Wasteland 3 by inXile Entertainment was temporarily refused classification by the Australian ratings board, before being resubmitted and approved.
The news comes via Twitter. The account Ref Classification (@RefusedC) follows and posts about media that has been effectively censored by the Australian Classification Board. Titles that have been refused classification are effectively banned from sale within Australia.
On February 26th, Wasteland 3 was refused classification. However, on March 13th that decision was reversed, allowing the game to be sold in Australia.
After being resubmitted, Wasteland 3 now possesses an R18+ Restricted rating for “Sexual activity related to incentives and rewards,” and “online activity“. The Australian Classification Board has also noted Wasteland 3 for its themes, violence, language, and drug use.
While inXile has yet to confirm what if any changes were made, the game’s resubmission and subsequent approval heavily imply Wasteland 3 has been censored to suit the Australian Classification Board.
Australia is known for banning games and requiring developers to censor their titles in order to release; most notably the title We Happy Few by Compulsion Games was banned and reapproved multiple times, after multiple adjustments were made to the game.
In particular, that game’s mechanics and themes surrounding drugs and incentivizing drug use, are under intense scrutiny by the Australia Classification Board, prompting both We Happy Few and DayZ to censor and otherwise alter such references.
UPDATE: We recieved the following statement from Compultion Games, the developers of We Happy Few. “Just a small factual correction that we did not change or modify We Happy Few in any way, despite triggering the ban twice. We successfully appealed the ruling each time by engaging with the censorship board and explaining why we thought our game did not contain a pro-drug message.”
In the case of DayZ, all references to marijuana were removed worldwide, making Australia’s censorship more than just a national issue for gamers, as developers may opt to edit their games around the strictest censors.
As Wasteland 3 features drugs that can offer bonuses and cigarettes, we speculate if this was the reason for the game’s initial rejection. There has been no confirmation as such at this time however.
Back in July 2018, Australian Senator and leader of the Australian Liberal Democrats David Leyonhjelm proposed a bill to the Australian government to prevent video games from being banned in the region. However the bill lapsed at the end of parliament in June 2019 and is no longer proceeding.