased prominently at PAX Australia.
Gameplanet has contacted the game's Australian and New Zealand distributor to ascertain whether this evening’s 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.
At this time, the distributor has no official comment. We will update this article as we learn more.