A Toby Fox game, which is almost certainly Deltarune, has had its Australian classification changed due to the use of "coarse language". Fox was told that the rating would be updated regarding the classification, but Fox didn't share what the new classification is in that region.
Why has the Deltarune Australian classification changed?
In a tweet posted earlier today, Fox shared a message, accompanying a screenshot of said message with his own addition of "thanks Australia". The screenshot shows part of a message to Fox detailing a change of classification. Although the message doesn't specify which game it's referring to, Deltarune is the likeliest suspect. In 2019, the game had its ESRB rating changed for similar reasons, and given that Deltarune Chapter 2 launched late last year, it's likely the Australian board is looking at Deltarune. Fox doesn't go into any more detail regarding what the new classification might be, or if there are any other instances of "coarse language" that could have influenced the board's decision.
We don't know who's sending this message to Fox. It could be the Australian classifications board itself, updating Deltarune's rating to reflect new decisions. Alternatively, it could be either Sony or Nintendo, both of whom run digital storefronts on which Deltarune appears. Deltarune's rating on the eShop is PG, with "mild coarse language" cited as the reason. This could point to the message being sent by Nintendo, since it's the same reason cited in the message sent to Fox, thus making Nintendo the most likely source for the message.
Interestingly, the PlayStation Store page for the game in Australia has no rating listed. There is text on the right of the page which says "ACB E" (or Australian Classification Board E), which could point to an "exempt from classification" rating. That would be highly unusual for a game, though, as this rating is usually given to educational materials or films that would definitely receive an X18+ classification if they weren't exempt. It's safe to assume Deltarune doesn't fit either of these categories, so the lack of a classification for Deltarune on the PlayStation Store in Australia is something of a mystery. However, given that the message says Deltarune's classification was changed and not removed, Sony sending the message doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Australia's history of classification
Deltarune isn't the only game to fall foul of what some consider to be an overly harsh Australian ratings board. Just last year, RPG Disco Elysium was refused classification in Australia due to its centralized themes of drug addiction and substance misuse (among that game's many other adult themes, of course). Late 2020 also saw horror game The Medium refused classification in Australia, with the reason shrouded in mystery. The Medium was eventually classified at R18+ for "references to sexual violence", while Disco Elysium received the same classification for "high impact themes, coarse language and drug references". Famously they forced Fallout 3 to rename Morphine as Med-X so that it wouldn't run afoul of their rules on drugs in video games, a change that was carried worldwide.
We'll have to wait and see what comes of Deltarune's reclassification by the Australian board. In the meantime, you can still download the game via PC, the Nintendo eShop, or the PlayStation Store. Given that Deltarune doesn't contain any loot boxes (the bane of the Australian government), excessive violence, or scenes of drug use, we can't imagine it getting more than an M rating in Australia. Still, we'll bring you more on this as soon as we get it.
What do you think of Deltarune being re-rated in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!