Cyberpunk 2077 Gets A R18+ Rating In Australia

Cyberpunk 2077 Gets A R18+ Rating In Australia
Image: Cyberpunk 2077
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If you were worried about Cyberpunk 2077 not being released in Australia, good news: it’s not being banned.

Bandai Namco, the local distributors for Cyberpunk 2077 in Australia, and CD Projekt RED have confirmed to outlets today that Cyberpunk 2077 will be sold in Australia unaltered. Kotaku Australia understands that the game has been rated R18+ by the Classification Board, and a listing is supposed to appear on the Classification Board’s website later this afternoon.

The rating means that Cyberpunk 2077 won’t have to go through the nightmare of patches or reviews, like other games with adult content have faced in the past. Katana Zero, Mother Russia Bleeds, DayZ and We Happy Few have all fallen afoul of Australia’s restricted classification guidelines in the past, but despite the heavy mature themes – including suicide, corpses, illicit drug use and getting health back from puffers – CD Projekt’s next title won’t face any such issues.

Images: Bandai Namco

Cyberpunk 2077 is due for release worldwide on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on September 17. Bring on Night City.

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  • Not gonna lie…i’m insanely excited about this game. It’s even better knowing that we’re going to get the same version as the rest of the world!

  • If nothing else this seems to demonstrate how wildly their rulings can differ based on essentially the same input. Small indie titles have been refused classification for far less than what was in the gameplay previews alone.

    I’m not saying CP2077 should be refused classification, I don’t think it should, but something seems off about this game getting through when a lot of others didn’t.

    • I think some of the indies get banned by the auto system the review board has. I know Katana Zero initially got banned but got overturned on review, im not too sure about Mother Russia Bleeds, iirc thats still banned.

      Cyberpunk would have gotten banned if it didn’t fall within our guidelines however stupid and out of date they are.

    • I can’t see the inconsistency. The two main issues bouncing other games have been sexual violence in which the player character is somehow implicated and drug use related to incentives and rewards.

      The rating itself says only “references to sexual violence”, which might be someone telling the character that they have been raped, or seeing a body of someone raped and killed in a morgue, for example. There is no implication that the player is complicit in any of that violence.

      There’s also no indication that any references to drug use are related to incentives and rewards, such as morphine giving you a health boost. If all the drug use depicted is grimy and squalid examples of people wrecked by drugs this is also not inconsistent with the classification guidelines.

      • This is true. There’s definitely more information needed here. This is definitely a case of the R rating being applied in the correct, most sensible way. We should be applauding them for this decision, not deriding them for past mistakes.

      • From the article;but despite the heavy mature themes – including suicide, corpses, illicit drug use and getting health back from puffers – CD Projekt’s next title won’t face any such issues.
        The gameplay we’ve seen offers gameplay incentives for drug use (health and slowed time / quick reaction times). In previous justifications for refusing classification they’ve specifically cited gameplay systems and rewards tied to drug use. I believe in some other specific instances it was an issue if it was a ‘real’ or ‘fictional’ drug being used, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the case for all gams refused classification for drug use. Could be wrong there, I haven’t read up on those specific cases since they originally happened and may be misremembering them.

        Putting 2077 aside I think it’s pretty obvious some games sometimes get two different ratings for no reason at different times, see DayZ which was, and is, all fine as a digital version, but refused classification as a physical release, despite apparently no actual differences between the two (I haven’t played either, so I my be unaware of some differences).

        Of course systems and guidelines like these will always have room for interpretation or differences of opinion, but 2077 seems to me to deal with the exact same things other games dealt with but saw a different result.

        • Typically, puffers are not regarded as an illicit drug, which is perhaps a clarification that I should have included in my original post. It’s also true that morphine, for example, has both legal and illicit uses however it is a drug associated with dependence and drug dealing whereas puffers, for the most part, are not.

