The door might have been shut on Disco Elysium‘s console and physical re-release in Australia, but there’s a glimmer of hope: the game’s refused classification rating is being officially reviewed.
A meeting of the Classification Review Board, the external party to the Classification Board which handles the reviews for all challenges to classification decisions in Australia, is being held today to discuss Disco Elysium. The panel is a part-time organisation consisting of 10 members on two-year long rotations, all of whom only meet whenever a classification decision has been formally challenged.
Between 2014 and 2018, for instance, the Review Board only met 11 times. The Review Board has been successful in overturning bans for video games in the past, like We Happy Few, although typically most publishers have resubmitted their games for classification with modifications rather than going through the formal review process.
The Classification Board’s R18+ rating for Spiral: From the Book of Saw is also being re-reviewed, although the board ultimately opted to retain the original rating. The decisions of the review board are generally announced pretty quickly, so we should have more news pretty soon about whether Australians will have easy access to Disco Elysium on consoles or not. (If you’re on PC, you can just buy the game through GOG or Steam — both platforms have ignored the RC rating entirely.)
It’ll be interesting to see what the Review Board does. In We Happy Few‘s case, the panel argued that the traditional restrictions of the refused classification rating in regards to drug usage didn’t apply due to the context of the game. Disco Elysium might have a slightly harder time given the game’s structure and the way skill checks are performed. Last time I checked the RC guidelines, quests that include “Find Speed and Sniff It” aren’t exactly welcome.