Tuesday, May 22, 2018

We Happy Few is the latest game to fall afoul of Australia's Classification Board

1960s-era survival title has been refused classification.

We Happy Few, a dystopian survival game set in a retro-futuristic 1960s England, has been refused classification in Australia—meaning it's effectively banned. That's per the Australian Classification Board website, which published its decision earlier today.
The refusal is associated with games that "depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified."
It's true that there is a lot of drug taking in We Happy Few: in order to blend in as an ordinary citizen, drugs must be consumed. The player-character has a "joy" meter, which increases as more drugs are taken – but take too many and you'll overdose. It's likely that this incentive to take drugs in-game is the reason the game was refused classification.
We Happy Few hit Early Access in 2016, and while it was a little underwhelming back then, it's possible things will have changed when it releases into 1.0 later this year.
While Australia finally introduced an R18+ rating for video games in 2013, that hasn't prevented games from falling afoul of the board – usually due to depictions of drug use or sexual violence. Hotline Miami 2 was famously refused classification in 2015, prompting studio Dennaton to encourage Australian players to pirate the game.
We've contacted the Classification Board for more info about the We Happy Few ruling.
Cheers, Kotaku.