Australians hoping that the new R18+ ratings system would finally allow them to play the same games the rest of the world is playing (save Germany, which has an even stricter system in place) will be sad to hear that the version of South Park: The Stick of Truth they'll get will be a modified experience.
The game, a collaboration between South Park Studios and Obsidian Entertainment, will be published by Ubisoft in Australia on March 6, 2014. Last week the game was labeled R18+ by the Australian Classification Board. Despite the rating, the game has been modified, according to Ubisoft. What has been changed for the Australian version of the game is unknown at this point.
The ESRB offers this description of the game for the M rated game:
"This is a role-playing adventure game based on the animated South Park TV show. Players assume the role of a new kid in town who embarks on various quests with other boys in the neighborhood. Players can engage in turn-based combat, selecting attacks from a menu screen. Players use various weapons (swords, baseball bats, hammers), magic spells and melee attacks during fights; blood-splatter effects sometimes occur. Cutscenes occasionally depict “cartoony” characters dismembered or decapitated. The game includes several instances of mature humor and sexual material: one extended sequence depicts characters getting anally probed by alien creatures; another sequence (in an abortion clinic) depicts doctors using a vacuum to perform procedures on male characters; one level takes place inside the rectum/colon of a character (sex toys, random objects and fecal matter appear in the level)—all sequences are depicted in a cartoony and over-the-top manner. Characters are occasionally depicted nude (e.g., breasts, buttocks, male genitalia); one extended sequence depicts an out-of-focus couple having sex in the background; as players engage in turn-based battle in the foreground, sexual moaning sounds/dialogue is heard. During the course of the game, drug paraphernalia can be seen strewn around a methamphetamine lab. The words “f**k,” “sh*t,” “a*shole,” and “f*ggot” can be heard in the dialogue."
The only thing we know is what Ubisoft tells Player Attack; Ubisoft would only say that a "slightly modified version of South Park The Stick of Truth has been approved for release in Australia on March 6."
We will have more on this story as it develops, but it's certainly bad news for Australians who simply want to play the same games everyone else is playing without modification. After all, what is the point of the R18+ rating if it keeps adult contents out of the hands of adults?