A fairly major mistake has been made by the British Board of Film Classification - they've accidentally leaked their classification ruling for GTA IV. It seems that normal procedure is to publish details no earlier than ten days before release - which in the case of GTA IV would be April 19th. Someone pointed out their mistake and the information was pulled, but not before being widely reported around the internet. The information shows us that GTA IV looks to be every bit the hit Rockstar are hoping it will be:
"[i]Grand Theft Auto IV is an open world action adventure game in which the player character is an Eastern European immigrant working for organised crime gangs in a fictitious city in the USA. The game has been rated '18' for strong violence, very strong language, very strong sex references and drugs use."
"Violence is a central theme of the game, with the character able to engage on missions which invariably involving killing in return for money and other in-game rewards. The character can gain use of a variety of weapons including machine guns, Molotov cocktails, a serrated knife and a rocket propelled grenade launcher."
"Injuries and death are shown with blood including blood projected onto nearby walls, windscreens and the camera lens. The character is able to attack and kill any other character in the game, including 'innocent' non player characters, although this carries a strong risk of being pursued by the police providing a negative consequence for such action."
"The game includes several uses of very strong language and frequent use of strong language. The very strong language occurs within 'cut scenes' in which the story and character development take place, in spoof television episodes and during a stand up comedy routine."
"Sex references also occur during cut scenes, including references to strong sexual behaviour. During gameplay the character can pick up prostitutes and pay for three different levels of service. What follows is an un-detailed portrayal of masturbation, fellatio and intercourse. The character can also visit lap dancing clubs and request a private dance. While the game contains sexualised dancing and the portrayal of sex, there is no sexualised nudity."
"Reference is made to drugs trafficking and several cut scenes portray cocaine snorting. There is also a satirical reference to the domestic production of a hard drug, but it does not contain the detail necessary to reproduce this in the real world.
"Grand Theft Auto IV has been classified at '18' and is appropriate for adults aged 18 and above only."
This also begs the question - if the UK are rating it at 18, how will Australia fare?