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.
Update: Because of the Classification Board's rating, Bohemia has opted to modify DayZ globally to comply:
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.
The original story continues below.
The Classification Board first granted an RC rating to DayZ on June 4, following an application from local distributors Five Star Games to have the game sold in brick-and-mortar stores across the country. According to the report, which was supplied to Kotaku Australia on Friday afternoon, the game was banned over "illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards".
"Through general gameplay, the player is able to collect and use a variety of equipment, supplies and weaponry," the report says. "One of the options to restore the player's health is a marijuana joint, labelled 'cannabis', which is denoted by a cannabis bud in the player's inventory."
The reasoning is identical to why Fallout 3 was initially banned in Australia, and the report goes on to note that while drug use is permitted under the R18+ classification guidelines, that use cannot be "detailed or realistic". "If the use of cannabis within the context of this game did not act as an incentive or reward, its impact could therefore be accommodated within the R18+ classification".
"The use of drugs (marijuana) as an incentive or reward during the gameplay exceeds what can be accommodated within the R18+ classification and therefore must be Refused Classification," the report says.
A month after the RC rating, DayZ developers Bohemia Interactive applied for a separate rating through the automated IARC process. The game was rated MA15+ then, which has the same force as a rating from the Classification Board directly. However, the Classification Board has the power to override IARC ratings with their own.
The Classification Board's decision will mean the game, at some point, will be removed from sale on Steam, the PlayStation and Xbox One stores. It's still currently available online for Aussies, but it's only a matter of time before that's no longer the case (unless you're using a VPN).
While Australia has a long history of video game development, as a nation we're probably more famous for the games we have banned.
Update 1412 AEST: As some users have noted, the funniest part is that you can't even use weed in-game right now:
You can't make this shit up anymore: pic.twitter.com/xZkfRIFZPW
— Jamie Dalzell (@Sir_JD) August 9, 2019
Advance Australia Fair indeed.