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Citing morality standard, Australia’s ratings board rejects ‘We Happy Few’

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We Happy Few, the psychedelic survival game from Compulsion Games, has been denied a rating by the Australian Classification Board. Here’s the official description as to why the committee views the game to be unsuitable, Kotaku reports:

“Reason: Games 1(a)The computer game is classified RC [refused classifcation] in accordance with the National Classification Code, Computer Games Table, 1. (a) as computer games that ‘depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.'”

What does this mean? Well, the Australian Classification Board is basically the country’s version of the ESRB. Without an assigned rating, We Happy Few won’t be released in stores in Australia. Getting denied by a rating is essentially a ban.

This isn’t the first time a game has had trouble receiving a rating in Australia. AAA games such as Saints Row IV, State of Decay, and South Park: Stick of Truth were all initially rejected. Each of those three games was later accepted after the flagged content was modified. It’s tough to say which route the developers of We Happy Few will take.

Compulsion Games is by no means a large developer, although the game is being published by the considerably larger Gearbox Software. Compulsion could either fall in line with the aforementioned titles and tone down the content, or it could go the route of a game like Hotline Miami 2, which never received an Australian rating after being rejected.

We Happy Few takes place in an alternate timeline of the 1960s. The citizens of Wellington Wells are all hooked on a hallucinogen called Joy, which they take to forget their role in World War II. Although the drug makes the people ridiculously happy, they are more prone to being immoral and manipulated.

The game has been in Early Access since 2016, but much of the game hasn’t been made available to players. Only one of the three protagonists is playable and following a delay from its expected April launch, Compulsion Games removed the ability to purchase the game until its full release.

We Happy Few is slated to launch this summer on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Steven Petite
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven is a writer from Northeast Ohio currently based in Louisiana. He writes about video games and books, and consumes…
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