Microsoft Confirms That State Of Decay Has Been Refused Classification

Microsoft Confirms That State Of Decay Has Been Refused Classification

Minutes ago Jeff Strain, the Executive Producer made a forum post claiming that State of Decay has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. We are currently waiting on confirmation from the Classification Board itself, but Microsoft has informed us that Jeff Strain is correct. Yes, State of Decay has been refused classification.

“Today, State of Decay was given a Refused Classification (RC) rating by the Australian Classification Board,” said Microsoft, in a statement sent to Kotaku, “meaning that the game cannot be made available to Australian customers at this time. Microsoft is currently evaluating the options with regards to the title’s classification.

“Microsoft operates within the legal requirements of the Australian Classification Board when it comes to the rating of all its first party gaming titles and agrees that not all content is suitable for all audiences. The Australian Classification system plays an important role in ensuring that Australians can only access age appropriate games and content.”

Reading between the lines, it seems as though Microsoft is considering a resubmission, but has yet to make a final decision at this time.


    • As long as it doesn’t have any interactive sexual assault or depictions of drugs giving unrealistic benefits with no side effects it should be fine.

      ….I hope.

    • I can see the headlines now “thousands of Prostitutes run down and chainsawed in outrage at game refusal”

    • i dont care much for saints row iv or State of Decay, but if they ban GTAV im finding as many people as i can and we are gonna to fight till GTAV past Classification in full un edited state

    • coming soon, the entire igea board reacts to viagra (spoiler alert: they get taller)

  • markserrels — Did they hint at any sort of reason?

    I just looked it up after missing the other post —

    Hola Australian State of Decay fans,

    I have bad news to share: State of Decay has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board (ACB). We’ve run afoul of certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use. We’re working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it’s going to take a bit.

    I know this is frustrating — believe me, we’re frustrated too — but each country has the right to set its own rules about content, and it’s our responsibility to comply with them. Rest assured we’ll do everything we can to find a way to get the game into your hands. Stay tuned.


    Which… I guess at least there’s a lot of precedent, not something that could be totally unexpected.

    • Drug use I believe

      I have bad news to share: State of Decay has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board (ACB). We’ve run afoul of certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use. We’re working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it’s going to take a bit.

      • Kind of funny I reckon, just change the name and it’s all good lmao. Still can use it but change the name! Bandaid solutions R us!

          • Indeed, it really changes nothing, but hey, out of sight out of mind… except in Fallouts case where you just know it’s really morpheine anyhow lol

        • This reminds me of Duke Nukem 3D. In the pc version we had steroids and on the n64 we had vitamin x.

  • “The Australian Classification system plays an important role in ensuring that Australians can only access age appropriate games and content.”

    If only it did it well.

    • Are they saying that the game isn’t age-appropriate…? I didn’t realise that adults needed advising on mature content…

      I mean, thus far it seems this is all related to drug names (Fallout all over again) – in which case I could kind of understand if it violated certain prohibitions, but to make the statement that their role is to ensure that Australians can only access age-appropriate games and content and then call it related? Silly. What’s the R-rating for?

      • Australia, where M15+ is inappropriate for children, and R18+ content inappropriate for adults. Children aren’t supposed to be able to buy either, but the board will make sure that if they do, they won’t be exposed to ‘bad’ content on the disc they aren’t supposed to have in order to preserve their fragile minds.

        Just in case they take Saints Row’s example and run around Brisbane with Alien Anal probe devices you know? Very dangerous.

        • This sums up exactly the issue:
          “where M15+ is inappropriate for children, and R18+ content inappropriate for adults.”


          It’s not about what or which title gets refused, it’s about the underlying policies and so forth.

      • Its the ACB at their most inconsistent all over again. Velvet Assassin names morphine as its beneficial drug, in that game it sends you into a kind of bullet-time, practically required for the game.

        Max Payne pops his painkiller pills, but thats ok I guess. Here I was thinking that finally Australia had come to its senses and given an “adult” rating. I want each and every one at the ACB to explain to me how a show like Breaking Bad can be approved in this nanny country when a game like this cant. Maybe crystal meth is better for you than morphine, probably cheaper to make too, greater profit especially if I cut it with paint thinner……. what are the ACB encouraging me to do….

    • Age appropriate content? So being over 18 still isn’t old enough? The ACB is so full of crap

    • Age appropriate, huh? I’m not sure how that gels with censoring content for the 18+ audience. We’re not that impressionable or naive. Heroine marked GoGo Juice is still heroine… and I’m not going to rush into trying it on the advice of a ‘gritty’ game mechanic.

  • EDIT: Having now actually read the SR:IV article about the anal probe, I’m now interested in the reasoning behind refusal. The probe in SR as reasons for refusal are at the very least, rational so I suspect this one has something pretty out there in terms of gratuitous violence. Let’s hope it’s not L4D2 over again.

  • I was totally going to buy this. I even tried a couple of days ago but couldn’t find it on the xbla store. Now I know why. I thought things would be different with the new laws. I can sort of understand the anal probe business from saints row, but what would be bad enough about state of decay that isn’t already seen in many other Australian releases? This makes me a sad panda.

      • Probably won’t work. I’ve found that age restricted content (e.g. Dead Rising 2 prequels) has been IP blocked for me in the past. Says that it’s not available in your region if you try to purchase it. I noticed because I otherwise buy all of my XBL content from the US marketplace. Maybe I’ve just been unlucky with what I’ve tried in the past, maybe not?

        • Yeah thats strange I bought it no problems maybe your xbox has a age lock on it maybe

          • Possible, because I don’t think I’ve tinkered too much with the settings on my US account. Or maybe it’s one of these publisher specific things, dunno. If you’ve actually succeeded in buying this, though, then I’m not going to argue with you!

        • Wha? I bought DR2 Case Zero through the Australian Marketplace! Why would that have been blocked?

          • I unsuccessfully tried to buy them through the *US* store. Doesn’t matter, sounds like I was probably wrong anyway.

    • Bought it on the US store about two weeks ago works fine playing on my Gold Aus account, PayPal on Xbox live makes life even easier but gotta love telling Ms you are from 90210 lol yeah it has like Morphine and other “drugs” oflc are just getting ridiculous.. Destroy all humans had anal probe guns they are on a power trip biiiiiig time

  • ‘agrees that not all content is suitable for all audiences’
    Yes Mummy.

  • So, should be just rename the R18 classification to MA15 and stop kidding ourselves?

  • Did I miss something? is the new 18+ year old rating meant to be 18month+ old rating ????

      • HAHAHA that’s awesome, because being 18 and over you will no longer be exposed to drug use and sexual violence. So really we need a 21+ rating OR we need to change the entire laws restricting all adult activity until 21 – even though the average gamer is 34+.

        It’s all upside down, but I think when it comes to drug use in games, dev’s need to be a little more creative about how they present these things. It’s great to have creative freedom, but be a little smart about it, and in todays’ society of people getting upset so quickly over little things, it might be better to play things a little more safe.

        Anyway it all seems for naught, because we will always be treated like children.

  • Thank god Bioshock was released in 2007.

    By today’s standards we’d never have access to one of the most celebrated games in recent history.

  • I just tried finding the drug incentive ruling in the classification code (work break is almost over) and I can’t seem to find it. I’m sure it’s in there somewhere.

    I always said that even if the R18+ rating is increased, it is still the classification code we need to concern ourselves about. And for some reason the current document is very different to what I read years ago (I don’t remember it being only 7 pages and ear identical to the version in 2005).

  • Create new email account.
    Create new profile on 360 using this email.
    Go to and migrate your account to America.
    Download trial.
    While trial is downloading to 360 purchase American MS point code from one of several online retailers.
    Confirm trial has downloaded to 360, purchase game through Xbox.xom using American MS points.
    Full game has now downloaded to your Xbox, switch back to normal profile and away you go.

    It’s a workaround while we wait another decade for a tiny bit of common sense.

  • I’m literally too stunned with disbelief to be disappointed. How much longer do we have to wait for the old men in the classification office to die out and have actual sensible people who realise the definition of “adult” to get jobs there?

    I honestly don’t believe there’s any more ways to express disbelief at this absolutely pathetic system we have here.

    • Age is irrelevant. The point is, what they think is right is what they will force you to conform to, even though it does not harm anyone. There are plenty of young people who will gladly tell you what to think.

    • The problem isn’t the board members. They are members of the public who from memory can only serve as classifiers for 7 years maximum. Their job is not to interpret the law or change what can and cannot be classified. Their job is to apply the rules as they fit the content.

      What we need is for their toolset to not be so gimped. They are forced to work to a set of rules.

      • But surely someone determines these rules? That’s more who I was thinking of.

        Whoever is of the mindset of something being interactive making it ten times worse than if it was just a movie needs to be booted out of office.

        • That would be the entirety of the Australian parliament. We have national rules drawn up, voted on and implemented by parliament. The reason it took so long to get the R rating is because unlike America, our ratings system isn’t voluntary.

          If it doesn’t get a rating, it is illegal to sell. Changing the national rating system is a big deal and requires consent from all state governor-generals. It needs unanimous consent and not majority because of the laws put in place to protect the smaller states just after the colonial period.

          If you want to get them changed again, petition your local member. Hopefully they will care enough to put it to the state government. If they do and all the other states do and agree on what the changes should be, then it will change. The R-rating being implemented was more of a first step on the road, than a victory.

          • Booting the entire parliament would be a great thing. You cant say you trust either side to do right by you and yours, can you?

          • I can say that the current administration has done admirably considering the circumstances.

            They don’t have to bend over backwards just for me in order to buy me. Any government that Does its best for the country is alright by me.

          • Does its best is kinda subjective, dont you think? Im very much labor over the coalition, mostly to keep Abbot out. I support some if labors initiatives (nbn, disability health care, education reforms and the carbon tax) but you cant deny Jules is unpopular.

            Basically what I was saying is that I dont trust any politcian. Nobody could buy my trust.

          • There’s definitely a problem with Trust in politics right now and rightly so. Time And the Right people can fix that.

            Of course it’s subjective. Good governance as a concept is subjective. Given the circumstances I think they’ve done well. I’m not even sure that she is as unpopular as the media likes To say. Much like the US election where every media outlet predicted a landslide for Romney, I think there is some serious bias.

            Edit: this site does bizarre things to my phone. Forgive the random capitalisation and spelling mistakes.

  • Remind me again why adults in the rest(most) of the world can decide for themselves if drug use in a game is not for them, but in our nanny state of a country we get told its not for us.
    If drug use is such a bad thing, than why are the two of the worst drugs available in shops and abused by hundreds of thousands of Aussie every weekend. Oh that right because the government gets a cut of that pie.

    • But these are real drugs! REAL DRUGS! Like Heroin!

      *No heroin is included in the game. In fact no drugs whatsoever are included in the game. The letters that make up the word ‘heroin’ or another drug may be briefly displayed upon the screen periodically, and a few pixels that move around a bit to give an impression of someone giving themselves pain relief, just like the doctors do when you go to the hospital. In fact if you do want some heroin, just break your leg or something and go to the hospital. You don’t even need to be 18! If you thought by downloading this from the Xbox Live Marketplace you would actually be getting some heroin, then we apologize for any confusion caused.

      Because what we are actually afraid of here is THE WORD. Not the drug. The idea of the drug. Just mind-boggling.

  • The classification system is still very much broken. I mean, I can watch and buy a show about manufacturing drugs (Breaking Bad, MA15+), I can buy and watch movies with a plethora of sexual violence. Yet video games are completely forbidden from having these elements. It’s just non-sensical. And if anyone makes the argument that it encourages said behaviour, then they are idiots. A video game won’t be the tipping point of whether an adult becomes a drug addict or a rapist. It simply doesn’t work that way. I’ve been raised well, and a video game won’t change all the morals and ethics that have been instilled in me over the past 21 years.

    I agree that this content isn’t suitable for children. but that’s the whole point of the point of the fucking classification system!

  • Guys you can go to xbox live website and change your region. I’ve had this game for weeks

  • Every needs to keep in mind the board is just implementing the laws. Like police they can’t choos which rules to allow or not allow. Complain to your MP if you want a change!

  • Drug use aids gameplay, that’s like banning a cod or any fps shooter with guns and melee? Yes you could progress through the game without using guns but it maybe difficult…. The ACB are no body’s who like to feel big with the power they have…

  • So having a look through the State of Decay Wiki, I’m going to take an educated guess and say it’s because of the inclusion of various health restoring items such as Acetaminophen, Amphetamines, and Trucker Pills. All of which may or may not be additive (the wiki doesn’t clarify)

    My guess would be on the addictive nature of real-world substances. (I say real world because you could could get hooked on substances in Fallout, but they had colorful names: Med-X, Psycho etc)

  • Remind me why we have r18+ for video games?? Thought that was a big win. Now they will ban anything. O well overseas here I come!

  • Am I the only person becoming more and more amazed that The Last of Us made it through? Especially considering you pop pills in that game to increase your character stats (I seem to remember some old guideline we had where all drug use had to have some negative effect to get through).

    Mind you, this would fall in line with the opinion I’ve had for a while that the only reason a lot of other games got through with the MA15 rating was because of how high profile they were.

  • I have no words. Im just seething. All that fighting for all those years to get the R rating and they’re still screwing us. Except now its even worse, now they’re insulting us by telling us even adults aged over 18 cant choose what they can play. And what an embarrassment it is to the country, Poor sensitive Australian adults have to be protected from something freely available in every other western country.
    Im just disgusted with this.

  • I got this game and its awesome. Really disappointed by this decision but if anyone else wants to get it just do the following.

    1) Create a new Microsoft profile (from with an American location as your address (can be anywhere in the US).
    2) Goto and sign in with the new profile, this will set up a new Xbox Live Gamer ID.
    3) Buy the 1600 Xbox Live points from Play-asia. This is specifically for US purchases: (may take some time to receive)
    4) Log onto your Xbox, sign out of your normal ID and into the new one.
    5) Redeem the Xbox Live points from Play-Asia and purchase & download “State of Decay”.
    6) Sign out of the US profile and back into your normal profile. You will be able to play State of Decay as intended from then on.

    Hope I don’t get in to trouble for this, but what better way to give the middle finger to the classifications board, then to just get the game and play it anyway.

    • You realize you are now single handily responsible for all the drug use and violence in this country? When society is collapsing around us people will curse the name gunnie.

  • This is starting to be ridiculous. The government allows alcohol advertising in sports where kids are watching. They allow smoking which kills tens of thousands of Australians every year. Yet they ban a game, set in a completely unrealistic scenario due to drug use? Drugs, which lets for a second assume you were in that hypothetical scenario, any normal person would probably have to use for mitigating their pain.

    I have nothing against the Classification Board. They’re doing their job based on what the law stipulates.

    It’s the hypocrisy and inconsistency of how laws are applied that’s annoying and plain stupid.

  • Hmmmm… I notice that the review board seems to be 80% women, all of them appear to be 40+, and all of them are white. How is this an accurate reflection of Australia?

  • The comments aboit buying from US store are correct it is possible and is then available to your Au profile once installed. Takes 20 minutes. It got refused because of trucker pills and opiates being addictive.

    • But… They are addictive??? After reading through all these interpretations and counter-interpretations of this drugs policy my brain hurts and I still don’t understand how I can pop pills in Max Payne, take Magic Mushrooms in Mario, become a DRUG DEALER in GTA Chinatown Wars and yet slap a realistic name on something and your out; a restriction that exists in NO OTHER MEDIUM

  • WTF? Newsflash ACB – there are actually ADULTS who game in Australia, and an 18+ classification for them.

  • While I realise that in at least this instance there are quirks about the new ratings that don’t make a great deal of sense, I have to play devils advocate here for a moment,
    It needs to be said that the introduction of an R18+ rating is not a one size fits all pass to every game ever released. They still have, and use, the ability to slap an RC sticker on a game because it falls outside of their guidelines.
    The Last of Us would almost certainly have been refused classification under the old system, and after playing it through last weekend, it would have upset me greatly as not only does it create characters you actually care about (not a COD “you will care about the dog” care, but a genuine mix of emotions that make you care regardless of whether you were told you should or not), it also makes the video games as art a mostly academic argument.
    if the game didn’t hit R18 when
    Joel gives Ellie a gun
    then it definitely got an R18 when
    Ellie butchers David with a machete

  • This just goes to show that our ratings system is as broken as ever. Two RC’ed games in 24 hours only 6 months after the R18+ rating came in, what a joke.

    By banning a game all it’s doing is hurting local industry, people will just import, or in the case of digital set up a US account, instead of buying locally.

  • I noticed when 18+ passed they also snuck in that thing about drugs….. they will ban anything to do with it now

  • Well next they be rating Gmod’s dark RP as R 18 (if Gmod ever becomes retail)

  • I call shenanigans!!!
    First Saints Row now this??!?!
    We have a government who accepts that we need R18+ games and then they ban games which should be R18+.

    GTA is next… then what.

    Gamers need to voice their disgust with the classifications board.

  • The irony. . .
    A game made in Australia, by Australians, is banned in Australia.

    And Ive been saying for years now that when we get an R rating for games, games that would normally be rated MA15+ would be made R. And games we expect to be rated R would still be banned.
    C’mon, seriously, you had faith in the Australian ratings board? They gave us what we wanted, but still screwed us over.

  • Top three stories on the Kotaku AU front page right now all have “refused classification” in the headline.


  • How did saints row 3and 2 get in like smoking weed and getting wasted and runing around naked was allright then and not now i smell conspiricy

  • Two in two days, reminds me of the days when we were fighting against this archaic classification system.

  • Sweet! Another game I’ll have to import and get cheaper online! Thanks for saving me $ guys.

    • Your state and federal members. With a change in federal gov in september (up to you to decide who would be worse there, the conservatives or labor) its prob in your benefit to focus on getting state laws changed, then fed.

      • Scratch that KRudd just signed in as PM. Labor has a chance! Write to your fed member too.

  • Ok so Australia finally has the R 18+ rating for games (well WA does dont know if everywhere else does) and this still gets Refused Classification REALLY WTF!

  • And, the drugs have been renamed, and the game’s being/been resubmitted. Props to Undead Labs – they work fast. I can imagine the code, tho… #define(ITEM_MORPHINE, ‘Herbal Tea’);

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