The Classification Board has reversed their original ruling on We Happy Few, giving the dystopian adventure a R18+ rating following a review.
The board announced through their website this afternoon that a three-member panel "unanimously determined" We Happy Few would receive a R18+ rating, reversing the RC ruling that would have seen the game banned from Australia previously.
Following the unanimous overturning of the Classification Board's original RC rating for We Happy Few, Compulsion Games has expressed sympathy for the statutory body. While the studio — and Aussie gamers — are glad that the RC rating was overturned, one We Happy Few producer isn't sure the Board could have ruled any other way.
The 'Fantasy violence and interactive drug use' moniker will be applied to the game's classification rating instead. In a further release, the Board's acting director, Margaret Anderson, noted that "drug use related to incentives and rewards" was banned amongst all classification levels:
In the Board’s opinion, the game’s drug-use mechanism of making game progression less difficult, constituted an incentive or reward for drug-use. Therefore, the game exceeded the R 18+ classification because of the drug use related to incentives and rewards.
The Games Guidelines state that computer games that exceed the R 18+ classification category will be Refused Classification. If the Games Guidelines did not contain this restriction in its current form, then We Happy Few would have received an MA 15+ classification.
Anderson's release also noted that games that are refused classification "cannot be sold, hired, advertised or imported into Australia". It adds that clarification was sought from Gearbox Publishing, the publishers of We Happy Few, around the use of Joy in the game, although no further detail was provided on Gearbox's reply or what questions were asked.
Further information about the We Happy Few reversal will be published by the Classification Board at a later date.