Rockstar has produced an edited version of Grand Theft Auto IV for Australia in order to obtain an MA15+ rating.
The Office of Film and Literature Classification awarded the game an MA15+ rating on December 11 last year, advising consumers that the game contains "strong violence, strong coarse language, drug and sexual references".
A Rockstar spokesperson confirmed to Screen Play yesterday that the company had produced a special version of GTA IV to comply with the Australian classification system, which does not currently contain an R18+ rating, but declined to reveal what material had been cut.
The game has been rated R18+ by the British Board of Film Classification, New Zealand's OFLC and the German Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle. It has been rated M17+ by the Entertainment Software Rating board in North America.
The Grand Theft Auto series has a chequered past with the OFLC in Australia.
In 2001, thousands of copies of GTA III were sold before the game was rated and refused classification because players could pick-up prostitutes. An edited version was later released.
2002's Gran Theft Auto: Vice City was also edited for Australian audiences.
In 2005, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has its original MA15+ rating overturned and the game pulled from retail shelves after it was revealed game discs contained a hidden "Hot Coffee" sex mini-game. An edited version rated MA15+ was soon back on sale.
Grand Theft Auto IV is released in Australia on April 29.
Screen Play will devote all of next week's blogs to the game after enjoying hands-on with the blockbuster this week.