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State of Decay refused classification in Australia

Wednesday, 26th June 2013 06:43 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Following Saints Row 4, State of Decay has reportedly earned the dubious honour of becoming the second game to be refused classification in Australia since the implementation of the R18+ ratings category.

“State of Decay has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. We’ve run afoul of certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use,” Jeff Strain wrote on the Undead Labs forums.

“We’re working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it’s going to take a bit.”

Strain acknowledged fans frustrations but said Undead Labs will do everything it can to get the game to Australian players.

Microsoft later confirmed the classification result in a statement published on Kotaku.

“Today, State of Decay was given a Refused Classification (RC) rating by the Australian Classification Board, meaning that the game cannot be made available to Australian customers at this time. Microsoft is currently evaluating the options with regards to the title’s classification.

“Microsoft operates within the legal requirements of the Australian Classification Board when it comes to the rating of all its first party gaming titles and agrees that not all content is suitable for all audiences. The Australian Classification system plays an important role in ensuring that Australians can only access age appropriate games and content.”

Despite an earlier statement that the Board had not finalised its decision, the ACB eventually also confirmed the classification result. In a statement again supplied to Kotaku, the game’s problematic drug references were outlined; click hrough for the full report or view the choice parts below:

The game contains the option of self-administering a variety of ‘medications’ throughout gameplay which act to restore a player’s health or boost their stamina. These ‘medications’ include both legal and illicit substances such as methadone, morphine, amphetamines, stimulants, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, codeine, aspirin, ‘trucker pills’, painkillers and tussin. Of these, methadone, morphine, and amphetamines are proscribed drugs and the term “stimulant” is commonly used to refer to a class of drugs of which several are proscribed.

Consumption of the drug instantly increases a player’s in-game abilities allowing them to progress through gameplay more easily. The Applicant has stated that a ‘player can choose not to make any drugs or scavenge for them, but it would be very difficult to complete the game without some form of medication’. In the Board’s opinion, the game enables the player’s character to self-administer proscribed drugs which aid in gameplay progression. This game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be Refused Classification.

Bethesda’s Fallout 3 was struck by similar problems way back in 2008, but resubmitted with changes to descriptions and drug names.

Australia introduced an R18+ ratings category on January 1 in order to clearly demarcate content intended for adults from that considered suitable for minors. The new category’s guidelines were not significantly relaxed from the older MA15+ category’s, but there was a popular misconception that the new rating would ‘allow the floodgates to open’ on content considered inappropriate under previous guidelines. Clearly, this is not the case.

Games which have been refused classification cannot be legally vended within Australia.

Thanks, games.on.net.

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9 Comments

  1. bitsnark

    Well, this is fucking shit.

    Of course, this would be easy to fix for the Aussie folk.

    All the drugs in the game are represented by the same icon (a pill bottle), just rename them all Asprin (or painkillers as Max Payne 3 gets away with) and have done with it.

    It would literally be one of the easiest things ever to do.

    Now release the bloody thing over there so our Aussie cousins can enjoy one of the best XBLA offerings this gen.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Sylrissa

    So they just took the MA rating an changed it to R18+, because it’s the same BS all over again with games getting banned down under.

    Hasn’t changed a thing.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. m2stech

    Prolly they just need to introduce an R25+ classification…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. silkvg247

    I’d like to meet the members of this board and ask them if they do understand that actions in a game do not equal actions in real life. They seem to be the older generation god fearing folk that genuinely feel that video games are evil and will taint people. They also seem blissfully unaware that an adult should be able to pick and chose their own form of digital entertainment, and it’s borderline breach of human rights to not allow them to.

    I wonder if breaking bad is banned in Australia?

    Maybe we should start calling them China2.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Docker Al

    @#4 Not the fault of the board. They’re only following the legislation, they have no choice. As an Australian this is just so sad. The campaign to get an adults only rating for games took a decade and the result is nothing has changed. Two games banned in two days. What a fucking joke.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Digital Bamboo

    By these same restrictions, shouldn’t all Super Mario games be denied classification for their implied drug use, or how about Monster Hunter and its shrooms? They straight-up call them shrooms and they give the player different benefits when you eat them.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. The_Red

    Come fucking on. Fuck this government / rating body. I don’t know about SR4 but I have tried SoD and it is not a super offensive or graphic game. Seriously, those assholes fought against R18 for ages and now are back to their disgusting ban / censorship related tactics.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. OwnedWhenStoned

    torrents sans frontiers.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. DSB

    @4 China2, fuckin’ ay!

    #9 2 years ago

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