We Happy Few Denied Classification In Australia, Developer Responds

Not so happy.

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[UPDATE] Developer Compulsion Games has now written a blog post in which it said it is frustrated by the news. In getting denied a classification, that means We Happy Few is effectively banned in the country (though of course enterprising gamers will find a way to play it either by importing or other means). Still, it's a roadblock that Compulsion is upset over. The studio said it is currently looking into the matter and has requested more information.

"To our Australian fans, we share your frustration," the studio said. "We will work with the [Australia Classification Board] on the classification. If the government maintains its stance, we will make sure that you can get a refund, and we will work directly with affected Kickstarter backers to figure something out. We would appreciate if you give us a little bit of time to appeal the decision before making a call."

"We Happy Few is set in a dystopian society, and the first scene consists of the player character redacting material that could cause offense to 'society at large,' as part of his job as a government 'archivist.' It's a society that is forcing its citizens to take Joy, and the whole point of the game is to reject this programming and fight back. In this context, our game's overarching social commentary is no different than Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, or Terry Gilliam's Brazil."

"The game explores a range of modern themes, including addiction, mental health and drug abuse. We have had hundreds of messages from fans appreciating the treatment we've given these topics, and we believe that when players do get into the world they'll feel the same way. We're proud of what we've created."

"We would like to respond to the thematic side of We Happy Few in more detail at a later date, as we believe it deserves more attention than a quick PR response. In the meantime we will be talking to the ACB to provide additional information, to discuss the issues in depth, and see whether they will change their minds."

The original story is below.

We Happy Few, the BioShock-inspired game that entered Early Access back in 2016, is finally coming out this year, but its road to release may be rockier in Australia. The game was refused classification in the country under the Games 1 (a) clause. Here is the official wording, pulled from the Classification Board's website (via Kotaku):

"Reason: Games 1(a)The computer game is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code, Computer Games Table, 1. (a) as computer games that 'depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.'"

Neither developer Compulsion Games nor publisher Gearbox Software (which is handling the physical edition) has yet to respond to this refusal notice in Australia; keep checking back for more.

We Happy Few has been announced for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It was already playable on PC (and Xbox One) through Early Access, but in January when the game was delayed to summer 2018, Compulsion removed the ability to pre-buy the game.

The game is set in an alternate-history version of 1960s England in the fictional town of Wellington Wells. Players take on the role of characters who refuse to take their mind-altering happy pills and must find a way to escape from the town without being caught by its citizens. Players can get Early Access to the title right now on PC and Xbox One for $51. Compulsion released a new update for it today dubbed "Life in Technicolour," which adds new Joy effects and improves other aspects of the game like UI and AI.

We Happy Few joins Saints Row IV, State of Decay, Hotline Miami 2, and South Park: Stick of Truth in being initially refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. Modified versions of some of those games were subsequently submitted to the board and granted ratings, the highest of which is the R18+ adult rating for video games.

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Avatar image for urbanman2004
urbanman2004

This should be of no surprise. Austrailia has always been faint of heart when it comes to censorship

Avatar image for teppolundgren
teppolundgren

Everything is denied, censored or banned in Australia. Which is a great shame, because it's a great country otherwise.

Avatar image for Smosh150
Smosh150

Isn't one of the core aspects of the game meant to tackle the morality of taking drugs and what not? I mean to me it just sounds like the rating board has a checklist and only ticks a box with no other comment on the aspect.

Avatar image for lorddaggeroff
lorddaggeroff

I do agree to why this games banned.

Your in a era where drugs were prevalent, and alot of the themes inspire that era; while that's not alot to go on nor any reason to ban it what is however is the seperating of someone who is in a dream (with out revealing how they entered that dream where alot of developers gear towards that notion with less or little emphasis on drugs.) Where when they leave that drug induced coma they are in a era where drugs were once prevalent and yet abundant. So how you enter into it being fair or not the games wriddled in the theme drugs are drugs, and how you use drugs results in this case can have mixed messages towards the individual (yes chopping off a zombies limbs every 10 seconds would signal to classification board that that game is or the needle is a message not necessary for a game, that's why they brought out a new classification, it's just the developer of "we happy few" either new this would happen and welcomed the free publicity.

It's hard to please everyone but I can understand why games like this one in particular (as the others were just concerned people annoyed their children might experience a left 4 dead kid mass murderer)

But with what's going on in America I think it should honestly be banned there, with the guns too.

Australia is a nutural country and I don't think this games necessary for kids or teenagers as it's message is hidden.

Anyways your not missing out on anything it's just a bioshock infinite inspired steam punk game(yet bioshock didn't hide its nature while being under water, or in the sky. as this game does and killing someone in their house after the drugs have worn off and noticing a depraved decripid house with the homeless really makes this game distasteful.

You can still obtain this game with a VPN, or different account. just like you could postal apocalypse where that was also a game in this category but with really comical satire.

So the developers getting good free advertisement for a banned game.

Avatar image for urbanman2004
urbanman2004

@lorddaggeroff: Dude, if you wanna make such an argument like that then they should've banned Bioshock Infinite too based on your logic. You're def out of touch when it comes to the concept of creativity

Avatar image for lorddaggeroff
lorddaggeroff

@urbanman2004: na I think I touched every point your just touching a certain point.

Avatar image for Cikatriz_ESP
Cikatriz_ESP

@lorddaggeroff: Dude... what?

