Deep Silver’s Saints Row 4 has become the first game to be banned in Australia since the introduction of new classification guidelines.
In January the Australian government overhauled its rating system, introducing a new R18+ tier for the first time that was supposed to allow mature games a route to market.
But despite this, the sandbox action title has still not been granted a release.
“The Classification Board classified the game RC (Refused Classification) in accordance with item 1(a) of the National Classification Code and in accordance with the computer games guidelines,” an official statement read.
“In the Board’s opinion, 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.”
Classification Board director Donald McDonald added: “Apart from today’s decision, since the beginning of the year, the Board has classified 17 games R 18+ under the new guidelines.”
A statement from The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, as reported by The Guardian, seemed surprisingly unfussed by the controversial decision.
"Under the new guidelines, we celebrate the fact that adults can now access age-appropriate games which may have otherwise been refused classification, but as we have argued, we also must accept that there will be some video games which will fall outside the scope of the R18+ guidelines,” it said.
"Whether we agree or not with this specific classification, it highlights that the classification system is functioning as it should and that R18+ was never meant to open the ‘floodgates’ for all types of content.”