This week will see the Australian launch of Grand Theft Auto IV for PC, and in a statement, Rockstar today confirmed to GameSpot AU that unlike the console versions currently on sale, the Australian PC retail release of GTAIV will be sold completely uncensored.
"Grand Theft Auto IV PC has been rated MA15+ strong violence, sex scenes, coarse language, and drug references by the Australian Classification Office. The PC game is unedited in any way and identical in content to the international version," a local Rockstar rep said.
The rules governing the Australian classification system means that once a multiplatform title has been approved fit for sale by the board, publishers are then able to sell the approved version on all subsequent developed platforms. A local Rockstar Games representative was unavailable for comment at time of print as to whether future Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 shipments of the game sold in Australia would feature the uncut content found in the PC version.
The news comes less than a week after Warner Bros. Interactive title F.E.A.R. 2 was refused classification for failing to meet the maximum MA15+ guideline for video games. Being awarded the RC rating effectively bans the title from sale in Australia and marks the fifth title deemed unfit during 2008.
Got it? Not quite huh? Let me explain.
The Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) refused to classify the video game Grand Theft Auto IV earlier this year and as a result of this decision (and the lack of an R18 rating for games), the developers were forced to re-edit certain parts of the game to make it eligible for sale in Australia. It went on sale at the end of April on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 and the Australian gaming community was outraged. So much so, import copies were bought in record numbers (including mine) as people refused to bow to government-imposed censorship.
Now, the PC version is to be released. Completely uncensored. That's right, the OFLC suddenly have no problem whatsoever with the content of the game. For a governmental body, that's mindblowingly inconsistent. (Click on the post title for their official classificaton document)
Amazingly, this isn't new. They have previous form in this regard, right here: http://preparations4birth.blogspot.com/2008/04/my-quest-for-cheap-uncut-violence-part_22.html
Does this make any sense? A game that was deemed to obscene/violent for adults in April suddenly is completely fine in December. What about the five games that were completely refused classification this year? Will they be fine in a few months and be re-released without any edits? WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING HERE?