Classification Board Reconfirms Weed Was Being Added Into DayZ

Throughout the whole DayZ saga, the most misunderstood element amongst fans and social media was the key reason why the game was refused classification. As Kotaku Australia first reported, the game was officially banned — or refused classification — over the use of cannabis, which currently is only usable in DayZ through mods.

But partially because of the interest surrounding the game, and the unique circumstances whereby the game was classified and refused classification at the same time, the Classification Board has taken the rare stance of publishing a statement clarifying why the game was banned.

The statement from the board's director, Margaret Anderson, was published on the Classification Board website this week and confirms that the game was banned following local distributor Five Star Games' application to have the game classified for an upcoming physical PS4 release. As part of that application, Five Star noted that a feature in the physical release would be the ability to regain health by smoking a marijuana joint — denoted as "cannabis" in-game — which would also lower their temperature, while improving their vitals.

DayZ Is Getting Changed Worldwide Because Of Australia

After the surprise banning of DayZ's physical sale, and the Classification Board's decision to overrule the existing MA15+ rating, one of the most popular survival games of the decade suddenly found itself removed from sale in Australia on all platforms. That ban, however, looks like it will be lifted soon. And the reason why is because developers Bohemia Interactive have opted to take the path of least resistance, one taken by Bethesda 11 years ago.

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Throughout general gameplay, the player is able to collect and use a variety of equipment, supplies and weaponry, with one option to restore the player’s health being a marijuana joint, labelled “cannabis,” which is denoted by a cannabis bud in the player’s inventory. The player is able to select and use it when their vital statistics are low. When the player smokes the cannabis, their vital statistics of food and water increase and their temperature decreases.

Therefore, in the opinion of the Classification Board, cannabis use during the game acts as an incentive or reward to boost overall health and survivability. The Board noted that there was no instance of intoxication resulting from this drug use depicted within the game.

This isn't a surprise because of how the classification process works. Fans were aghast that DayZ was banned over a feature that, as far as they could see, didn't exist. But publishers and applicants for classification ratings have to identify any problematic content as part of the process: if they don't, and the Board discovers it after release or is alerted to any content that would have resulted or influenced a rating different from the one given, the game is immediately pulled from sale. So it's about as straightforward as you can get: the next major DayZ patch would let players light up.

Anderson's statement then clearly outlines the crux of the problem: the guidelines for classification of computer games, which was lasted updated in 2012 and explicitly bans any interactive illicit or proscribed drug use outside of the R18+ classification, and only permits drug use within the R18+ classification provided that use is "not detailed or realistic".

"Pursuant to the Games Guidelines, “drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted” at any classification level," the statement says.

The statement's important for two reasons. Firstly, it continues the trend over the last few years of the Classification Board basically telling developers — and pissed off fans — the simplest and fastest way of getting the game classified. Anderson notes that if cannabis wasn't a part of the game, it'd be rated MA15 — but the drug could also be renamed or altered so it didn't represent or look like a joint, which was the option Bethesda took when Fallout 3 was banned.

The second part is also a reminder from the Classification Board that the classification guidelines are changing, or at the very least governments are thinking about it. "On 28 June 2019, the Council of Attorneys-General agreed that the Australian Government will coordinate a public consultation process on reviewing the Games Guidelines to ensure they reflect contemporary Australian community values," Anderson wrote.

It's not the same as saying "we get it", but it's about as close as gamers will ever get from a senior public servant.


Comments

    It's always worth mentioning that the Classification Board works within the guidelines it's given, which are agreed to by a council of state and federal attorneys-general.

    That said, the entire board needs to be abolished and replaced with industry-based rating systems that can better cater to each type of media. This is how TV content is rated and it should be standard for books, films, games and music as well.

      we really should be using the PEGI system that Europe and the UK use

        While I like the idea, there are a couple of issues with following PEGI. Firstly, and probably least, is the age alignments. PEGI 16 versus MA15 for example doesnt quite align with our general acceptance of age restrictions, and would create confusion between games and other classifications of entertainment.

        Secondly, and more importantly, PEGI is self regulated. The industry came up with the classifications, and the only thing holding game makers to it is the publisher having a contract with the Interactive Software Federation of Europe. If they dont have a contract with em, they dont need to care about a rating.

        Thats a loophole the state Govt's wouldnt like. We live in an age where the internet lets anyone publish and distribute relatively easy, and the games that get RC'd are often from developers who would take advantage of that. Policing that would mean a system similar to what we have already.

        Third issue is that the games they block now, like this case with drugs, are generally acceptable at a younger age. PEGI allows drugs in PEGI 16 for example. Gambling is acceptable in PEGI 12, and microtransactions the entire way down to PEGI 3. The states would have little to no reason to go to the PEGI system and would see it as too much of a step backwards.

