South Park: The Stick of Truth Wasn't Censored By PEGI

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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South Park: The Stick of Truth Wasn't Censored By PEGI


PEGI, the European video game rating board, says it gave South Park: The Stick of Truth an "18" rating before the anal probing scenes were cut.

You've no doubt heard that most non-North American releases of South Park: The Stick of Truth have been censored in one way or another, typically with regards to scenes involving anal probing and abortions - which you can view here [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/132596-South-Park-The-Stick-of-Truths-Banned-Anal-Probe-Abortion-Scenes] if you're so inclined. But what comes as something of a surprise is that the censorship wasn't actually the result of, well, censorship.

PEGI, the Pan European Game Information rating body, claims that it assessed the uncut version of the game and found "no issue" with the content, and thus awarded it an 18 rating - essentially the European version of the ESRB's M rating. Ubisoft then edited the game, removing six 20-second scenes, after which PEGI reassessed it and once again gave it an 18 rating. That's the version that went out the door.

"Let me emphasize that we did not censor or edit the game in any shape or form," a PEGI spokesperson told The Guardian. "Some time later [after the first rating], the publisher made a decision to make alterations to the game which meant it had to be re-submitted to us as a different version. We are not privy to reasons why the game was edited and cannot, therefore, give you any other details. This version was subsequently rated 18 uncut also."

In other words, the cuts had no bearing on the PEGI rating, leading to the obvious question of why the edited material wasn't restored after The Stick of Truth failed to earn a "16" rating, which was presumably the goal. Ubisoft EMEA said only that it was a "market decision" to edit the game, perhaps suggesting that it had concerns about a public backlash against some of its dicier elements. But who buys a South Park game without expecting offensive content (and anal probing)? It's pleasing to hear that PEGI wasn't responsible for restricting the content, but even more baffling that Ubisoft chose to do it unbidden.

Source: The Guardian [http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/05/south-park-stick-of-truth-game-censored-europe]


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Deshin

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Aug 31, 2010
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I don't know why people are so up in arms about this, I mean, it's an obvious solution and we just want to berate them into confessing what we all already know?

Ubisoft took out the scenes from the console versions and not the pc version. They did it to avoid the inevitable future backlash from parents who buy their kids the game and then, surprise, there's an anal probe scene and all hell breaks loose. Let's be perfectly honest here, the scene is pretty much "accidental rape", not a word I like to throw around at all but a massive phallus-shaped probe being jammed up Randy's anus is pretty black and white in terms of what's going on. Sure it sucks but I can see where they're coming from and I can't hold the decision against them.

Now to just wait for my Steam EU uncensored version to unlock... does anyone know if it unlocks at midnight or will it be sometime mid-day? Either way yay South Park released on my birthday! (unless it comes out on the 7th...)

Edit: Whoops, I meant to write "EU uncensored version" but instead wrote "US version". I have no idea either... :(
 

Steve the Pocket

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Mar 30, 2009
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You know why this happened? Publicity. People are more eager to buy a game if they hear some other country has decided to ban or censor it. Some bean-counter at Ubisoft decided that the potential lost sales in Europe would be less than the extra sales they'd make in North America. Is anyone really surprised?
 

luvd1

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Jan 25, 2010
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To be honest I'm glad they took out the anal probing mini game coz I'd be getting that wrong for hours and hours and hours... Just coz it's just so funny... It's like the punching Zeus in the face at the end of God of war 3... But this time you want to do it rather than realise you've been conned into a pointless QTE for too long.
 

marioandsonic

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Nov 28, 2009
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Deshin said:
I don't know why people are so up in arms about this, I mean, it's an obvious solution and we just want to berate them into confessing what we all already know?

Ubisoft took out the scenes from the console versions and not the pc version. They did it to avoid the inevitable future backlash from parents who buy their kids the game and then, surprise, there's an anal probe scene and all hell breaks loose. Let's be perfectly honest here, the scene is pretty much "accidental rape", not a word I like to throw around at all but a massive phallus-shaped probe being jammed up Randy's anus is pretty black and white in terms of what's going on. Sure it sucks but I can see where they're coming from and I can't hold the decision against them.
You'd think that parents would know what to expect from a video game about South Park, but here we are. Yes, the game features content that a little kid shouldn't see, but then again, so does the show itself.
 

