Lost & Damned Reverts Australian GTAIV Censorship

In 2008, Grand Theft Auto IV on console was released in Australia in a censored form. No blood pools, no sexy camera angles. In 2009, though? All is forgiven, all censorship, removed.

How? Well, let's just say that for all the complicated legal issues that make Australia's classification laws more cumbersome than most Americans realise, the Classification Board aren't without blame (though, as we'll get to in a minute, neither are Rockstar). They're woefully inconsistent. They'll let some games in for drug use, but outlaw others. They'll refuse classification for a game featuring polygonal dismemberment, but allow one (Gears 2) that lets you literally bathe up to your waist in blood.

And it's that inconsistency that's probably allowed the following crazy events. See, the original Australian version of GTAIV on console was censored (by, it should be noted, Rockstar themselves, to keep things on schedule and avoid delays). Blood was kept to a minimum, and you couldn't enjoy the same kind of intimate viewing experience with ladies of the night as you could elsewhere.

But when the PC version rolled around later in the year (this time submitted for classification by Rockstar uncut), it passed without incident. It did include blood pools, and it also included the full range of sex-related camera angles, despite being the same game intended for the same audience.

Newly-released expansion Lost & Damned is no different. It's been given an MA15+ rating - the highest permissible in the country - and will have all the blood and sex that was deemed unacceptable less than a year ago in the same country.

Leaving us with this absurd situation: If you boot up your 360 copy of GTAIV and play GTAIV, it's censored. But if you boot up your 360 copy of GTAIV and play L&D, you'll get the full, uncensored experience.

Sigh. Blame the Classification Board (whose precedents no doubt encouraged Rockstar's original self-censoring), blame Rockstar, doesn't matter, any way you look at it this is the latest tale in a long line of frustrating tales for Australian gamers.