Saints Row 4, Volition‘s super power-themed follow-up to Saints Row: The Third has been refused classification in Australia. As a result, games retailers will not be able to market or sell the game on store shelves. In other words, Australia’s Classification Board has banned Saints Row 4.
This might come as a shock for its implications in Australia, but to anyone that’s every played a Saints Row title or seen any of the game’s trailers it’s not all that surprising. The series has come to be known for over the top, crude humor — the type of stuff that makes ratings boards easily balk.
At the same time, if Saints Row: The Third can get past the Australian Classification Board, it’s hard to imagine Saints Row 4 wouldn’t. Our preview of the game at this past E3 proved that Saints Row 4 is more of an expansion pack than anything else.
Some of the prohibited material the Board deemed unworthy of classification included “interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context, and elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards.” Under the Classification Board’s newest rules, such depictions are prohibited in video games.
Coincidentally, this ban comes in the same year that the Australian Classification Board created the R18+ rating, which outlines games geared towards adults. Previously, Australia did not have an adults only classification and since the ratings creation, 17 titles have carried the R18+ designation. Unfortunately Saints Row 4, at least at this point, will not make it 18.
All hope isn’t lost, though, as there is an appeal process within the Classification board. Perhaps certain changes could be made to the finished product so it can release in Australia.
While this isn’t the end of the world, it’s likely a disappointing circumstance for Saints Row‘s new publisher Deep Silver, who acquired the IP in the THQ bankruptcy auction. Since their acquisition of the property, Deep Silver has been promoting Saints Row 4 much like THQ would, with outlandish trailers and tons of dubstep.
Do you think that a ban in Australia will impact Saints Row 4‘s sales around the globe? Or does the ban help sales potential?
Saints Row 4 releases August 23, 2013 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.