Kuredan

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Dec 4, 2012
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Deshin said:
The US Steam version should be unlocked. I downloaded it and played it last night, including the previously mentioned scene. It was... funny? Ish? I didn't fail on purpose, but it was an owweee moment when I did. Yeah this game is not for little kids in any way shape or form. It's waaaay more uncut than a typical episode.
 

sirjeffofshort

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Oct 2, 2012
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Can we get a free DLC that would implement the censored versions of our choice from around the world? I'd actually probably give that a shot just for fun since each censored version seems like a new joke in and of itself. On the flip side, maybe release free DLC in other countries that would restore the censored scenes? That way a user would actively have to seek them out and should therefore in no way be caught off guard by the racier content.

Juuuuuuuuuuust a thought.
 

Deshin

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Kuredan said:
Deshin said:
The US Steam version should be unlocked. I downloaded it and played it last night, including the previously mentioned scene. It was... funny? Ish? I didn't fail on purpose, but it was an owweee moment when I did. Yeah this game is not for little kids in any way shape or form. It's waaaay more uncut than a typical episode.
Whoops my mistake, I meant to write EU version :( I've seen many sources saying that the EU version unlocks on the 6th but I've also seen other sources saying it's on the 7th. Is one a console date and the other a pc date? All these release dates are so confusing and needless... it's digital distribution, the game is ready and out the door, why do we need to wait for a countdown? When it came to brick and mortar I could understand (due to dispatching) but for digital releases? I thought this was supposed to be one of the benefits of going digital distribution?
 

devilmore

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Nov 18, 2009
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Kind of relieved actually. As a european it would feel weird if our PEGI rating was more strict than the american ESRB based on sexual conetent. The rules are clear, usually - in europe they get pissy about violence, in america about sex.

Now things make sense again. Except for Ubisoft of course.
 

kurupt87

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Mar 17, 2010
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Oh, in that case I assume it was to create controversy by saying it was censored when it wasn't. Controversy leads to publicity, and it definitely worked.
 

Ephidel

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Jan 29, 2014
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I've known about this for a while and is yet another reason why Ubisoft are near the top of my shit list. That said, I believe the text replacement provides far greater entertainment value for Europeans whilst the actual scenes are more geared towards the North American demographic. Not to be casting stereotypes though, I just think it's a cultural thing and I wouldn't be surprised if Matt and Trey saw this as an opportunity more than an actual penalisation.

I knew PEGI wouldn't ban this, if anything, ESRB would for North America.
 

Amaror

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Apr 15, 2011
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Well it's not like we have not seen enough evidence that ubisoft is a retard in publishing this particular game allready.
To those of you that do not know. The game won't come out on the 6th in Germany and Austria, because Ubisoft decided to remove swastika symbols from the game before trying to release it here and apparently only decided to do so a few days before release.
Another great move, ubisoft!
 

Nieroshai

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Aug 20, 2009
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I don't get it... I have the American PS3 version and those scenes are in it....
 

DeimosMasque

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Jun 30, 2010
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Kumagawa Misogi said:
As I have said before the most likely reason for the cuts is so that Ubisoft only has to print one version of the game for the entire EMEA region rather than one for Australia and one for everyone else.

That's why the PC digital version is uncut as there is no additional costs with having two digital version's.
This honestly seems like the most likely answer. I know that controversy = cash and all that but this seems like it was more of a cost saving measure. If it was purely for the controversy than it wouldn't have left it uncensored for the digital pc releases.

Either way though... sort of BS.
 

Spade Lead

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Nieroshai said:
I don't get it... I have the American PS3 version and those scenes are in it....
That is the only reason I was perusing the comments. Thank God for Good Old Fashioned American favoritism.
 

Amakusa

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Jul 12, 2012
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So living in australia, they will probably release the EU ubisoft self censoring version. Hmm guess i have to try to get a USA copy from amazon if possible.
 

Kahani

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May 25, 2011
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Deshin said:
They did it to avoid the inevitable future backlash from parents who buy their kids the game and then, surprise, there's an anal probe scene and all hell breaks loose.
At which point you simply note that the game is rated 18 and that any issues with their children playing it are entirely their own fault for being terrible parents. Then you force them to watch the South Park movie which was making fun of exactly that bullshit.