[Update 7/3/2018:] The Australian Classification Board’s decision to ban the game has been overturned following an appeal from Compulsion Games, and We Happy Few is now going to be sold in Australia with an R18+ rating.
[Original story:] It’s being reported that the Australia Classification Board has refused Gearbox Publishing and Compulsion Games’ We Happy Few. The refused classification means that the game is effectively banned from being sold in most stores and retailers in the region.
Censored Gaming spotted the news over on the official Australian Classification Board’s website, where the multi-platform game was listed with an “RC” label, meaning that it was refused classification.
Over on the Classification Board’s site, it lists that the reason for the rating refusal is because the game…
“[…] 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.”
What’s interesting is that unlike a lot of the other sexy-time games that get refused, it appears as if the focus this time is on “drug misuse or addiction”, as it doesn’t feature the descriptor about content being unsuitable due to featuring fictional characters under the age of 18, which is what was used to refuse classification for Omega Labyrinth Z.
Censored Gaming also speculates that it might be the drug use as well, given that We Happy Few‘s theme is based around a dystopian future where the horrors of reality are washed away by consuming a drug called “Joy”. It’s very similar to the movie Equilibrium or the book The Giver.
As noted on the Australian Classification Board’s website, a refused classification is the equivalent of a game or media property being effectively banned in the region…
“Refused Classification (RC) is a classification category. Material that is Refused Classification is commonly referred to as being ‘banned’.
“Films, computer games and publications that are classified RC cannot be sold, hired, advertised or legally imported in Australia.”
What’s interesting is that a game like We Happy Few is getting hit with the banhammer despite the fact that Australia has an R18+ rating, which is supposed to be used for games aimed at persons over the age of 18. Nevertheless, Australia’s Classification Board insists on maintaining a nanny state with its incessant censorship over material it deems inappropriate… even for people over the age of 18.