Avatar image for lorddaggeroff
lorddaggeroff

@Cikatriz_ESP: Get off the internet.

Avatar image for NaturallyEvil
NaturallyEvil

Does it really matter? Does the Australian government actually bother tracking this stuff if you paid for the Kickstarter, then use Bittorent to download the game in AU? I don't think the devs are going to waste money suing people for pirating in a country where they can't sell their game anyway, and if they do they can just look up your Kickstarter account.

Edit: Didn't see this was on X1. File this under "Console Problems".

Avatar image for teppolundgren
teppolundgren

@NaturallyEvil: If they catch you torrenting the game, they'll have you killed by a kangaroo death squad.

Is it really worth the risk?

Avatar image for delahunty
delahunty

Why is this shit still happening here? We went through years of interference from religious nutjobs and halfwit politicians in order to get an R Classification added, and we are still having games banned? This is such bullshit! So sick of the killjoy morons who are allowed to dictate what adults can and cannot do in the privacy of their own homes. We need an end to moralistic and religious interference in people's private lives NOW! Freedom of religion bullshit, what we need is freedom from religion and all moralistic garbage about private behaviour.

Avatar image for Dragerdeifrit
Dragerdeifrit

@delahunty: Religion is suffering a painful but slow death due to the exposition of diverese ideas through internet and other entretainment mediums, people do no longer grow inside echo chambers for the most part, don't worry, it wont be long before newer generations take over Australia regulations, just wait a little more. :3

Avatar image for Cikatriz_ESP
Cikatriz_ESP

@delahunty: I'm from a country that allowed a reality television star to become president. I'm able to sleep at night because I remind myself that younger generations are more forward thinking than they've ever been; it's simply a matter of waiting for the current generation to die off.

Avatar image for nikolistary
nikolistary

Bloomin onions...

Avatar image for xdeathclawx
XDeathClawX

Worst country to game in.

Avatar image for xenomorphalien
XenomorphAlien

They can deal with spiders the size of a window but not an M rated game.

Avatar image for Dragerdeifrit
Dragerdeifrit

@xenomorphalien: We should bann spiders from coming to 'Murica

Avatar image for xenomorphalien
XenomorphAlien

@Dragerdeifrit: Nah they get rid of those mosquitoes. They're cool.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b2c8e0382c99

@xenomorphalien: ?

Avatar image for novaprime1985
NovaPrime1985

Dear "fellow" Americans, you realllllllly might wanna stfu and look to our own politicians on both Democrat & Republican sides that LOVE to blame video games for a slew of things and would love nothing more than to outright ban a great deal of them from being created.

Avatar image for xdeathclawx
XDeathClawX

@novaprime1985: No, they jus LOVE using games amongst other things as scapegoats and offer NO solution.

Some fools may try to toss dumb laws into place (knowing they would fail) to make themselves look proactive and jus toss shade on the other side while actually not doing a god damn thing.

It's all smoke n mirrors. politicians are useless.

Although there are certain politicians who do want to ban games, most don't give a damn.

Avatar image for ratchet200
ratchet200

I knew i shouldn't have looked in the comments... Just people saying how shit Australia is and how great America is.

If censorship is the worst thing people can say about Australia then hey, i'm pretty happy with that.

Avatar image for Dragerdeifrit
Dragerdeifrit

@ratchet200: Censorship.... and car sized spiders...

Avatar image for xdeathclawx
XDeathClawX

@ratchet200: Shit place to play games :D

Avatar image for deactivated-5b2c8e0382c99

@ratchet200: I’m from America, but I agree with you. Australia is awesome.

Avatar image for xdeathclawx
XDeathClawX

@frosty988: Shit place to play games :D

Avatar image for BLiTZ_156
BLiTZ_156

Australia is great otherwise.

But people similar to those from the Zuckerberg interview, are mostly in charge.

Avatar image for skippert
skippert

@BLiTZ_156: Including Zuckerberg? Because boy is he doing great...

Avatar image for innergame
InnerGame

Wait, it looks like a censor.

Avatar image for soliaired50
Soliaired50

@Cikatriz_ESP: Yep, spoken like a true Murican dumbass that you are.

Avatar image for Cikatriz_ESP
Cikatriz_ESP

@soliaired50: Burned me hard, bro. Put another check in the win column.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

In other words, they didn't bribe the review board like other companies did.

Avatar image for Sorrow_316
Sorrow_316

Jeez, talk about government overreach. Maybe one day Australia will find freedom to purchase whatever artwork they wish.

Avatar image for karnis
karnis

your ratings board is fucking ridiculous

Avatar image for Salt_AU
Salt_AU

@karnis: I'm Australian and yes, I'd say pretty much every gamer here would agree.

Avatar image for velcroboy
velcroboy

Remind me never to move to Australia.

Avatar image for watercrack445
watercrack445

@velcroboy: Australia was one the top destination 10 years ago and now, not too many people don't seem to be interested to visit there. The conservative government has been ruling Australia since a decade ago and soon, it will become a Chinese colony state.......somewhere in the future...

Avatar image for aross2004
aross2004

@velcroboy: Why would you want to? There's probably at least 50 things that could kill you just going out to your mailbox.

Avatar image for Salt_AU
Salt_AU

@aross2004: Its actually 73 things on average, I've counted.

Avatar image for velcroboy
velcroboy

@aross2004: I'm just saying. I'm not really a person known for making, "good life decisions." It's probably because of the video games. XD

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