          It is true that we don’t know how this is implemented in the final game, but no classifiable elements seem to be specifically listed in the tweet referenced in the earlier Kotaku article. I haven’t dug deeper than that.

          • If it is just because those drugs are administered through a puffer that it gets a pass that’s pretty dumb. It couldn’t be more obvious that those are hard drugs, fictional or not, not to mention that a lot of people actually do misuse inhalers and the medication they used for to get high. Personally I feel uses like this might actually be worse because I think it’s far more likely someone will decide to imitate inhaling whatever they inhale in 2077 with a real inhaler than imitate videogame drug use with real drugs.

            If it was a matter of how the drugs were administered that seems to invite a whole lot of questions – presumably pills and needles are bad, but what about all the other ways? Are they fine? I don’t know, it all seems really silly if that’s where they try to draw the line.

          • The entire war on drugs is silly, yeah. I’ve not advocating for the classification guidelines, just interpreting how they are likely being applied in this case in light of past practice.

          • Yeah, sorry if it sounds like I’m saying what you are saying is dumb, it’s the guidelines themselves that are ridiculous.

            I still interpret the general spirit of their previous decisions as being incongruous with this specific decision, but yeah, they’re awfully silly either way.

          • It couldn’t be more obvious that those are hard drugs, fictional or not, not to mention that a lot of people actually do misuse inhalers and the medication they used for to get high.

            While I do agree the current system is implemented in a silly manner, the question of them being ‘hard drugs’ or ‘illegal drugs’ still remains. The ruling was specifically over illegal narcotics being used to give benefits, not drugs in general (i.e. medications). If you saw your character bust out a line of coke to get energy back, or in the case of the old (crappy) game NARC, smoke a joint to get some health (from memory I think it was a joint? Mighta actually been shooting up?) that’s an entirely different ballgame of representation of hard drugs.

            Then we have the Saints Row issue, where ‘alien drugs’ are used in a realistic manner, i.e. smoked in a glass bulb. Other games *have* used medications in a positive manner, for example Far Cry has shown you use syrets and syringes in the past, as have others, it’s just about the implementation and the context.

          • I agree, I think it’s definitely about the context, but it’s that context that in game is specifically is supposed to remind the player of some fictional exaggerated equivalent of real drugs. I’m thinking of this moment in the gameplay demo – basically if that were a line of coke or a needle you would understand the same thing as you do when it’s an inhaler – you know what it is, and the classification board knows what it is, are they just pretending not to, or is it somehow fine because it doesn’t share a name with a real drug, and if so, why?

            I hadn’t heard of the Saints Row thing, but that would also strike me as an odd decision to allow it while disallowing other similar uses where the difference came down to the name. To be clear I think all of these things are fine, and an adult can and should be able to discern fantasy from an endorsement of drugs, but I don’t think the line between said fantasy or endorsements has really been properly established, at least as an outsider their descisions don’t seem consistent here, or at the least not consistent with how I’ve read the guidelines andd resulting decisions in the past.

          • I hadn’t heard of the Saints Row thing, but that would also strike me as an odd decision to allow it while disallowing other similar uses where the difference came down to the name.

            The Saints Row one was literally because you smoke crack out of a lightbulb under the guise of it being ‘Alien drugs’ which then give you superpowers. It was a very straightforward reason tbh. When I played that mission (able to be done with a simple tweak of a file btw), it actually really did stick out like a sore thumb tonally too. So nothing lost there tbh.

            As far as this goes, I believe in this case? Their decision *is* consistent with what the rules are meant to be. The reason it appears to not be, is because it’s been so over the place in the past. It’s been applied fairly and evenly here, giving adults the benefit of the doubt, not banning the product. No doubt also assisted by a greater understanding of games these days as opposed to the lack of understanding of them in the past.

          • I think you are being overeager in your assumptions there regarding illicit drugs being consumed via an inhaler to restore health.

            For instance, that scene you refer to is a story scene, not a game play scene.

