Last month, Compulsion Games’ upcoming adventure survival game, We Happy Few, was denied classification in Australia. This effectively banned the game from release there, as a game without a rating cannot legally be sold in the country. The inclusion of drugs in We Happy Few was the root of the issue, as the game takes place in a society being forced to consume Joy—pills that keep them ‘happy.’ The Australian Classification Board denied the rating based on a clause which states that games depicting “drug misuse…in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults” should not receive classification.
Compulsion Games maintained that We Happy Few‘s inclusion of such heavy themes was done with care and positive intent, as “the whole point of the game is to reject this programming and fight back.” At the time of the game’s rejection, the developer promised to explore its options further with the ACB, and that has now resulted in a second chance for We Happy Few.
Earlier today, the Australian Classification Review Board announced that it had received an application to review the game’s classification, and that a meeting to “consider the application” and re-evaluate the game will be happening in the near future. This decision will allow We Happy Few to get consideration with a clean slate. “The Classification Review Board is an independent merits review body,” the announcement reads. “It makes a fresh classification decision upon receipt of an application for review.”
If We Happy Few is to be given classification in Australia, hopefully the Board will look at the game’s aforementioned themes of rejecting the drugs to ultimately succeed, rather than the general inclusion of them at all. Either way, the Australian Classification Review Board will be posting its full decision and reasoning to Australia’s Classification website after the meeting.
We Happy Few is set to release in August 2018. Its re-evaluation with the Australian Classification Review Board will take place on July 3.