Development studio Compulsion Games has joined the long list of video game developers who got their products banned for distribution in Australia. The We Happy Few Australian Classification Board ban apparently happened because of in-game drug use. As you may have already heard, the upcoming multiplaform game We Happy Few tackles some pretty controversial themes.
Right, and now a word or two about the devs. Members of Compulsion started by working on a variety of projects, including Valve’s The Orange Box, and Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3. Their game Contrast did pretty well, and in fact was downloaded for PS3 and PS4 1 million times. The interesting thing about these guys is that they really made an effort to bring Contrast to life. In order to raise the budget for the game money for Contrast, their team worked on other games like Darksiders, Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale, and even Arthur Christmas: Elf Run for iOS.
According to the Australian Classification Board, certain titles are Refused Classification regularly if they “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.”
Almost immediately after the board’s decision, the folks at Compulsion stated they have received “hundreds of messages from fans appreciating the treatment we’ve given [We Happy Few‘s themes], and we believe that when players do get into the world they’ll feel the same way.”
Mentioning the game’s We Happy Few‘s introduction scene (which has become almost iconic at this point), Compulsion said that the scene “consists of the player character redacting material that could cause offense to ‘society at large’, as part of his job as a government ‘archivist’. It’s a society that is forcing its citizens to take Joy, and the whole point of the game is to reject this programming and fight back.”
“In this context,” they added, “our game’s overarching social commentary is no different than Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, or Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.” The whole situation may not end there, because the development studio also noted that Compulsion notes that it “will be talking to the ACB to provide additional information, to discuss the issues in depth, and see whether they will change their minds.”
I played the PC beta a while back, and I have to say that these guys really nailed the presentation of a dystopian atmosphere in which a crumbling society relies heavily on drug consumption. In other words, it seems like a shame gamers in Australia will have to skip this.
[Source: PC Gamer]