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Document glitch sparks GTA IV ban scare

18 certificate awarded

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Any gamers left panicking after reading that the Grand Theft Auto IV videogame has been refused a UK rating by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) can rest easy.

Register Hardware can confirm that a misinterpretation of classification documents falsely sparked the rumours - the game has actually been awarded an 18 certificate.

GTA IV goes on sale to UK adults from 29 April, and has only just been given the classification. A BBFC spokeswoman told us that, in addition to any classification, the body creates an extended classification document detailing why a title received its age band.

This document's usually made available 10 days before any title goes on sale. However, because the BBFC was not informed of GTA IV’s scheduled release date, the document was published prior to this.

It’s still unclear how the document’s contents were misinterpreted to the extent that rumours surfaced of a UK ban for GTA IV. The document’s no longer available, but will be released again on 19 April – 10 days before GTA IV makes it into gamers’ sweaty hands.

Register Hardware can also reveal that the BBFC was worried about some of the videogame’s contents, after finding that it gives a recipe for making an unknown drug. However, the body checked all the ingredients thoroughly and found that they couldn’t be combined to make a real drug, so they let it slide.

Had the game been refused a classification, it would have opened old wounds for fans of the Manhunt series. Manhunt 2 almost didn’t make it onto UK shelves because the BBFC thought the game’s content was too violent.

The body’s decision has since been overturned and, although a release date still hasn’t been given, the game has been awarded an 18 certificate.

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