Just recently we learned that Australia, the country that recently loosened its policy on violent video games, has banned the sale of Saints Row 4 because of its use of alien anal probes. Today, we learned that it’s now banning the release of State of Decay, a wonderfully-received open-world zombie title from indie studio Undead Labs.
The board cites the use of drugs used in the game, noting that they are essential to making forward progress for players. “Drug use related to incentives or rewards” is strictly prohibited by the board, even for games within the R18+ classification rating, which is roughly equal to M for Mature here in the states.
It sort of makes that newly instated higher classification of R18+ pointless, huh? If you want to read the entire statement issued by the board, you can do so below.
“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.”
Until we hear more, both Saints Row 4 and State of Decay will not be seeing official releases down under. Which sort of makes this old photoshop placed below irrelevant… so I’ve updated it accordingly.