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Australian classification board to reconsider We Happy Few ban

Appeal made for Compulsion Games' upcoming title after incentivised drug use denied it a rating

The Australian Government's Classification Review Board could reverse its decision to deny We Happy Few a release on consoles and desktops Down Under.

According to a statement, the board has "received an application to review the classification" for the title, which was denied a rating back in May. It's not stated who made this application, but it's likely to be either the developer Compulsion Games or publisher Gearbox.

The game was denied classification back in May, although at the time the reasons were vague. Since then, the original ruling has been found and the problem stems from the game's Joy mechanic. Players take Joy pills to fit in with the rest of We Happy Few's deluded society - if they stop taking it, NPCs become hostile.

The board believes that this system, which essentially makes the game easier if players take the pill, "constituted an incentive or reward for drug-use" and therefore exceeeded the R18+ classification and was denied a release.

However, with an appeal made the board will meet again next week to reconsider the application. The statement also offers details on how interested parties or organisations can get involved in the discussion, providing they submit an application by Friday, June 29th.

"Please note the Review Board can only consider submissions about We Happy Few itself and not any other matters relating to computer game classification policy or issues generally," the statement warns.

We Happy Few has been available in Early Access since 2016, but Compulsion Games is now building up to a final release on August 10th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. It is almost certainly Compulsion's last title for PlayStation now that Microsoft picked up the company in a surprise wave of four studio acquisitions.

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James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was