We Happy Few Has Been Refused Classification

We Happy Few Has Been Refused Classification
Image: YouTube

Remember We Happy Few, one of the more interesting indies from the Xbox E3 conference a few years ago? Well continue remembering it fondly, because the game has just been refused classification in Australia.

Why We Happy Few Was Refused Classification

The latest game to be banned in Australia. We Happy Few. The announcement was a shock, but a reading of the board's report reveals that the decision is one gamers have become accustomed to from the country's censors.

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An RC listing for the game has appeared on the Classification Board’s website, saying the game has been refused a rating under the Games 1(a) clause. The clause is defined as “computer games that “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.”

We Happy Few was available through Early Access and the Xbox Game Preview program. It was available for purchase earlier this year on Steam, but as of February 1 “pre-purchase functionality” was removed ahead of the game’s release.

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  • WTH damn it. Have been looking forward to this one for a long time. Would be interested to see the reasoning on this one.
    I’m going to guess it is a drug use thing, having to take the drug joy constantly to be part of society?
    Still hoping it is something silly like depictions on posters or something that can easily be edited out.

      • I mean given the drug itself is a metaphor for MANY things in todays society one feels obliged to do to fit in, and the absolute fact the last thing you’d probably actually attribute it to…. is a literal drug… if you give it a tiny amount of thought? It’s incredibly silly of them.

        • Yeah I was under the impression the drug clause was about showing actual drug use in a positive light.
          In the past changing the name was more than enough to fix any concerns, otherwise surely FarCry 5 would have been refused based on Bliss?

    • Getting pretty fucking sick of wowsers dictating which media is morally sound enough to be acceptable for consumption by the Australian public. You would think it would only take two minutes watching trailers to get the fucking point that the game is far from GLORIFYING drug use, but rather providing an Orwellian warning.

      Maybe that’s the problem. Confirmity is portrayed as bad, in the game, and dissent is good: which means the game is unacceptable for the Australian public. Let’s be more like China, shall we? I mean, we’re already right up there on justifying human rights abuses, and prosecuting whistleblowers and journalists who expose corruption, but we’ve still got a little ways to go… come on, Australia! If we all collectively abandon our liberties we can make it together!

      • Why the fuck would anyone in authority care about stupid, irrelevant things like context or artistic meaning? Clearly the game is all about peddling drugs to kids! I mean, it HAS to be- it’s a game, which are all for children, and there are drugs in there!

        Stupid cunts.


        The refusal of classification is a sad sign but there is no need to be vitriolic, less you want to wind up in the same basket as a certain other user that will remain nameless.

        For the sake of discussion, I’m going to pretend the second half of your post is an random emotional outburst and focus on what is based on reality.

        Now, the classification refusal ….. does not surprise me.

        I read the updated documents back in the day and it was only a minor modification of what we had for MA15+. Laughable, but was still a good start.

        Back in the day, the main goal was to at least have more consistency of our rating system. Before our own R18 rating a lot of content was ending up in the MA15+ bracket, often with no modification.

        However, maybe I need to revisit the guidelines as while they are only a minor modification of MA15+, I don’t recall We Happy Few falling outside of even that.

        The so called drug being used? It’s completely fictional and (from memory) it is only a concern if the name matches (like how Fallout 3 got canned because it had the word Morphine in it).

        Even if our rating system is more realistic, the conversation still needs to keep up with those on the ACB as they are still failing to be both effective and consistent.

        • It actually strikes me as a fairly reasonable time to be vitriolic. Most adults don’t like to be coddled like little children.

          • Being vitriolic didn’t help the R18 debate back in the day.

            And it ain’t gonna help now.

            Most adults don’t like to be coddled like little children.

            Then we need to be more adult than the ACB and the “grown ups” running the nation.

            Being vitriolic is only playing into their hands and retroactively justifies their actions.

            We need to react, true. But not the way they expect us to.

        • you forget that Saints Row 4 was RCed here because Shaundi and Young Shaundi get their super powers after getting high on alien virtual drug. and i believe theres been a nother game as well inbetween then and now that also RCed because it had a completely fictional and make believe drug in it as well.

          To be extremely honest, the Board has really lost plot lately with some of these decisions. They arent even following precedent now and its seems precedent doesnt even matter anymore

          • you forget that Saints Row 4 was RCed here because Shaundi and Young Shaundi

            Don’t remember that. I remember it being RCed because of the anal probe like weapon that fires characters into the air.

          • nah the anal probe was removed from all versions and then sold back as DLC, because that what Volition did on their second attempt to get the game to pass. The board still RCed it because of Shaundi Loyalty mission

          • got the full version via a GOG region VPN and its a joke how they had to remove the mission – despite the obvious context being a matrix simulation. had they renamed it I think it could have gotten away with it – maybe

        • Enh, latter part is taking the piss, since that seems to be the purpose of the classification. I doubt they’d actually be so brazen as to cite breaking free from authoritarian rule as a reason, even if breaking the back of free speech, privacy, accountability and right to protest/strike are the proud goals of our conservative masters at the moment.

