The UK’s ratings board has approved Rockstar North’s Grand Theft Auto IV for release without any cuts. The board came to its decision after playing through 5 hours of the game and viewing 8 hours of cut scene content.
This is all in the light of the long winded court battle between Rockstar and the BBFC over the release of its controversial slasher Manhunt 2, and after a narrow and bitter victory it was hoped that the BBFC wouldn’t take a stand over the release of GTA IV.
The announcement also comes in the wake of the Byron Report which saw the way games are rated and heavily scrutinized.
The announcement will no doubt be a huge relief for both Sony and Microsoft who are relying on the game’s success to sell hardware, with Microsoft investing large amounts of money in downloadable content to make their version of the game more attractive. The game is also an important part of the portfolio of Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two who has found itself in muddy water recently with a takeover bid from EA looming large.
The BBFC’s report describes in colorful detail the ins and outs of the questionable content in GTA IV, making references to the sexual and violent elements of the gameplay that the series has become famous (or notorious) for. According to the report, “During gameplay the character can pick up prostitutes,” however, at the request of Rockstar, exactly what happens next has been mysteriously withheld. So we’ll just have to use our imaginations until the 29th.
The GTA franchise has sold 66 million units to date and GTA IV is expected to shift 6 million in the first week of release.