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.
Bohemia Interactive confirmed to Kotaku Australia late Monday evening that DayZ would be getting modified globally to comply with the Classification Board's requirements. Bohemia could have opted to exclude Australians from DayZ's next major release to give themselves time to work out another solution, but in an email the studio explained that they did not want Aussie gamers to be separated from the rest of the world.
"We don’t want to separate Australian players from the rest of the world, since many people play cross-region," the studio said. "We love that DayZ is the place to meet with friends and experience the game without dramatic regional lag. We don’t want to change that."
"At the moment, we are editing the global version of DayZ so it will fit into the Board’s requirements. The key objective is to keep the gameplay as authentic as it was, so players are not affected by this change."
Bohemia didn't outline precisely what changes would be made, and DayZ's local distributor Five Star Games declined to make the original application public when asked. (The Classification Board said they could only release the document via a Freedom of Information request, which can be a relatively slow process.)
Earlier this week, news broke that the Classification Board had blocked the physical sale of survival sandbox DayZ, despite the game having been rated MA15+ multiple times through the IARC online process. Today, Kotaku Australia can reveal that not only is the Classification Board sticking to that rating, but they are also working to have the game pulled from sale digitally in Australia.
The studio's willingness to keep Australian gamers included, despite being struck with Australia's unique classification guidelines, is at least one silver lining amongst all of this. But it also puts a spotlight on how long its been since the classification guidelines for video games have been changed — and the lack of nuance that was written into the guidelines to begin with.