          Was just drawing a tenuous, tongue-in-cheek connection between those aspects of government control that have me so bitterly disgusted right now.

          • Was just drawing a tenuous, tongue-in-cheek connection between those aspects of government control that have me so bitterly disgusted right now.

            Some tried the exact same thing back in the day on Michael Atkinson (the Labor member that blocked the R18 for his own religious views) and it ended up being used against the movement.

            A lot of what you said in your second post also applies to Labor who are not conservative. Even Gillard had a go at the ABC back in the day because she didn’t like what the broadcaster was saying.

            Anyhow, I’ve gone off topic long enough.

            In cases like these, one needs to keep focus so the pressure can be applied in the right place. Right now (at least in my view), the assessment does not follow guidelines that those same guidelines need to be held against the ACB and their negligences be used against them.

          • Conservative is as conservative does, and while they might not be as far along on the scale, Labor’s bloody conservative too.

            They rubber-stamped mandatory data retention without a second thought or word of concern. They’ve been almost as complicit in regulatory capture, rentseeking and violations of human rights of asylum seekers as the current mob. They HAD the power to enact marriage equality, before their idiotic musical chair leadership cost them government, but they argued against it.

            The south pole might be colder than the north, but they’re still both bloody cold as charity.

      • Yeah?

        And what are you actually going to DO about it?

        The cynic in me says you’ll do SFA, but I’m happy to be proven wrong.

    • Just buy it from overseas.

      Unless customs has suddenly started giving a crap about video games, which I doubt, you should be fine.

    • This country is a joke. Slowly taking away so many freedoms. I’m 37 years old, who the hell has a right to tell me i can’t play an R rated game?
      The government has taxed us through the butt on everything. Next i propose we all start paying for oxygen.

      • This gov really needs to look up the definition of freedom, we seem to have lost the notion of what it means.
        Americans can still blow each other away with automatic guns and us Aussies as adults can’t even play some video games..
        Maybe if we had a tax for all R rated games they might say yes? They don’t seem to mind anything if you pay for it.

  • Not surprising, its a standard reason they have given manty a game.

    That said, if the RC is so broad amd strict… what purpose does the Australian R18+rating for video games serve if most of that content you would see in the adults onky category is still listed in Refuse Classification bracket. I get the feeling RC was never update to spite R18+?

  • I’m gonna be honest here, does anybody care? Yeah, the game seemed amazing at its reveal, the amount of ideas anybody could think up for the direction it would go could make it an amazing game.

    But then the alpha came out and revealed it was a crafting/survival game and so many people deflated after that. Then it was pushed further and further back. Then Gearbox bought it and immediately doubled the price for collectors editions and I think everybody just gave up.

    • I’ve been looking forward to it. There was a bit of deflation on that but I had always pegged it as survival game. Was hoping for more story based but still keen on it.
      Still seems like it is quite decent, has a 72% positive rating in early access so good without being great.

      • I viewed it as a hidden in plain site survival stealth game. Like you have to fake being happy, otherwise the police will be called on you. You have to navigate the world by saying the right things, giving good excuses, etc. Not punching trees to gather wood and build a firepit.

        • Honestly you probably have a better idea of the actual gameplay than me. Didn’t really have a good idea of the level of crafting and might find my hype draining fast once I actually start looking into it again.
          I don’t do early access so haven’t really look at anything since announcements

    • Yes, I had been excited about it up until that point, then I stopped keeping an eye on the progress. I still find it stupid that the title was refused classification, though.

    • Don’t care for the game.
      Care the classification system is still broken.

      R 18+ material is restricted to adults. Such material may contain classifiable elements such as sex scenes and drug use that are high in impact. Some material classified R18+ may be offensive to sections of the adult community.
      Yet the Refused Classification still overrides this by refusing any sex scenes and drug use that are high in impact.

      I believe the Refused Classification was never updated to include to R18+ classification that was thought so hard for, and is rarely used. So what is the point of the R18+ classification in video games???

  • Remember, we’re all little children who need to be sheltered from such horrors in the eyes of our politicians. They are protecting our feeble non-joyous minds!!!
    We can shoot, blow up, maim, decapitate etc, but when it comes to whacking a damn syringe up, oooh, can’t do that!

    • its funny because State of Decay was banned because of positive drug incentive by making the character after consuming it feel/be better – same with FallOut 3 then they had to rename it.

      Saints Row IV was banned because the two friends gotten superpowers in a simulation by consuming it

      Then theres PayDay 2 – you can make Meth in Rat Days and you actually sell it for money to do more crime BUT they don’t ever consume it.

      Like a guy said – Consuming the Drug is a no no BUT making the Drugs is a-Ok!

