Games Censorship: South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013)


 

 

 

 

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Developed by Obsidian Entertainment / 2013 / France / MobyGames

SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH was first listed in the Classification Board's database when it received an R18+ (High impact crude humour, sex scenes and references to sexual violence) rating on December 12 2013. Despite there being no other entries, the game was listed as being 'modified'.

It was soon revealed that there had been three previous submissions, two of which had been Refused Classification.

 

Jessica Citizen at Playerattack.com and Luke Reilly at au.ign.com both obtained the first three reports from the Classification Board. Their in-depth articles are quoted extensively below.

South Park: The Stick of Truth – the offensive bits
playerattack.com, December 18, 2013

Anal Probes Caused South Park: The Stick of Truth’s Pain Down Under
au.ign.com, December 19, 2013

 

 

Submission #1: September 19, 2013 - Banned

This entry was originally missing from the Classification Board's database. It was eventually added under the title SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH / CODENAME.

 

Refused Classification
Reason: Games 1(a)&(b)The computer game is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code, Computer Games Table, 1.
(a) as computer games that "depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified," and
(b) "describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not)."

 

 

South Park: The Stick of Truth – the offensive bits
playerattack.com , December 18, 2013

The Board acknowledged that South Park the Stick of Truth is "satirical in tone and intent", but agrees that certain content within the game exceeds what can be accommodated at the R18+ level.

An "interactive animated sequence" featured in the game is simply titled "Alien Probing", and includes just about everything you'd expect. Male characters are captured by aliens and stripped buttock-nude before "repeatedly having an oversized, phallic probe thrust into their buttocks", mimicking sexual movements and accompanied by "squelching" sound effects.

The adult characters' voices and comments suggest that they are sedated or deeply asleep and, while one character, Mr Slave, seems to find the probing pleasurable and says "can we try the big silver one again," no indication of explicit or implicit consent is viewed in the sequence.

The characters are secured to the tables and unable to escape, and - with the notable exception of Mr Garrison's "friend" Mr Slave - are seen to loudly protest the probing, complaining "Not that way!", "Oh God no! Shut it off!" and "no no no that kills! Switch it back!".

Even when on the receiving end of an anal probe, the player character - known only as "the new kid" - does not speak (he does grimace in pain at this point, however). Once the procedure is complete and the probe is removed, Randy Marsh (Stan's dad) comments that "This is the kind of stuff you put up with living in a remote mountain town".

While the probe is inserted, the player is given instructions to bring about a "dragonshout" which, if carried out successfully, causes the new kid character to fart flames which causes the probe to be destroyed. The probe breaks off in the new kid's anus.

There is also another scene which a minority of the Board found both thematically offensive, and very high in impact, particularly due to its interactivity.

Set inside an abortion clinic, male characters are dressed as females. The player controls the doctor's hands and repeatedly thrusts a length of wire between the patient's splayed legs (implicitly to bring about an abortion) before applying a vacuum device to the patient's genital region

 

 

Anal Probes Caused South Park: The Stick of Truth’s Pain Down Under
au.ign.com, December 19, 2013

The Classification Board notes in its September 19 report “pursuant to the Guidelines for the Classification of computer games, computer games will be refused classification if they contain: Descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or who appears to be, a child under 18 years.”

The Board reiterates that “[i]mplied sexual violence that is visually depicted, interactive, not justified by context or related to incentives or rewards is not permitted.”

The problem section was an “interactive animated sequence titled Alien Probing [which] features buttock-nude male characters, captured by aliens, repeatedly having an oversized, phallic probe thrust into their buttocks. The probe is repeatedly thrust in and out, mimicking sexual thrusting and accompanied by squelching sound effects.”

“While one character, Mr Slave, seems to find the probing pleasurable and says “can we try the big silver one again” no indication of explicit or implicit consent is viewed in the sequence,” the report continues. “The characters are secured to the tables and comments made by the probed characters include “Not that way!”, “Oh God no! Shut it off!” and “no no no that kills! Switch it back!”

