Saints Row IV
is the first video game to fall foul of Australia's new age rating system, as the game has been refused classification in the country, and will therefore not be permitted to release.
After a long struggle, Australia finally received an over-18 classification for video games
at the start of this year, meaning that 18+ rated games could be released in the country. However, the Australian Classification Board can still choose to refuse classification for a game outright if it is deemed necessary.
The board says that 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."
This is the first game to be refused classification since the new rating system began. The board's acting director Donald McDonald was keen to stress that 17 games rated 18+ have been released in Australia under the new guidelines.
The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, an industry organization that represents video game companies in Australia and New Zealand, noted that some video games will fall outside of the scope of the R18+ guidelines.
"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," the IGEA statement said.
"There will always be a 'settling in' period where all stakeholders strive to find an appropriate middle ground. Currently, we're at the 'high water' mark where there's a natural inclination to err on the side of caution."