Update: GTA V (uncensored) has since been granted an R18 rating by the ACB in Australia. Details here.
Australian gamers worried about Grand Theft Auto 5 being outright banned there can breath a sigh of relief if the email capture below (courtesy of Reddit) is to be believed. Via its “Mouthoff” feedback system, Rockstar Games has advised that everyone who pre-orders GTA V in Australia will receive a copy – the inference being that the next iteration of the sometimes controversial GTA game series will not banned Down Under.
The worry stems from the Australian Classification Board’s (ACB) previous stern approach to games like the Grand Theft Auto Series, Left 4 Dead 2, Saint’s Row IV and Manhunt. Concerned gamers have been wondering if GTA 5 would be outright banned (which was always going to be unlikely) or otherwise to what extent it will be censored. At least email above should calm a lot of fears about the first scenario.
Another “positive” for Oz gamers is the R18+ rating which can, as of the start of this year, be given to video games. Previously only films could get an R18+ rating and games an MA15+, meaning that any game above MA15+ would be banned or require censure to bring it within MA15+ guidelines.
For a bit of history, Grand Theft Auto III was originally banned in Australia due to sexual violence involving prostitutes, with a censored version being released later. A PC version was then released uncut. Grand Theft Auto IV for Xbox 360 and PS3 was pre-censored by Rockstar Games and given an MA15+ rating, however the PC version was released unedited and given the same rating. Rockstar then released a patch for the console versions of the game that reversed the censoring originally put in place. The game retained its MA15+ rating.
The bottom line seems to be that Rockstar are on top of things and hopefully actively working with ACB. Whether they submit Grand Theft Auto V uncut and hope for a R18+ or MA15+ rating, or whether it requires some form of censor remains to be seen. The odds of Australian gamers being left “GTA V high and dry” come September 17 though are pretty much non-existent.