“The child character, referred to as “the new kid”, never speaks, but is viewed being dragged across the ground, a look of fright on his face, before being placed on the table. As the probe implicitly enters his buttocks, he grimaces in pain. After the probe has been removed, the Randy Marsh character comments that “this is the kind of stuff you put up with living in a remote mountain town.” While the probe is inserted, the player is given instruction to bring about a “dragonshout” which, if carried out successfully, causes the new kid character to fart flames which causes the probe to be destroyed. The probe breaks off in the new kid’s anus.”

In addition, a minority of the Board believed the game contains “thematic content which, due to the interactive nature of the sequence, also warrants Refused Classification.”

This sequence is set in an abortion clinic with male characters disguised as females.

“The player controls the doctor’s hands and repeatedly thrusts a length of wire between the patient’s splayed legs (implicitly to bring about an abortion) before applying a vacuum device to the patient’s genital region,” explains the report. “A minority of the Board is of the view that, due to the interactively of this sequence, it is very high in impact and offends against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that it should not be classified.”

The Board conceded it is aware the game is “satirical in tone and intent”, but as the game “features animated sequences depicting sexual violence which also features a child character” the content of South Park: The Stick of Truth exceeded “what can be accommodated within the R18+ guidelines.”

 

 

Submission #2: November 07, 2013 - Banned

Note: There is no entry for this in the Classification Board's database.

 

South Park: The Stick of Truth – the offensive bits
playerattack.com , December 18, 2013

This is an attempt at a compromise. Both the Alien Probe sequence and the abortion clinic are still featured in the game. While only a minority objects to the abortion scene, the aliens are highlighted again as a problem. The interactive sequence "which visually depicts implied sexual violence involving a child character and adult characters" must be completed in order to continue with the game.

While the Board acknowledges that the game is satirical in tone, intent and context, is based on, and true to, the South Park television series, and that limited modifications have been made to the original game, this modified version includes visually depicted, implied sexual violence and, as such, exceeds what can be accommodated within the R18+ classification.

The Alien Probe scene is detailed further - the probes "visually resemble penises", and we're told that only "some" of the adults being probed are sedated or asleep, with others expressing "both a lack of consent and pain experienced".

Randy Marsh, who suggests that this is normal behaviour in a "remote mountain town" is, in turn, strapped to the table and probed. The new kid player character is given instructions on how to destroy the probe.

The Board observes that while these scenes are interactive, the player input is related solely to "destroying or disabling the probes", and at no point does the player interact in an act of sexual violence.

The Board notes that a scene in which characters make repeated verbal references to the character Kenny being raped can be accommodated within the R18+ classification as the references are verbal, no visual depiction of sexual violence is viewed and the implicit sexual violence has no interactive elements Read

 

 

Anal Probes Caused South Park: The Stick of Truth’s Pain Down Under
au.ign.com, December 19, 2013

“Again, while the Board acknowledges that the game is satirical in tone, intent and context, is based on, and true to, the South Park television series, and that limited modifications have been made to the original game, this modified version includes visually depicted, implied sexual violence and, as such, exceeds what can be accommodated within the R18+ classification,” the report reads.

 

 

Submission #3: November 21, 2013 - R18+

The November 21 2013 submission was made under the title CODENAME. It was passed with an R18+ (High impact crude humour, sex scenes and references to sexual violence) rating.

The extended classification information describes,
High impact: themes, violence, sex
Strong impact: language, nudity

The Classification Board's entry was later changed from CODENAME to SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH (PC).

 

South Park: The Stick of Truth – the offensive bits
playerattack.com , December 18, 2013

The entire scenario of graphic, non-consensual alien probes has been removed. In its place, the Board finds:

At several stages throughout the level which involves the player character being abducted and taken aboard an alien spacecraft, text appears onscreen which describes instances of sexual violence. The text includes "aliens forcibly probe your rectum with a dildo-shaped probe", "probe his ass with violent force" and "causing his anal probe to penetrate him over and over".

Rather than compromise on the problematic content, Stone, Parker, the team at Obsidian and the publishers at Ubisoft simply removed it altogether, and make no shame or attempt to hide it. The textual references - even as they describe the inappropriate content of earlier editions - is considered to be "comedic in intent".

