It’s Possible We Happy Few May Never Release in Australia
We Happy Few, the upcoming survival action-RPG by Compulsion Games, was refused classification in Australia.
A refused classification listing for We Happy Few appeared on the Classification Board’s website, saying it was refused a rating under the Games 1(a) clause. The clause states “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.”
An important part of We Happy Few’s narrative and gameplay revolves around the in-game drug known as Joy. In the game, the citizens of Wellington Wells are expected to take Joy on a regular basis to detract from the real horrors of reality. Players can choose to not take the pill which makes the game significantly more difficult, with enemies being able to detect your character more easily, making stealth more of a challenge.
“A player that takes Joy can reduce gameplay difficulty, therefore receiving an incentive by progressing through the game quickly. Although there are alternative methods to complete the game, gameplay requires the player to take Joy to progress,” the report reads.
The report goes on:
“In one sequence, an NPC is viewed on the ground, convulsing owing to a reaction from taking a Joy pill, which has subsequently turned bad. After several NPCs encourage her to take Joy and she refuses, fearing that it will have an adverse effect, they beat her with steel pots and a shovel, until she is implicitly killed.
In another sequence, the player is seen in first-person view, entering a telephone box that contains three large pill dispensers, each holding a different flavoured Joy pill. The player consumes a Joy pill and a swarm of brightly-coloured butterflies appear as well as rainbows and coloured pathways on the ground, improving speed and visibility for the player.”
The clause for incentivized drug use has been a concern in video games in Australia in the past such as the banning of Saints Row IV.
We Happy Few was scheduled for an April release but as has since been pushed back to a Summer 2018 release window. It will release on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.