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State of Decay Possibly Refused Classification in Australia – Update: Confirmed

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Coming hot on the heels of Saint’s Row IV‘s refused classification, we now get word that State of Decay has also – possibly – been refused classification in Australia. According to a developer’s post on the official State of Decay forums, the Australian Classification Board (ACB) has refused to classify the game on the grounds of “certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use”. Developers are reportedly working with Microsoft to overcome this ratings decision, including “changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements”.

The statement concludes –

“I know this is frustrating — believe me, we’re frustrated too — but each country has the right to set its own rules about content, and it’s our responsibility to comply with them. Rest assured we’ll do everything we can to find a way to get the game into your hands. Stay tuned.”

There is no timeframe for the appeal, but “[w]hatever [Undead Labs’] path forward, it’s going to take a bit.”

Official word from the ACB does not confirm or deny this ruling, with the following statement released to GameArena

“The computer game State of Decay has been submitted for classification but the Board has not yet finalised their decision.”

We’ll keep you updated.

(Source: Undead Labs’ forum, via Vooks and GameArena

UPDATE:

It’s leaning towards confirmed. Microsoft have sent the following statement to Kotaku Australia, confirming the ACB’s RC rating:

“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”

UPDATE 2:

State of Decay has officially been refused classification. Here’s the full statement from the Classification Board, courtesy Kotaku Au:

“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. Players obtain drugs by scavenging for them in the environment or by manufacturing them in a “Medical Lab”. When players find drugs in the environment the name of the drug appears onscreen and the drug is also represented by a visual icon such as a pill bottle or syringe. Within the “Medical Lab” players are prompted to make substances such as “Potent Stims”, “Mild Stims” and “Painkillers”. The laboratory includes a “research library” and “chemical dictionary”. When administering drugs, the player is briefly depicted moving a pill bottle toward their mouth. The sound of pills rattling in the bottle accompanies the depiction. The name of the drug appears onscreen along with its representative icon. 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.”

Lachlan Williams
Former Editor in Chief of OnlySP. A guy who writes things about stuff, apparently. Recovering linguist, blue pencil surgeon, and professional bishie sparkler. In between finding the latest news, reviewing PC games, and generally being a grumpy bossyboots, he likes to watch way too much Judge Judy. He perhaps has too much spare time on his hands. Based in Sydney, Australia. Follow him on twitter @lawksland.

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