But the kicker? The descriptive messages appear on-screen accompanied by a still image of a crying koala and large, red text reading simply: "CENSORED".

 

Anal Probes Caused South Park: The Stick of Truth’s Pain Down Under
au.ign.com, December 19, 2013

The ACB report describes the offending sequence has changed to segments of text in this version.

“At several stages throughout the level which involves the player character being abducted and taken aboard an alien spacecraft text appears on screen which describes instances of sexual violence,” goes the report. “The text includes “aliens forcibly probe your rectum with a dildo-shaped probe”, “probe his ass with violent force” and “causing his anal probe to penetrate him over and over.”

“The references are comedic in intent and are accompanied by a still image of a koala crying and the word “censored” written in large red text.”

The ACB explains that because these references to sexual violence “are justified by context, not visually depicted, interactive or related to incentives or rewards” they can be accommodated within the R18+ rating.

 

 

Submission #4: December 12, 2013 - R18+

On December 12 2013, the game was rated for a fourth time, but this was the first under the SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH title.

This multi-platform submission received the same rating and extended classification information as the one on November 21 that was made for the PC.

 

 

The European censored version

In February 2014, it was revealed that Europe would also be getting a censored version of the game.

SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH
Ubisoft Review Guide

7 scenes of about 20 seconds each are censored in the EMEA console versions of South Park: The Stick of Truth. The decision to cut this content from the game was made by Ubisoft EMEA.

These scenes include:

Each censored scene is replaced by an image background and a description text selected by Matt and Trey.

 

 

The Australian censored version

Meanwhile, in Australia, Ubisoft commented on what would be missing from the R18+ version.

South Park: The Stick of Truth censored despite R18+ classification
gameplanet.com.au, February 26, 2014

Ubisoft has provided us with the following statement:

"Ubisoft can confirm South Park: The Stick of Truth was initially refused classification by the Australian Classification Board and a slightly modified version has now been approved for release, under the guidance of R18+.

"No full sequences have been removed from the game, only small sections amounting to less than five minutes of game play. These modifications in no way detract from the narrative of the game, meaning the player will still enjoy an authentic South Park experience."

 

SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH was released worldwide in early March 2014.

 

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - PS3

 

 

CRYING KOALA #1: Australian version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Censored Koala #1

Censored
Sorry Australia, you’re not able to play this section of the game. In this part Mr. Mackey, Craig, Mr. Slave, and you have been abducted. They are bound to high tables, still appear to be asleep, and are being thoroughly probed through their anuses.

 

Uncensored Version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Mr. Mackey anal probeSouth Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Craig anal probeSouth Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Mr. Slave anal probe

 

 

CRYING KOALA #2: Australian version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Censored Koala #2

Censored
Bad news, Australia. This part is censored for you too. Here, aliens attempt to forcibly probe your rectum with a dildo-shaped probe, but you clench your sphincter to destroy it. Then it is replaced by a bigger, blacker dildo and you are reamed again. Again, you destroy it by clenching your sphincter, and the whole machine breaks down, freeing you.

 

Uncensored Version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Anal probe #1South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Anal probe #2
South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Anal probe #3South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Anal probe #4

 

 

 

CRYING KOALA #3: Australian version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Censored Koala #3

Censored
You lose again, Australia. This scene, where you try to disable the forcefield around Randy but instead accidently force the probing machine next to him to probe his ass with violent force, is not meant for your eyes. Randy, in obvious rectal pain, urges you to proceed onward.  

 

Uncensored Version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Randy anal probe #1

 

 

CRYING KOALA #4: Australian version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Censored Koala #4

Censored
Sorry Australia, you’re not able to see or play this section of the game. In this part you interact with an alien terminal again. Each time you do, Randy is penetrated over and over again by an alien probe.

