Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) is the software rating organization used in Germany. The USK is often seen as quite a strict ratings board, partly due to the country's paranoia around violent video games, as such a number of video games have been banned or required the developers to cut or edit certain features.
The Grand Theft Auto series (since GTA III) has fallen victim to this, and in some of the games edits made include: the removal of blood, pedestrians no longer dropping money when killed, no headshots, some missions removed, some weapons missing or lack additional functionality. The changes aren't made directly to the German version of GTA III, but to the German language option in the whole franchise. So if a copy of GTA III not released in Germany, had the language changed by in-game options to German, these effects would take place. Similarly, a copy of GTA III released in Germany had the language selected anything other than German, the edits would disappear.
Grand Theft Auto Game Ratings
While most of the GTA games have been given a rating of USK 16, they have been subject to cuts as mentioned above, despite the fact there is a higher USK 18 rating, given to games glamorizing war, or containing brutal violence, lots of blood etc.
The GTA games and their ratings:
- Grand Theft Auto 1 - 16+
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 - 16+
- Grand Theft Auto 2 - 16+
- Grand Theft Auto III - 18+
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - 16+/18+
- Grand Theft Auto Advance - 12+
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - 16+/18+
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories - 16+/18+
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories - 16+
- Grand Theft Auto IV - 18+
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars - 18+
- Grand Theft Auto V - 18+
- BBFC, the British media rating system
- ESRB, the United States and Canadian computer and video game rating system
- PEGI, the European computer and video game rating system
- ELSPA, the former British computer and video game rating system, replaced by the PEGI ratings.
- OFLC, the Australian media rating system
- OFLC (NZ), the New Zealand media rating system
- CERO, the Japanese computer and video game rating system