Bethesda’s upcoming space opera epic Starfield has received an R 18+ rating in Australia for violence and interactive drug use meaning it will only be available for purchase to gamers over 18.
In Australia, R 18+ is considered to be the highest restricted category for films and computer games and is reserved for titles that contain “content that is high in impact for viewers” or “content that may be offensive to sections of the adult community”. A graphic provided by the board has shown that the game’s interactive drug use was the deciding factor in the R 18+ rating.
The violence featured in the game is considered to have a strong impact, while the themes and language featured are considered to be moderate. The chart also suggests that there may be some degree of nudity in Starfield but no sex. The R 18+ rating is the highest restriction a Bethesda title has received in the country so far with both Fallout 4 and Skyrim receiving the lesser restriction of MA 15+.
The classification board in Australia is notorious for its no-tolerance approach to the depiction of drugs in video games. Bethesda titles like Fallout are known to feature Jet, which is technically considered to be methamphetamine. In the context of the game, the drug can be useful to players and offer advantages such as the ability to slow down time but an over-reliance on the drug can lead to the player-created character becoming addicted and dependent on it.
Although it’s been pitched as a completely new universe, it’s likely that Starfield will feature items with stat buffs but carry similar addictive traits. Back in 2008, Fallout 3 was banned outright in Australia for its depiction of drug use so it looks like Starfield has only just managed to scrape past the classification board in this case.