We Happy Few Gets Banned In Australia, Developer Issues Statement
It’s certainly not everyday you hear that a game has been banned from an entire country. Though it’s not surprising why, there are blatantly violent and gruesome video game titles out there that never received even the slightest glance. Except why exactly is We Happy Few banned in Australia? The game features mind control, drugs, violence, which all dabbles in issues of modern society and controversial topics therein. According to the Australian Classification Board, all these sensitive topics have crossed a line and “offend against the standards of morality, decency, and propriety”.
To further elaborate, the ACB refused to classify We Happy Few, thus blocking its release and sale within the country. While this may come as a disappointment to many awaiting the game even after delays, Compulsion Games is willing to fight for it. The developer issued a public statement to the community that reveals their intentions to correspond with the Australian Classification Board and see what can be done to veto their decision. Here is there official response:
As many of you may know by now, yesterday the Australian Classification Board chose not to classify We Happy Few, effectively banning We Happy Few from sale in Australia. We are looking into it, and have asked for more information on the decision.
To our Australian fans, we share your frustration. We will work with the ACB on the classification. If the government maintains its stance, we will make sure that you can get a refund, and we will work directly with affected Kickstarter backers to figure something out. We would appreciate if you give us a little bit of time to appeal the decision before making a call.
We Happy Few is set in a dystopian society, and the first 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, our game’s overarching social commentary is no different than Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, or Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.
The game explores a range of modern themes, including addiction, mental health and drug abuse. We have had hundreds of messages from fans appreciating the treatment we’ve given these topics, and we believe that when players do get into the world they’ll feel the same way. We’re proud of what we’ve created.
We would like to respond to the thematic side of We Happy Few in more detail at a later date, as we believe it deserves more attention than a quick PR response. In the meantime we will be talking to the ACB to provide additional information, to discuss the issues in depth, and see whether they will change their minds.”
Hopefully an open and civil discussion will encourage the ACB to change their mind on We Happy Few. Video games are a medium for storytelling and a method for introspective creators to bring attention to problematic social problems in modern society. Thankfully, the developers are determined to make their case. What do you think of Australia’s ban on We Happy Few? Do you think this is just plain silliness or does the ACB have good reason? Let us know what you think in the comments section below or start a conversation on DFTG Facebook page. To stay up to date on gaming news as it happens, follow us on Twitter! Here’s some of our latest:
Hoi Duong1001 Posts
Hoi is an Editor and Writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Her favorite past-times include chillin' in The Fade, reading manga, watching anime, collecting novelty items, and gaming.