Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Australian Classification Board had refused to grant an age rating to the physical release of DayZ – the still-popular zombie sandbox game that sort-of inspired the battle royale genre. By not granting an age rating, the classification board had effectively banned the game – and this spread to online sales too, as the board was moving to block DayZ in digital stores.
This was entirely down to “illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards”, specifically down to mentions of cannabis as a usable substance – despite the fact that cannabis as an item or plant crop hasn’t actually been implemented in DayZ yet.
Developer Bohemia Interactive will be making changes to the game to make it fall in line with Australia’s classification, to both the physical and digital versions of the game – but the twist is that those changes won’t just affect Australia. Bohemia will be modifying the worldwide version of DayZ to remove all drug references from the game.
According to a statement given to Kotaku Australia, Bohemia says that it didn’t want “to separate Australian players from the rest of the world, since many people play cross-region. We love that DayZ is the place to meet with friends and experience the game without dramatic regional lag.”
“We are editing the global version of DayZ so it will fit into the Board’s requirements,” the developer explains. “The key objective is to keep the gameplay as authentic as it was, so players are not affected by this change.”
The studio did not specify what changes would be made to either the Australian or global versions of DayZ. Presumably if cannabis isn’t actually available in the game yet there shouldn’t be any obvious changes to DayZ. However, if the Australian Classification Board had objections to medical items – such as morphine – the changes could be more noticeable. Players will just have to wait and see, unfortunately.