Compulsion Games’ single-player survival title We Happy Few has been reclassified by the Australian Classification Board.
This overturns a prior ruling that effectively banned the game from sale in Australia after the board refused to give We Happy Few a rating.
The review board issued a media release which states that the game will ship with an R 18+ (Restricted) rating, with the consumer advice listed as “Fantasy Violence and Interactive Drug Use.”
We Happy Few’s use of drugs was the main reason for the previous ruling. In We Happy Few’s Britain, people take ‘Joy’, a catch-all drug to enforce happiness akin to Soma, the narcotic seen in Aldous Huxley’s popular literary dystopia Brave New World.
If players take Joy they can progress faster within the game as they are succumbing to the will of the dystopia. The core loop of the game is to resist taking the drug and fight the oppression.
Initially, the classification board argued that due to the reasons listed above, the game’s systems incentivise drug use and therefore decided not to issue a rating.
Gearbox Publishing saw this as a misunderstanding of We Happy Few’s themes and issued the appeal that led to this overruling following the decision made late last month.
The Australian Classification Board has always been tough upon games that use sex or drugs in provocative ways. Games like Saints Row IV and Hotline Miami 2 have been banned from the country in the past.
We Happy Few will release worldwide on 10 August 2018 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.