Update, May 24: We Happy Few will be sold in Australia, following an appeal to overturn a ban by the country’s classification board.
We Happy Few’s Australian sales ban has been overturned following a successful appeal by the game’s publisher, Gearbox. The game was initially refused classification in Australia due to its portrayal of drug use – We Happy Few tasks you with surviving without use of the fictional hallucinogenic drug Joy, which NPCs take to attempt to forget a shared trauma.
In a statement, developer Compulsion said that the game “explores a range of modern themes,” and offers a “social commentary no different than Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World or Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.”
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In their final report, the Australian Classification Board stated that a three-member panel had unanimously determined that the game can be classified as R18+, allowing it to be sold in the country. The panel determined that the game’s interactive drug use did not exceed ‘high’ levels, and that the game will be sold with a consumer advice label confirming its “fantasy violence and interactive drug use.”
According to a statement provided toPC Gamer(the statement in its entirety contains some minor story spoilers), the ACB initially stated that “in the board’s opinion, the game’s drug-use mechanic making game progression less difficult constitutes an incentive or reward for drug-use and therefore, the game exceeds the R 18+ classification that states, ‘drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted’, Therefore, the game warrants being Refused Classification.”
You can read Complusion’s initial statement on the banhere. In a new message issued yesterday, Compulsion said that “we are extremely pleased with the decision of the board, and excited that our Australian fans and new players will be able to experience We Happy Few without modification.” The game appears to still be on track for its August 10 release date, despite this bump in the road.