  • “offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults”

    So you’re calling everyone who wanted to play this game immoral, indecent and unreasonable. Go fuck yourselves with the biggest cricket bat you can find. Smeared with wasabi. Douchebags.

    • shouldnt mean a damn thing, as they brought it before it was RCed and even then, its not illegal to own stuff that been RCed, RC means that it can not be sold within the country. if you buy it overseas either in person or online you can still legally get it

      • It’s illegal to import it though? Also I believe in WA at least it was illegal to possess RC material.

        • not sure about WA, but no it is not illegal to import unless you intend to sell. customs will not stop you from bring in a game or book or video or music CD.

          • Is that a recent change? Last I researched it (admittedly many years ago) there wasn’t anything to indicate it was only illegal in regards to intent to sell. And there were plenty of stories going around of people importing Mortal Kombat 9 and having it confiscated or getting fined or whatever when it got found by random inspection.

          • nope not a recent change, never heard any stories of copies being seized, however i did read many comments and post from people who where worried they might lose their games, just like how theres always a person who says that a guy who they works with son who goes to school with this kid had a uncle who lost his steam account for using a vpn to unlock games early in their region

          • well going by link, if that were true, Customs would not of allowed my 6000USD Stormy Daniels Real Doll through. the Simple fact is, customs will not confiscate your copy of Caligula if you brought it over seas, they will however confiscate it if you purchased 10+ copies. Again its not Illegal to own RC media (within reason of course) and customs will not stop you from bring it in tot he country unless you intend to sell

    • Nothing probably, the game will be updated to the 1.0 version like everyone elses.

      This will affect new buyers.

  • Well shit, was looking forward to playing this.

    I suppose i still can, its not like an RC has stopped me before, i bought Hotline Miami 2 on steam without a vpn.

    • In practice, the R18 rating is only a modification of the MA15+ rating.

      While it has made some improvements (games like GTA are finally in R18 where they belong and not MA15+), more effort was still required that never happened.

  • Yeah as soon as i found out that this game involves you needing to take drugs as a mechanic i knew it was destined for an RC.

  • I’d like to thank the classification board for protecting me from stuff i’m exposed to every single day such as sex,violence,drugs,adult themes and profanity.These things don’t exist with you guys at my back.YOU are the real heroes…May Jebus bless you.

  • Guys it shouldn’t matter weather you are excited for the game or not. What was the point of bringing in the R18+ if things like this are going to continue. Are country has always been very backwards when it has come to video game and i highly doubt its going to change anytime soon. America is the place with the constant talk of how video games are creating a destructive culture and this game wouldn’t get a second glance when discussing its classification.

  • I suggest that the Class. Review Board watch parliament sometime if they want to see what unacceptable abhorrent behaviour is. Just remember, most of the reviewers are appointed lawyers from the ivory tower…if its not left wing PC inclusive stuff, its not acceptable to them.

    • You had me until your “left wing inclusive stuff”, which is laughable considering how right wing this government is.

      • The problem is that the lawyers in AGD do their own agenda, and they are very strong PC socialists, real QandA fans. I had to deal with them over the years, and seriously, if we ever have a revolution they need to go to the wall for oxygen thievery…total left wing F’tards.

  • First they said they could live on $40 a day. Then they said that Teachers needed to work more and now they think adults will take all the drugs if they see it positively in Video games?
    Boy, they must think we’re all idiots, but they way they all fscrew the system right under our noses, I guess I’m not surprised.

  • So for those asking, the R18+ rating was never designed to fully allow everything into the country, there were always restrictions surrounding certain content including drug misuse/addiction, sexual violence or anything of that nature. Considering everyone is essentially misusing drugs, it’s not surprising that this game got RC.

  • Guys, the ACB is irrelevant nowadays. The internet means that their power is virtually nonexistent lol. I laugh whenever the ACB “bans” a game because they can’t stop anyone playing said games. Importing has become obsolete too since everything can be downloaded either on PSN/XBL/Steam or the many torrent sites/bitnet. It’s not illegal to play RC games and even if it was they couldn’t enforce it anyway. So who gives a shit about the ACB and their ratings?

    Download it and bypass them. This country is a nanny state and the fight for an R rating was pointless. Politician’s never listen to the population anyway and will never stand up for our liberties. Thus treat them as irrelevant and DL it. It’s not hard, so screw em.

  • I’m currently living in Germany, but will move back to Aus at the end of the year. If I buy this game, change my region, will I still be able to play this when back in Aus?
    Also applies to Hotline Miami 2, which is what I’m more likely to buy.

  • So who here has applied for a job on the classification board?
    Wings about old people not with the times, how are you going to change it if you do nothing?

  • Give it an R-rating then, so that children will be protected from the game. So then adults who understand wrong from right can decide for themselves if they want to devote their time and money to this game.
    Remember the average age of gamers is mid 30’s, that’s average, so there would be quite a few in their 40’s.
    What was the purpose of introducing the R rating?

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