 

Uncensored Version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Randy anal probe #2

 

 

CRYING KOALA #5: Australian version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Censored Koala #5

Censored
I hope you’re sitting down Australia. Here we have a recurring joke where you think you are going to free Randy with this control console, but no matter how hard you try you just end up causing his anal probe to penetrate him over and over. Randy directs you to the third panel, across the energy bridge.

 

Uncensored Version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Randy anal probe #3

 

 

CRYING KOALA #6: Australian version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Censored Koala #6

Censored
Great news, Australia. You and your children have been spared from the following scene: picture yourself at the third console, trying to save Randy. He is hopeful that this is the console that will save him. And it does. But not before it causes the anal probe machine in his cell to plug itself into his sphincter and ram him with great verve.

 

Uncensored Version

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) - Randy anal probe #6

 

 

This youtube clip from KLPlay shows the censored Australian version.

South Park Stick of Truth Australia Censored
youtube.com/channel/UC31Y6gnHjxVuk99pN5kWWCw

 

The uncensored alien abduction walkthrough can be found in this youtube clip.

South Park: The Stick of Truth - Alien Abduction
youtube.com/user/genericHenle

 

 

Uncensored version with PC Mod 

South Park: The Stick of Truth's Censorship Disabled by PC Mod  
escapistmagazine.com, March 13, 2014

...clever PC modders have done one better, creating a patch for the Steam version of the game that allows everyone to enjoy it fully uncensored.

You can find the patch on the Steam community forums here, and to install it, you simply need to download this file and extract it into the game's directory. Fans are reporting that the patch works perfectly, allowing them to see the removed anal probe and abortion scenes, as well as the Nazi zombies for those users in Germany.

 

 

The Classification Board explain the RC and R18+ versions

Classification Board Annual Report 2013-2014
Games
Refused Classification 

The computer game that was classified RC during the reporting period was South Park: The Stick of Truth. One version of the game was classified RC on 19 September 2013.

A second modified version was classified RC on 7 November 2013.

The game is an action adventure, role playing game for PC which features characters and storylines from the television series South Park. In the view of the Board, this game warranted an RC classification in accordance with items 1(a) and (b) of the computer games table (clause 4) of the National Classification Code.

This game featured animated sequences depicting sexual violence which also featured a child character and adult characters.

While the Board acknowledged that the game was satirical in tone and intent, the content.exceeded what is able to be accommodated within the R 18+ guidelines, which states that “implied sexual violence that is visually depicted, interactive, not justified by context or related to incentives or rewards is not permitted”. Accordingly, the Board classified the game RC.

A third modified version of the game was submitted to the Board during this reporting period and, noting the removal or modification of the content described, the Board classified the game R 18+ with the consumer advice ‘High impact crude humour, sex scenes and references to sexual violence’.

 

 

Complaints to the Classification Board

Classification Board Annual Report 2013-2014
Computer Games
Complaints

There were 51 complaints about the computer games South Park: The Stick of Truth being Refused Classification (RC).

On 19 September 2013 the Board classified Codename (Alternative title South Park: The Stick of Truth) Refused Classification (RC). The Board received an application to classify a different version of South Park: The Stick of Truth. Under classification legislation, any changes to a computer game make the game unclassified and therefore able to be submitted for a fresh classification decision.

On 7 November 2013, the Board classified this modified version of the game RC. The Board was of the view that content for the game exceeded the R 18+ classification, as per the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games which state that: “Implied sexual violence that is visually depicted, interactive, not justified by context or related to incentives or rewards is not permitted.”

On 21 November 2013, a third version of South Park: The Stick of Truth was classified R 18+ with the consumer advice ‘High impact crude humour, sex scenes and references to sexual violence’. The Board observed that the game contained the classifiable elements of themes, sex and violence that were high in playing impact. The Board noted modifications made to this game which allowed the game to be classified R 18+. The Board further noted the game contained coarse language and nudity that could be accommodated within a lower classification.

 

 

Classification Board Annual Report 2014-2015
Complaints
Computer games

The Classification Board received 127 complaints about computer games.
Four of the complaints were about the Refused Classification (RC) and R 18+ decisions for the computer game South Park: The Stick of Truth which was classified in the previous reporting period.


 

 

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