The upcoming physical release of DayZ, the ArmA 2 mod that became a juggernaut of its own and a key factor in the battle royale genre, has been refused classification by Australian censors.
The RC rating doesn’t affect the game’s availability locally in practice, given that DayZ is still available for sale through Steam and VPNs. But what’s interesting here is that the decision seems deliberate: rather than being refused a rating through the automated IARC process, the Classification Board directly knocked back an application from local distributor Five Star Games (which also handles the local distribution for Atlus and SEGA).
Games 1(a) was the official citation for the ban, the clause that prevents games which “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” from being sold in Australia. Sex isn’t something you see a lot of in DayZ, or the ArmA engine, so the most likely outcome is that the RC rating relates to in-game drug use.
Fallout 3 was banned briefly for a similar reason: censors took issue over the use of morphine, which was perceived as a reward under the strict language that the classification code is written. The game was allowed to sell on retail shelves after a modified version was resubmitted with altered references.
We’ll chase up the Classification Board today and get more clarity on the ban. For now, you can still buy the game through Steam or the Bohemia Interactive Humble Bundle. It’s also still available on the PlayStation Store, and Xbox Live, although the Xbox version has an MA15+ classification.