‘We Happy Few’ Australian Rating Ban Overturned Upon Review

We Happy Few
Courtesy of Compulsion Games

A three-member panel of the Australian Classification Board reviewed Compulsion Games’ dystopian adventure title “We Happy Few” and determined that the game be rated R 18+ classification, reversing an earlier decision that the game should not be classified, and thus not eligible for sale in Australia.

“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 developers wrote on its site following the news. “We want to thank everybody who got involved in the discussion, contacted the board and sent us countless messages of support.  Your involvement made a huge difference.”

The rating was awarded with additional consumer advice in the form of warnings that it does contain “fantasy violence and interactive drug use.” The review comes in response to an appeal from Gearbox Publishing after a decision was made to refuse classification “We Happy Few” for sale in Australia. The Classification Board’s report had determined that the usage of the chemical “Joy” in-game was “incentivizing” drug use.

“A player that takes Joy can reduce gameplay difficulty, therefore receiving an incentive by progressing through the game quickly,” the report read.

As a result, the lack of a classification would have effectively kept the game from being sold. Now, with the decision to award an R 18+ classification, “We Happy Few” can be sold in-stores.

That decision, according to the board, was driven by a new decision that the overall impact of the classifiable elements in the computer game was no greater than high. Had it been higher, the game would have remained unclassified. Computer games classified R 18+ are legally restricted to adults. Persons aged under 18 years cannot purchase computer games classified R 18+.

“We Happy Few” is an upcoming first-person survival adventure game that explores the dystopian city of Wellington Wells. Based on a vision of 1960s London, it’s chock-full of crazed citizens who are all under the influence of the drug Joy, which keeps them pliable and under the control of the city’s governing officials. The goal is to mount an escape from the terrifying city without being forced into taking Joy, or being captured by the authorities.