        Going to something like PEGI would be a step towards global consistency, but the more its used, the more people would take advantage of its private nature. They would need to sort those issues out first. Also consider that we only remember the big name games that get RC'd, but when you look deeper there are hundreds more that get blocked that we dont see, nor care about.

      Television classification isn't quite as hands off as you indicate. Yes, it is governed by a code, but that code had to be approved by the government regulator (ACMA), and the government regulator can impose sanctions for breaches of the code. The current commercial television code is essentially "follow the National Classification Guidelines", and it isn't clear that ACMA would approve a code that diverged significantly from that.

      The main difference between television and film/games is that TV stations can self-assess most of what they broadcast. On the games side of things, IARC is increasingly letting developers do the same for more forms of distribution.

    Why would the Classification Board use a racist term like "marijuana" when the in game product is correctly and accurately labelled “cannabis?”

      Interestingly Cannabis and Marijuana are different Cannabis is the genus, Marijuana is a form of Cannabis that has psyhcotropic properties unlike Hemp which is also Cannabis but has very little.

        Are you sure mate? That's not what I was taught and after searching all I can find I evidence to support my original comment.

        If you have a link or something I'm happy to change my mind. :)

          Why exactly do you believe it is a racist term? This is the first time I've heard someone claim that.

            The US government used ‘marijuana’ as a propaganda term in the war on drugs - either Nixon or Reagan era iirc. It was intended to associate weed with Mexican culture and increase its status as a bad thing. Not sure that makes ‘marijuana’ a racist term tho, actually pretty sure it doesn’t.

            When the USA started cracking down on cannabis use in the old days they used the Mexican pronunciation to try and demonise it's use and equate it with "filthy foreigners."

            Before then cannabis was known largely as hemp to the general public and was an everyday product with zero social stigma.

            Due to the U.S. media reach from films, music and TV the term Marihuana/Marijuana became widespread globally.

            This was all because the duPont corporation wanted to outlaw hemp which is what all ropes were made of at the time so they could sell their inferior synthetic ones.

            It's a fascinating subject that's well worth researching for yourselves as my brief and poor explanation really doesn't do the topic justice.

              Okay, but saying "X has been used as a pejorative by racists" is very different from saying "X is an inherently racist word". While racists might have tried to taint the word, the end result seems to have been to give the English speaking world a word to distinguish psychoactive variants of the wider cannabis genus from the non-psychoactive ones.

              I don't think there is much evidence that the common use of the term today is anything more than a descriptive loan word, rather than a racialised slur.

          https://www.quora.com/Are-marijuana-and-cannabis-the-same-thing

          All I could find so far they just articulate what I was trying to say better.

          Like you said below about hemp being used to make rope and clothing, hemp doesn't have psychotropic properties (at least not unless you consume a literal ton of it) so you wouldn't smoke it.

          I guess it depends on local as to what you call it, as we didn't have a Mexican "problem" the term Marijuana isn't associated with them here.

          Given more time I could probably look up some botanical websites or find something more "scientific" but I don't think it's really an issue of science rather one of semantics.

            Of course we have a Mexican problem... They're called Victorians.

      Thanks, mr thought police

      Ill do my best not to offend you with words.

        Say what you say, I said the Classification Board, an official government body should do better.

        You snowflakes always think it's about you.

          Right...

          Im the snowflake.

          Not the person claiming "marijuana" is racist and that no one is allowed the say the word anymore just coz.

          Sure thing.

    I went and read the statement and it didn't clarify anything. I cannot imagine developers implementing this feature in this way. It makes zero sense. Every feature in DayZ is trying to be realistic. Why would smoking a joint increase food and water stats and decrease the temperature? Also why did the game have to be removed from digital sale if the feature isn't implemented? Wouldn't it make sense only remove it after/if the feature is actually implemented?

    Australia just need to abolish this board and stop embarrassing themself in front the world.

    Did kinda go overboard with the benefits, if anything your food and water should start dropping requiring you to brave the city to raid the supermarkets for Doritos and various soft drinks.

      From her comments, if there had been negatives of the kind you typically see in games with drug use (GTAV) then it may have been passed. Which makes (from a guidelines point) why SR4 got hit so hard since it was a super powered hilarious fun mission with no down side and only benefits that got cut.

        dont get me started on how fucking stupid the Saint Row 4 RC was

    Hey classification board, medical marijuana is legal in several parts of australia

      And the point?
      It's legality wasn't brought into question in the above statement.
      Andersands seperate statement says "illicit or proscribed" so again it's legality has nothing to do with it.

    I guess Max Payne was munching on a homeopathic remedy the whole time.

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