The Australian Classification Board is currently reviewing its previous ban on Compulsion Games’ upcoming dystopian adventure game “We Happy Few.” After refusing to assign a rating for the game, it effectively ensured that it would not be eligible to be sold in the country. Now, it looks like that could all be changing in the future.
The review is the result of an appeal from Compulsion Games, as the decision was made due to the appearance of the “incentivization” of drugs in the game. As the Classification Board’s report explained, “A player that takes Joy can reduce gameplay difficulty, therefore receiving an incentive by progressing through the game quickly.”
The appeal argued that the usage of Joy is indeed negative, as Joy itself is a product of a dystopian society that exercises drug-induced control over its population, and should not in fact be seen in a positive light.
“We Happy Few” is a first-person survival adventure game that tasks players with escaping the crazed citizens of the dystopian city Wellington Wells. Modeled after 1964 London, the area is teeming with inhabitants who are forced to take the drug Joy, which keeps them docile, easy to control, and “happy.” The goal is to make it out of the city alive, without succumbing to the enforced drug use if at all possible, or being captured.
Australia’s Classification Act of 1995 states that “Every film and computer game has to be classified before it can be legally made available to the public,” and by refusing one for “We Happy Few,” it appeared the outfit had officially signed the death warrant for Compulsion Games’ upcoming title. This isn’t the first game to be given this treatment, as previously titles such as “Outlast 2” were treated similarly in the past.
The Board has scheduled a meeting for July 3, where it will review public submissions from those who want to discuss the matter “as a interested party to this review,” specifically as the process relates to “We Happy Few.” From there, a decision will be made in the coming weeks following the review.
Elsewhere, “We Happy Few” is targeting a summer release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, with Mac and Linux versions planned at a later date.