The Australian Censorship Review Board is currently reviewing the ban on Compulsion Games' upcoming dystopian adventure game We Happy Few .
The review is the result of an appeal from Compulsion Games, as the decision was made due to the appearance of the incentivization of drugs in the game. As the Cesnorship Board's report explained, A player that takes Joy can reduce gameplay
difficulty, therefore receiving an incentive by progressing through the game quickly.
The appeal argued that the usage of Joy is indeed negative, as Joy itself is a product of a dystopian society that exercises drug-induced control over its population, and should not in fact be seen in a positive light.
The Board has scheduled a meeting for July 3, where it will review public submissions from those who want to discuss the matter as a interested party to this review, specifically as the process relates to We Happy Few. From there, a decision will
be made in the coming weeks following the review.
We Happy Few is a 2018 Canada survival horror from Compulsion Games
We Happy Few is the tale of a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial in the city of Wellington Wells. In this alternative 1960s England, conformity is key. You'll have to fight or blend in
with the drug-addled inhabitants, most of whom don't take kindly to people who won't abide by their not-so-normal rules.
In May 2018, the Australian Censorship Board announced that We Happy Few has been banned in Australia.
The censors noted that the game's depictions of drug use related to incentives and rewards, in this case the beneficial effects of using Joy pills, could not be accommodated within the R 18+ category.
The Soma-like drug Joy is used in the game to detract the citizens of Wellington Wells from the Orwellian reality they live in.
There's no word yet on if Compulsion Games will make cuts to the game to satisfy the Board, but it s often the case.
The game is set for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC this summer.
The game developer Compulsion Games has responded to the ban:
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.