The Australian Government’s Classification Review Board has announced that they will be reviewing the classification for We Happy Few after originally refusing to classify the game.
In a press release, the Board announced they’d received an application to review the game’s original classification of RC or Refused Classification, which was given to the game back in May.
This classification is in essence a ban, that according to the Board “means that the game cannot be sold, hired, advertised or imported into Australia.”
In the May press release, the reason given for the ban stemmed from the presence of a drug called Joy, which is a prominent part of the game. It’s taken by residents of Wellington Wells, the town the game is based in, to help them forget a horrific event in the town’s past.
If the player chooses to take Joy, enemies within the town will no longer be hostile. However, players risk overdosing and will suffer withdrawal when the Joy meter is expended.
According to the Board, it was the ability to progress easily by taking Joy that ended up getting the game its RC rating.
“In the Board’s opinion, the game’s drug-use mechanism of making game progression less difficult, constituted an incentive or reward for drug-use. Therefore, the game exceeded the R 18+ classification because of the drug use related to incentives and rewards.”
The press release goes onto say that if the restriction on games including drug use that incentives or rewards players didn’t exist, the game would’ve received a MA 15+ rating.
Currently, the Review Board is still open to public submissions, and will accepted them until June 29th. The only ways to make a submission are by email or by posting to this postal address:
Classification Review Board
Locked Bag 3
HAYMARKET NSW 1240
Keep in mind that the Review Board “can only consider submissions about We Happy Few itself and not any other matters relating to computer game classification policy or issues generally” so any criticisms of how the Board handles their classifications or any other issues will need to wait for another day.
The Board will be meeting on July 3rd to consider the review application, with the result to be published on their website.