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Ubisoft responds to Watch Dogs R18+ rating

The company says that Watch Dogs' move from MA15+ to R18+ is thanks to "additional content".

Last week we noted that Ubisoft's upcoming open world game Watch Dogs had be reclassified by the Australian Classification Board (ACB), moving from a MA15+ rating to a R18+.

(Credit: Ubisoft)

At the time we speculated that the change may have been because of new gameplay or content and that, unsurprisingly, was on the money. Ubisoft Australia told us:

The entire development team has been working hard to polish and fine tune Watch Dogs in order to deliver a truly memorable open world game. In parallel, the extra time also allowed the team to include a bit of additional content. As per Australian classification guidelines, Ubisoft resubmitted the updated version with the added content to the Australian Classification Board (ACB). The decision to amend the rating of the game from MA15+ to R18+ was made by the ACB.

Ubisoft didn't detail what the "bit of additional content" was. The the new rating featured some significant changes from the original MA15+. Violence increased from Strong Impact to High Impact and Sex moved from Moderate Impact to Strong Impact (although Nudity stayed the same). Drug Use, on the other hand, moved up Mild Impact to Strong Impact.

Kotaku Australia managed to track down the ACB's report on the reclassification which states that "implied sexual violence" was the instigation for the R18+ shift. According to the report the game "contains references to sexual violence that cannot be accommodated in the MA15+ classification category, which states that “sexual violence, implied or otherwise, is not permitted". The ACB also told Kotaku that Ubisoft had requested it hold off on issuing the report until 17 March for "commercial reasons".

On a related note, Watch Dogs' creative director Jonathan Moran has said on Twitter that the main story is around 35-40 hours long, but you can sink 100 hours into the game with all the side quests.

Watch Dogs is available from 27 May on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4 and Xbox One.