            It is wholly plausible that inhalers can have different substances, some may be about recreational use and others may be legitimate medicine. For all we know the game can explain the difference uses of inhalers and given the game setting, you could be inhaling nanorobots that fix your body.

            After all, isn’t the use of inhalers today, in the real world, primarily to boost health?

        • Fallout 3 got around its original classification refusal simply by renaming Morphine to Med-X. That’s all it took.

          I can’t say for sure because I simply don’t know, but I’d absolutely assume a lot (if not all) of 2077’s drugs just aren’t using the names of real world drugs.

          • Pretty much it doesn’t, it uses fantasy versions of them, but they’re fairly recognisable, at least, if they’re following the older RPG’s method.

  • Tough question – play this straight away or wait for the next gen upgraded version?

    I’ll probably wait and enjoy the upgraded version I think…

    • Straight away – next gen upgraded version could take a while, and you might as well enjoy it before all the big beats are spoiled. Everyone’s gonna go bonkers for this.

      • Damn right. We have 2 copies ordered for our house. We don’t normally preorder, but we are for this.

    • I’m wondering if it’ll be a launch title for the next gen consoles. That would be a reason to jump in early. Though I’m not sure how big a difference we’ll see with this one.

      They’ll already be doing a 4k version for the PS4 pro and whatever the 4k Xbone was (X or S?) so if you have a later version of either console there might not be a massive difference. Willing to be wrong on that.

    • They announced earlier when Xbox Series X was announced that current gen users on both systems will get free account upgrade.

    • You get both if you by current gen you will get the next gen version for free, at least with Xbox.

  • I honestly didn’t expect this, as soon as I saw drug use I thought “well that’s it then, it’s banned”.

  • Copy and pasted from a reddit post, honestly shocked it made it past our classification board.

    Title in Brazil: Cyberpunk 2077

    Intended Classification: Not recommended for under 18

    Platforms: PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox ONE

    Media: Blu-ray and internet-based

    Genre: Action, adventure, RPG and FPS

    Material type: Digital files

    Analisys methodology: Common analysis

    Type of analysis: Synopsis and video

    Trend Indication:

    Weapons without violence (everyone);
    Moderate or hinted use of licit drugs (everyone);
    Weapon with violence (10+);
    Criminal action without violence (10+);
    Description of consume of licit drugs (10+);
    Derogatory Language (10+);
    Verbal Agression (12+);
    Violent acts (12+);
    Sexual pleasurement (12+);
    Consume of licit drugs (12+);
    Violence description (12+);
    Exposure to danger (12+);
    Exposure to death corpse (12+);
    Body injury (12+);
    Foul Language (12+);
    Sexual Language (12+);
    Blood (12+);
    Description of illicit drug consumption or trafficking (14+);
    Sexualization (14+);
    Sexual exploitation (14+);
    Intentional death (14+);
    Nudity (14+);
    Prostitution (14+);
    Sexual Relationship (14+);
    Consume of illicit drugs (16+);
    Mutilation (16+);
    Intense sexual relation (16+);
    Suicide (16+);
    Cruelty (18+);

    • What are you seeing in there that would result in a RC that the rest of us aren’t?

      The list even includes the appropriate age level relevant to the particular clause.

      As far as this list is concerned if the game didn’t include “cruelty” it wouldn’t even have warranted an R rating, just an MA.

      • Sexual exploitation and Consume of illicit drugs, neither are very specific but I remember dragon age 2 being altered as one quest gave sex as a reward for saving an elf and depending on how drugs are handled either fictitious drugs or real drugs under different names.

        Not saying I think it should of been censored personally but when it comes the Australian classification board this game should of at least raised an eyebrow.

  • It’s up on the classification website now. According to the site, it was classified March 11th, seems a bit weird to wait nearly 2 months for publication, maybe the auto review system flagged it and it went to a manual review.

    Also drug use is rated at “moderate” which would fall under the M15+ catagory.

    Can’t wait for it now.

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