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Jetsetter: Australia, censorship, and the banning of ‘Saints Row IV’

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Great artists will tell you on the regular that the key to making great art is to make it for yourself first, but that’s not always a realistic end point for people creating art for a living especially when you’ve got to think about the audience. Do you make something for everyone globally, or do you make something for a small group? How do you actually make something that speaks to everyone?

Jetsetter, Digital Trends’ weekly column devoted to import gaming and game development outside the US, exists because it’s impossible to make art that truly speaks to everyone. Even if a game doesn’t directly speak to you, even if it wasn’t made with you in mind, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth experiencing. Broaden those horizons!

Australia continues to be weird about game content

Forget figuring out how to navigate the murky waters of finding your audience when you’re designing a game, it’s hard enough just making sure your game can even legally get released around the world. Just because the ESRB in the US says a game is rated M for Mature audiences, that doesn’t mean everyone agrees. Australia has long had a reputation for ferocious censorship of video games. It was only in 2012 thatthe country started rating games for audiences 18-years-old and up. Before that, games like Grand Theft Auto 4 were simply barred classification in the country and never legally released. Even with R18+ classification, though, Australia is still stopping games from release. Volition’s Saints Row IV was refused just this past week due to “implied sexual violence” and “illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards.”

It is baffling what Australia’s ratings board does and does not consider appropriate. Drug use? That’s right out. A game like Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, a game where gutting human beings is the whole point, is just fine.

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Obsidian lends a hand with Skyforge, a Russian MMO.

Russia loves its MMOs, just look at the crazy following for World of Tanks in the country. Last December, 600,000 Russian citizens were playing that game at the same time. Russian developer Allods Team recognizes a good thing when it sees it, hence why it’s developing Skyforge, a new fantasy MMO that actually looks pretty swell. In a market glutted with World of Warcraft knock offs, generic Korean fantasy MMOs, and dwindling online populations, a polished but familiar game like Skyforge actually stands out.

As reported by Eurogamer, Skyforge has some help in the form of Obsidian Entertainment, the famed RPG developer behind games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. Obsidian is busy cracking away on games like Project Eternity, but its taking time out to help advise Allods on how to bring Skyforge to the rest of the world. It’s a good example of what needs to be done to rethink games for the world stage.

Persona 4
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Persona developer’s parent company hits hard times in Japan.

We love Atlus here at Jetsetter. A lot. So, so much. And not just because of its recent hits like Persona 4 and Catherine. We love Atlus from way back, like when they were pumping out import-only Sega Saturn games like Purikura Daisakusen. So the news that Atlus’ parent company Index is not only under investigation for fraud, but may also have to declare bankruptcy was distressing. What will happen to Persona 5?! Since Atlus is one of the healthiest parts of Index’s business, with a host of popular IPs with global appeal, it’s likely that the studio will be acquired by another company rather than shuttering alongside the parent should it come to that.

Seriously, go play Purikura Daisakusen! And Super Valis IV for Super Nintendo! And all the other amazing stuff Atlus has been pumping out for the past few decades.

More PS Move games from India’s Gameshastra.

The PS Move may not get much love from the biggest game developers out there, but India’s Gameshastra is giving the lonely motion controller it’s due. We just covered the company’s new Kite Fight game here in Jetsetter, and now the company’s got another PS Move game in the works. Dare to Fly actually sounds fairly ingenious. The goal is to make flightless birds like penguins and ostriches actually take to the sky and fly over locales like the Grand Canyon. Flying, motion-controlled ostriches? Not bad, Gameshastra. Dare to Fly hit Europe last week and will come out in India soon.

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Anthony John Agnello
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Anthony John Agnello is a writer living in New York. He works as the Community Manager of and his writing has…
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