The Australian Government has refused to give We Happy Few an age classification, meaning the PC and Xbox One game is effectively banned in that country.
The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts has designated We Happy Few as an “RC” game, which stands for “Refused Classification,” a fate reserved for games which: “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.”
The Australian authorities have plenty of form for zealous censoriousness in the past – games which have also been stamped with the dreaded RC (and, admittedly, generally given a classification after some judicious self-censorship in the country) include 50 Cent: Bulletproof, Hotline Miami 2, Manhunt, Saints Row IV, State of Decay, Silent Hill: Homecoming and South Park: The Stick of Truth.
Compulsion Games’ innovative, procedurally generated survival game set in a 1960s-era dystopia – which is in Steam Early Access and Microsoft Game Preview on the Xbox One — has presumably fallen foul of the drug-references aspect of the Australian censorship rules: its gameplay centres on a fictional drug called Joy which transforms the game-world from a run-down wasteland into a lush utopia when a player’s character takes it.
Joy is so central to We Happy Few that it’s difficult to see how Compulsion Games will be able to remove it for the Australian market. We will, as ever, keep you informed of any further developments.