Compulsion Games & Gearbox publishing have successfully appealed the ban of We Happy Few in Australia according to a news post on the game’s Steam Community page.

The indie survival adventure We Happy Few was refused classification in Australia in late May of this year, effectively making the game impossible to legally sell in the country. The main sticking point was that players had to take a fictional in-game drug called “Joy” in order to progress with the story. The classification board also took issue with the ability for players to optionally take Joy in order to progress through the game faster.

The developer and publisher elected to appeal the ruling and were successful. A news post on the classification board confirms the reversal, and a press release details the reasoning behind the reversal:

The National Classification Code and Classification Guidelines requires the treatment of drug use to not exceed high at the R 18+ level. In the Classification Review Board’s opinion We Happy Few warrants an R 18+ classification because the interactive drug use is high in impact. The overall impact of the classifiable elements in the computer game was no greater than high.

More details will be published on the Classification Review Board decisions page once it’s been properly prepared. Appeals are handled by an independent body separate from the original reviewers. The decision on a game’s classification by the independent board reviewing an appeal takes precedence over the original, and in this case that means that We Happy Few will now be able to be purchased by Australian gamers over the age of 18.

Compulsion Games was prepared to refund Australian players if they were unable to successfully appeal the ruling. You can pre-purchase We Happy Few on the Microsoft Store for the Xbox One or the PlayStation Store for the PlayStation 4. PC Players can add the game to their Steam wishlist.

What do you think of Compulsion Games & Gearbox Publishing successfully appealing the ban of We Happy Few in Australia? Do you think the rules against including drug use in video games are sensible? Let us know in the comments below!

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Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!