PAXAus festival is well underway at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Thousands of fans are devouring games of all types, from cards & board games to console and PC video games along with plenty of merchandise and other geek products to be lauded over.
Just off the centre of the main expo floor is a curtained and largely unadorned booth dedicated to Saints Row IV, the latest in the popular open world franchise. Saints Row IV is also the latest in refused classification games in Australia. That decision hasn’t stopped a line forming around the booth waiting an hour to play the game.
We eluded to the idea that prior to the opening of the PAXAus festival that perhaps we might see the Australian Classification Board either overturn its rating of the game, or rate a new version of the code submitted by publisher DeepSilver.
One thing is for sure, the code that PAXAus attendees are playing is modified from the version sold in the rest of the world; however what exactly has been changed is not clear.
Specifically the Classification board was not happy with certain alien weapons that primarily probed particularly private parts of their victims.
Representatives of the game at the Saints Row IV booth were tight lipped on changes that PAXAus players may be experiencing.
“The version that they are playing here has been submitted to the classification board, the original version has also gone in for review to appeal the original decision as well.” Says Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association.
“There are lots of grey areas,” explains Curry “they come between having a federal set of legislation that says that we are here to classify, and then having a set of legislation in [the states] that may not align completely with that. Largely semantics, you can’t demonstrate a game refused classification, but you can demonstrate one [even a modified one] that is awaiting classification.”
“IF PAX was moved from Melbourne to Sydney then there would be different rules, it just goes back to the ALRC recommendation that there be a single classification system”
“So we need a system that says content, in general, will or won’t be classified, if it will then this is how it gets classified, and this is the group that will.” Curry concludes.