South Park: The Stick of Truth has been censored in Australia after being denied classification twice.
The Australian Classification Board first refused to classify South Park: The Stick of Truth in September because of content that exceeded what can be accommodated in an R18+ level game. The game features an “interactive animated sequence” where male characters are captured by aliens and anally probed with phallic objects. This is in reference to the first episode of the first season of South Park, “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe.”
The Board noted that the adult characters in this scene appear to be sedated or asleep, and with the exception of Mr. Slave, give “no indication of explicit or implicit consent,” according to Player Attack.
Another scene features male characters dressed as females at an abortion clinic. The player controls a doctor’s hands and thrusts a wire between the patient’s legs before using a vacuum device. Only a minority of the Board found the scene to be thematically offensive and high in impact because of its interactivity.
The Classification Board refused to classify South Park: The Stick of Truth again in November. While the alien probing and abortion scenes were still present, the Board took issue with the fact that the “modified version includes visually depicted, implied sexual violence.” In the probing scene, the probes “visually resemble penises” and some of the adults are sedated or asleep while other express “both a lack of consent and pain experienced.”
The Australian Classification Board accepted Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s third submission after they removed the probing scene. Stone and Parker replaced the interactive sequence with text descriptions of the actions, which the Board called “comedic in intent.” The text is also accompanied by an image of a crying koala.
Saints Row IV ran into a similar problem as South Park: The Stick of Truth. The Board considered the game’s use of an “alien anal probe” weapon too close to sexual assault. The Board also took issue with an instance of “alien” marijuana that gives the player’s character superpowers. The three-member panel considered this to be an incentive to use drugs.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is scheduled for release on March 4, 2014.