Censored version eventually rated R18+
Over atIGN, three reports have been obtained detailing the difficulties Ubisoft had with securing a ratings classification for South Park: The Stick of Truthby the Australian Classifications Board, before finally receiving an R18+ rating.
In the reports, the ACB references depictions of child sexual abuse and other content “…which due to the interactive nature of the sequence, warranted complete refusal of classification.” The board additionally stated“[i]mplied sexual violence that is visually depicted, interactive, not justified by context or related to incentives or rewards is not permitted.”
The scene which, according to the ACB, depicts child sexual abuse titled Alien Probing features “…buttock-nude male characters, captured by aliens, repeatedly having an oversized, phallic probe thrust into their buttocks. The probe is repeatedly thrust in and out, mimicking sexual thrusting and accompanied by squelching sound effects.”
The scene that contains the additional thematic content, that warranted refusal, takes place in an abortion clinic and features the player taking hands-on control of a doctor.
“The player controls the doctor’s hands and repeatedly thrusts a length of wire between the patient’s splayed legs (implicitly to bring about an abortion) before applying a vacuum device to the patient’s genital region (below screen),” explains the report. “A minority of the Board is of the view that, due to the interactively of this sequence, it is very high in impact and offends against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that it should not be classified.”
In the numerous failed attempts to get the game classified in Australia by Ubisoft, the ACB did acknowledge that it was aware that the content in the game was based on similarscenesfrom the television show and are“satirical in tone and intent,” but do to the interactive nature exceeded“what can be accommodated within the R18+ guidelines.”
Eventually, a heavily modified version was deemed acceptable for the ACB’s R18+ rating on November 21. Text describing the scenes has now replaced what gamers in other territories –like North America — will see during these parts. Furthermore, as noted by the ACB, these updated scenes “….are accompanied by a still image of a koala crying and the word “censored” written in large red text.”
South Park: The Stick of Truth is slated to release on March 4, 2014 in North America.