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UPDATE: State of Decay “banned” in Australia

Proving that it doesn't rain, it pours: Another game has been Refused Classification in Australia. This time, it's Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade offering State of Decay, which was famously delayed Down Under due to confusion with the Board.

The Classification Board database has not yet been updated with information on the new game, but developer Undead Labs has posted the following statement to its forums:

I have bad news to share: State of Decay has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board (ACB). We've run afoul of certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use. We're working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it's going to take a bit.

It seems that State of Decay has run into one of the same barriers as Saints Row IV - that is, the use of illicit or proscribed substances in a way that benefits the in-game character.

In Fallout 3, this was morphine. In Saints Row IV, it was "alien narcotics". Taking drugs in both games would boost hit points, prevent further character damage, or in some way make the character "better" - something the Classification Board feels very strongly about.

From the Board's report:

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.

The drugs are contained in pill bottles or syringes, both of which tread too closely to real-world drug use. The Board goes on to explain that these drugs are accessible through scavenging in the environment, or by manufacturing them in a "Medical Lab", which contains a research library and chemical dictionary.

The Board has found State of Decay to contain "drug use related to incentives or rewards", and as such has been Refused Classification.

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5 Responses to “UPDATE: State of Decay “banned” in Australia”

  1. [...] week after State of Decay was officially refused classification in Australia due to in-game drug use leading to incentives or rewards, Undead Labs has tweaked the game a bit [...]

  2. [...] original version of the game had the same level of violence, but paired that with drug use related to incentives or rewards, which got State of Decay Refused Classification – effectively banned from sale or display Down [...]

  3. […] of Decay faced a few initial problems, being refused classification in Australia and struggling with classification, but once it was released, gamers couldn't get […]

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