We Happy Few, a game about a fictional drug that turn its users into perpetually happy psychopaths, will not be released in Australia, probably because of its depiction of drugs. What a downer.
Yesterday, the Australian Classification Board revealed that We Happy Few received the “Refused Classification” rating, or RC for short. According to the site, We Happy Few “[depicts], [expresses], or otherwise [deals] 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.” Since any piece of media that is refused classification can’t be released in the country, Australian gamers will not be able to obtain the game legally.
While We Happy Few features plenty of crime and violence, the game was most likely refused classification because it revolves around a fictional drug called Joy. In the game, Joy keeps the citizens of the fictional city of Wellington Wells in a constant euphoric state. The drug also makes them more than willing to violently attack people, including the player character, who don’t use Joy. Basically, the game’s entire premise focuses on the dangers of drug misuse and addiction.
We Happy Few is not the first game to be banned in Australia. Games such as Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, Manhunt, Postal 2, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings were refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. However, all is not lost. Developer Compulsion Games could edit We Happy Few and resubmit it to the Australian Classification Board for a new rating, but that is easier said than done. Assuming We Happy Few’s depiction of drugs was to blame, Compulsion Games would have to make some major changes since the entire story focuses on a drug that turned a city into a den of psychopaths. That’s not to say the studio can’t figure out a solution, just that replacing one or two scenes in the game with a picture of a crying Koala isn’t going to cut it.
Only time will tell if We Happy Few will ever be released in Australia. We can only imagine the thoughts running through the minds of Australian gamers who backed the game’s Kickstarter campaign.