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Censored Saints Row 4 receives MA15+ rating in Australia

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A censored version of Violition's upcoming open-world game Saints Row 4 received an MA15+ rating in Australia today, publisher Deep Silver and AIE announced.

The original game was refused classification in June, specifically because of an alien narcotic and a weapon called an Alien Anal Probe. The weapon was flagged by the Board due to "interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context." The "rectifier weapon" will remain in the game as part of a DLC package, according to Deep Silver, saying it "stands by this decision and thanks the Australian Classification Board for their assistance with this matter."

The approved censored version of Saints Row 4 omits a mission where players obtain and smoke drugs referred to as "alien narcotics." The narcotics awards the player with superpowers which increase in-game abilities. The Board flags the use of in-game drugs to provide the player with incentives, "quantifiable" benefits and rewards. According to the decision report, there was insufficient differentiation between real world drugs, such as cocaine and heroine, and the alien narcotic, which is obtained through a street dealer and smoked through a pipe.

"Deep Silver and AIE are pleased to report that the Australian Classification Board has now approved Saints Row 4 for sale," the official Deep Silver statement reads. "They have granted the game an MA15+ rating. To achieve this rating one loyalty mission featuring the character Shaundi has been removed. This mission has been widely reported on and contains the use of alien narcotics to obtain certain superpowers."

"This mission represents approximately 20 minutes of gameplay out of the hours available to purchasers," the statement continues. "The removal of this mission has no negative impact on the story or the superpowers and will not detract from the enjoyment players will get from their Saints Row 4 experience."

Yesterday, Grand Theft Auto 5 received an R18+ rating, the first in the Grand Theft Auto series to receive an R18+ rating in Australia following the introduction of new classification guidelines for video games on Jan. 1, 2013.

Last week, an amended version of Undead Labs' open-world zombie survival title State of Decay launched on Xbox Live Arcade in Australia. The original game was refused classification by the Board late last month because it contained use of "illicit or proscribed drug use" as incentives in the game, which is prohibited by the guidelines.

Saints Row 4 will be released Aug. 20 in North America and Aug. 22 in Australia for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC.