State Of Decay Has Reportedly Been Refused Classification In Australia

State Of Decay Has Reportedly Been Refused Classification In Australia

In the wake of news that Saints Row IV was refused classification, we’ve now learned that State of Decay has also been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board.

Jeff Strain, the Executive Producer of the State of Decay confirmed the news today in a forum post.

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.

Saints Row IV was mainly RC’d as a result of implied sexual violence, but illicit drug use also contributed to the Board’s decision to not grant the game a rating in Australia. Seems like State of Decay has suffered a similar fate.

Undead Labs is apparently looking for a solution, but has not confirmed whether it will resubmit a modified version of the game just yet.

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

It’s worth noting that the Classification Board has not posted the news on its site just yet, so it is possible that a final decision has not yet been made. We’ve contacted the Classification Board and will update when we receive confirmation either way.

Thanks to Vooks for the heads up


  • My bet is on amphetamines being used as a stamina boost item…
    Seriously though… we need to now get the guidelines changed >

    • God knows if I see an in game character take heroin and it helps me win the boss fight, I’m heading straight to Cabramatta to score some horse. The only reason I’m not a drug addict is the fact that I have never seen it used positively in a game……just movies, televisions and books……but if I see it in a game there will be a monkey on my back quicker than you can yell, “dirty used needle”.

      • Though your sarcasm is fairly evident to us as gamers.. Do you not think this is perhaps the exact kind of sentiment that these same people who would censor us, use against us to sway the “moral majority” ?

        This seems only one cut and paste away from some strict Christian bureaucrat’s report on the topic.. Funny or not, you cannot win a political battle like this with just logic alone, and if you aren’t part of the solution – you’re part of the problem 🙂

  • So, let me get this straight…

    You can kill people with all manner of weaponry. Guns, cars, planes, whatever.

    Yet, the moment drug use comes into it. Nope.

    So much for the R18+ classification. I suppose I’ll go and grab all the movies I have that involve use of drugs and hand them in out of respect for this rule.

    Jesus Christ. Might mean some of the more select adult films too that involve anal probing…

      • That’s what I find strange – leaving aside whether or not the rule is stupid, everybody knows that’s the rule and the solution has been pretty obvious ever since Fallout 3 – just change the name of the drugs to something else. I find it strange why they didn’t just do that before submitting it in the first place.

        • Because foreign developers/publishers probably have the same mentality as the Australian gamers… “Oh, an R18 rating, it’ll get through piece of cake”.

        • Because they shouldn’t HAVE to.. It’s like saying why didn’t Picaso paint the night sky in all brown paint, because so and so likes it better than blue…

          These ratings are intended for adults.. And this isn’t a method of law – in that they are not given the authority to say, arrest people for drugs related crimes (or any crimes for that matter), it’s a method of behavioural control. They are trying to over extend what authority they HAVE been given, into the realms of personal taste.

          Criminal actions are illegal, art is not.

    • Just rename the drugs and it’s all good.

      Personally I don’t see what the big deal is with the use of real world drugs (OMG, morphine is used as a painkiller! Stop the presses!!) but it doesn’t take too much effort to just rename it to something else.

      Having said that, I can potentially see an issue with games like this that show illicit drugs being used in countries that carry the death penalty for possession of such drugs, but last I checked Australia isn’t one of those countries.

        • What amazes me is that “pills” as a health restorative was fine in Left 4 Dead, and “steroids” as a speed/strength boost was ok in Duke Nukem. Hell, Velvet Assassin allowed the use of morphine in it’s own artistic fashion.

          Seems like it’s just this last little while that they’re taking the drug thing super seriously.

          • ….and in the first ‘Saint’s Row’, you could drink booze and smoke weed then get in a car and drive around all messed up. This really is utterly pathetic.

  • It seems like the depiction of drugs thing is going to continue to be an issue. We should stop being surprised that games are being RC’d on that basis.

  • you will never get a government in Australia to allow games with real drug names to have a positive effect on the player. Never.

    It’s one of their big things about this shit for some reason. Yet in movies? nope, thats ok even for fifteen year olds

    The discrimination needs to stop. because that is exactly what it is. Discrimination of media. ALL MEDIA should be treated the same and with the same rules.

  • Sounds like medical drugs are an issue this time. I thought medical drugs were legal (for the most part) in Australia?

    Also, did we fall into a time warp that put us back in 2011?

    • Tell that to mummy and daddy of half the 15-16 year olds who beg/demand/take their parents credit card and use it to buy M$ points to use on their account that they’ve set the age to 18 on so they can purchase any games. The parents refuse to take account for their kids and in doing so, blame whatever else they can so they can sleep at night.

      I wish there was something we could do but until we find out a way to actually enforce age restrictions for things, stuff like this is just gonna keep happening because the ACB knows that people will always get a way around the R18+ rating,

      • Seems pretty simple… Ban children. I mean, punish parents who buy their kids games/movies over their age level. Like buying alcohol for minors. But… No, that can never happen.

  • This is why people are angry at the decision for Saints Row IV. Now we will see a slew of games being banned for no real reason just to appease the old folk who claim that children will play them.

    I can see why sexual violence is banned, but banning a game for use of morphine is just plain idiotic. Hopefully we’ll just see a name change like the fallout series, but the fact that this is even required is pathetic.

    • Can you explain why banning a game for the use of morphine is just plain idiotic? Keep in mind that State of Decay features an item called Amphetamine with the description “Restores max stamina a fair bit. (Addictive?) Pure glass — the good stuff. Accept no substitute.” (emphasis mine).

      • It’s idiotic because adults should be able to view and consume any type of fictional media they want to, without fear of censorship. If I want to play a game about a character who pops pills, smokes meth, and shoots heroin, it should be my right as a taxpaying adult to do so.

      • Would they ban a Hospital simulator where you had to use drugs like morphine to operate on a patient or epinephrine to restart someone’s heart or even playing a game as a character who has a brain injury or ADHD so you have to take amphetamines?
        How is that any different from using them in State of decay?

      • Ill tell you why its idiotic. Because we are fucking ADULTS! R18 rating is there to classify a game contain adult content.. If you arent mature enough to play a game with some mature stuff in it then thats your choice it shouldnt have to affect the rest of us

      • The same argument can be said for all facets of video games. IT IS NOT REAL. Do you really think that people, adults over the age of 18, will copy this behaviour? It’s not like the game is teaching you how to steal morphine from a modern hospital, then go through the step by step process of injecting yourself with it. It’s a heal button, nothing more, nothing less.

        I did not know about the amphetamine use in the game, however I still have the same opinion. I still see no reason for someone to go out and take these drugs purely because they played a game. I had to deal with an amphetamine addict in the past, and it was not pleasant. I can guarantee that they didn’t play any games.

        Hopefully the names are just changed. Morphine becomes a med-x equivalent, and amphetamine become some made up adrenaline, etc…

        • Take a leaf from Clabdhu’s book, a couple of replies up. That poster hits the nail on the head for explaining why this banning may be an idiotic act.

          Did I say there is a causal link between fictional media and viewer behaviour? No, I absolutely did not. I know that misdirection of argument is a fantastic way to say nothing of relevance, but really, you can throw that fallacious assumption right out the window.

          This is the point I was getting at with my initial question. How many responders in this thread were aware that amphetamines implied as crystal meth were a consumable item in State of Decay? Apparently none to very few, because the majority of posters are outraged that the game was banned to morphine. Isn’t it mildly idiotic then, that a large amount of posters accepted ignorance in lieu of a quick query on a search engine?

          @brody, How is the semi-realistic use of restricted drugs in a contextually appropriate setting different to a character in a post apocalyptic setting scavenging for morphine or synthesising crystal meth as a means to restore health and stamina?

      • Well you’ve obviously played it (or at least observed it in detail) tell me: did that warp your mind? I cannot fathom how putting a description of a drug in your game somehow makes it contraband. Back in the 90s I used to listen to JJJ (a govt funded radio station) and they would have a regular weekly segment with an expert on harm minimisation telling listeners how they could safely take drugs such as extacy or GHB often describing the side effects in detail. How us that allowed and yet a description of a drug is too much reality for adults. This part of the guidelines is ridiculous creating a problem out of nothing.

  • So if drug use is bad, how were the Max Payne games able to get away with the main character chugging painkillers to replenish his health?

    More importantly, why are previous classification decisions not relevant to new ones?

    • It depends how it’s depicted and what it’s called.
      In Max Payne its basically a heathkit you pick up with no name except for “painkillers”.
      I can’t remember in MP3 but i’m not sure there is even any “use” animation.

      Dunno what is depicted in this game but if it’s physically shooting up or using needles and real names like morphine then I sort of get where they are coming from.

      That being said, I think simply changing a name is pointless… either enforce your anti-drug view or don’t….

  • Wait…how did Max Payne ever get through?
    He clearly takes painkillers every 2 minutes and the “reward” is health
    Edit: and I’m talking about the original Max Payne 1 + 2

    • They get away with it in MP games because they are called “painkillers”, leaving it upto you to decide what they are, could be nurofen or panadol, but we all know its basically morphine


      • So why does some “Alien Drug” get a game banned then? If the issue is naming stuff after the real thing then that shouldn’t have been worthy of a ban.

        How is it different to, say, Bioshock where you actually see the player injecting syringes of drugs into their arms to gain magical powers?

        • I agree… naming is stupid. I guess bioshock gets away with it because it’s supernatural and “not real”.
          unfortunately it comes down to the personal opinions of the classification board. I wonder if there are any rules about conflicts of interest within the board.

          • I’d argue that alien drugs that make you into a superhero are ‘not real’ either.

        • my point was more pointed at how stupid it was to ban it based on reality, when even if they change the name anyone knows its basically morphine

  • They changed Fallout 3 for the same reason, it was named Morphine in the game and it was renamed to something else …. cant remember

    But all this is going to do is make more and more people seek the games through illegal methods, hell I’ve been playing State of Decay for the last 3 or so weeks cause I created a Us account and downloaded it. (Do at your own risk by the way)

  • What about GTA China wars? What about Scarface? So you can deal drugs, but you’re not allowed to get any health benefit for them.
    Make a shit load of money and buy new weapons to kill people, just don’t enhance your virtual state of mind?
    Censorship Board, you have truly lost it. Are you guys on the gear that you are RC’ing?

  • Lucky I bought mine on my US account to be honest its gory but there is far worse then State of decay, and the drugs you take have no effect they just boost your health and stamina

  • well i guess i can say goodbye to metal gear solid v then, because you have to strangle children. forget immersion and storytelling, if there is a one in a million chance some moron who was raised poorly emulates the actions of a video game character, we all have to suffer

  • i’m waiting for the “I don’t believe in censorship, wait a minute I totally believe in censorship when it agrees with my delicate sensibilities” crowd from the saints row comments to read this and impress me with backflips and other gymnastic feats

      • I still hold hope, remember we eventually got a uncut version GTA IV after Rockstar themselves released a edited version, i doubt GTA V will have a anal rape gun and if there is drug use it will probably only be in cut scenes and not used as a “reward”

        • Read the reasoning given in Serrel’s “version 3” update for this game. It’s starting to sound like if you use the term “drug” in the game, it’ll be banned.

          • Has any Grand Theft Auto game used drugs as a reward system? Drugs have played a major part in previous GTA games but have never used them as a reward.

            I have faith that GTA V will get past unscathed

          • one could even argue that pacman has some element of ‘drug use’ .. & 99% of all RPG games..

  • This whole R classification thing just reminds me of being a child and being given a glass of juice in a wine glass so I could pretend I was drinking wine.
    Except now, I’m an adult and my new “mummy” and “daddy” in the government have given me a serve of child friendly “R18+ games rating” so I can pretend to be a grown up, but they still know what’s best for me.

  • As I rather cynically expected, the only real value in the R18 is that we have a new classification that MIGHT one day be modified to be useful rather than being “MA15+ 2”

  • FFS this is RC’d but It’s cool if you wanna make movies about junkies or a tv series about cooking meth though.

  • so we can see violence now but not drug use? have these people not seen the movies that are allowed in the country? seriously… its not really any different

  • What is the point of an 18+ rating if they can still play nanny. Ill just import any game I want and the australian retailers can miss out.

  • You wankers didn’t change the law. You just added a letter.
    That’s it, i’m gunna run around town tonight with an Alien Probe weapon.

  • Balls. If they change the names, I really hope they don’t go down the “med-x” route with stupidly obvious names… Simulation implies immersion, and immersion implies medication that sounds like a medication, not a serial killer with a doctorate…

  • I could not be more frustrated at the ACB right now, What’s the point of having an 18+ category of we’re not even going to use it and just ban games that are clearly suited to an 18+ category. Isn’t that why we introduced this in the first place? To stop all this bulls**t. But now, as always, we the Aussie citizens get screwed over…

  • no Way FFS. what is happening australia.. first we finally get a rating for video games & now we see a bunch of perfectly good games, banned!! WTF is with this puritanical state of mind going on.. Shouldn’t we be a bit more open minded. I guess we deserve a jerk like Abbott to [email protected]#k things up even more..

    A long slow clap to australia, I was very much looking fwd to this zombie game.. oi, oi, oi.. 🙁

  • Well this is annoying and then some. It’s an item in a video game. I’d argue that far cry 3, which is essentially about drugging yourself up and murdering a bunch of Somalians to death then drugging up again, is more harmful in the “drugs=rewards” idea.

  • I don’t understand! A lot of us cheered for the classification when it was finally approval. Because instead of having the game ban, we get a classification. In layman’s term meaning we continue to get the games in Australia, just that you have to provide proof of age to purchase them. And of course someone have mention earlier, no change in content.
    Well done for the classification guy trying to justify his job, with the understanding of the old classification standards.

  • Unsure if this has been said, I have been watching a walk-through on YouTube and I must say for a game that is a survival/horror game I can’t see why the Classification Board has Refused Classification for this game.

    Yes all types of medicines in the game some legal and others illegal, however when you are in a survival situation these medicines are to reduce pain so the person can continue and survive and zombie outbreak.

    This is a legitimate scenario and therefore the R18+ rating makes sense as this type of game should be adults only, when you look back in relation to TV/Movies if drug usage occurs it uses real names and is shown.

    Underbelly (every series), Breaking Bad, and Blow are just some productions that have a MA15+ rating that have been allowed, there are also foreign movies shown on TV/DVD that have contained drug usage like Opium and they have been allowed also.

    Video Games should be treated like movies, we don’t want a new argument for an X rating like we did for an R rating.

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