After being refused a rating by the Australian Classification Board, Saints Row IV was finally rated "MA 15+" last week. To obtain the rating, publisher Deep Silver and developer Volition had to remove an entire mission from the Australian version of the game. The 20-minute loyalty mission is reported to have used "alien narcotics" as a power-up - something the Australian ratings board found unacceptable.
Though regrettable, the loss of the mission was a minor concession for the Australian market. Today, however, Deep Silver revealed that the same changes made to the Australian version of the game have also locked Australian gamers out of co-op with international players.
In a post to the Saints Row Facebook page, Deep Silver announced that the Australian version of Saints Row IV is now different from versions being released in the ESRB, USK, and PEGI regions. As such, those playing the Australian copy of the game won't be able to co-op with players from other regions.
The announcement also commented on the "Alien Anal Probe" weapon, saying that it was always planned as DLC. Deep Silver is still waiting to hear whether the weapon can be released at all in Australia.
The statement, in full:
To our fans in Australia:
After Saints Row IV was refused a classification in Australia, we appealed this decision. Despite our appeal, that decision was eventually upheld at the start of this week. The Australian Classification Board has now finally approved our slightly edited version with an MA 15+ rating.
For this version, we had to cut one optional Loyalty Mission from the game. Loyalty Missions are optional side missions that you can do with your homies. This mission in particular involves alien narcotics in the simulation, which eventually have a positive effect in terms of gameplay. As you cannot depict any positive effect for using narcotics in video games in Australia, this was the reason the game was refused a classification.
While we are very proud of all our different missions, we do feel that Saints Row IV on the whole remains largely the same without this single optional mission, and we also feel that you deserve to know what you are getting in Australia. Due to the changes we were forced to make, this version is different than the version rated by rating boards like the ESRB, USK, and PEGI, which is why it will be incompatible with those versions in co-op.
As for the "Rectifier" weapon that was mentioned as an "alien anal probe" weapon recently -- it launches enemies into the sky -- this is and always has been a bonus weapon for the Season Pass. At this point in time we are still awaiting details on whether we can include it in the Season Pass in Australia or not.
Of course we would have very much preferred to have been able to offer our Australian community everything as planned, but we also still want to offer the option to get Saints Row IV in their home country; alas without the single side mission.