The Australian Classification Board has moved to reclassify RimWorld at R18+. Previously, it was refused classification on both console and PC, but now, a four-person panel has unanimously decided to classify the game, returning it to sale in the process.
Why has RimWorld been reclassified now?
RimWorld was originally banned in Australia (on console, also inadvertently leaking the existence of a console version) in early March this year. A Steam ban followed a few days later, but now, it looks like the Australian Classification Board has softened its decision somewhat. In a post on the official classification website today, the Australian board explains that RimWorld has been classified at R18+ owing to "high impact themes and drug use". The board determined that RimWorld's appeal is "skewed to an adult audience" and that its themes are high-impact enough to warrant a high age classification.
According to the Australian Classification Board, while RimWorld does include fantasy drug use, it disincentivizes players from using drugs through negative consequences "such as overdose, addiction, and withdrawal". While players can choose to have colonists take drugs, this will have negative consequences, and the drug use is also not depicted in detail due to RimWorld's top-down, zoomed-out perspective. The board also says RimWorld contains "high impact themes", although it doesn't go into any detail as to what these themes might actually be. It does, however, say that the themes are "justified" by RimWorld's context of an inhospitable world.
Australia and ratings: a hard line
The Australian Classification Board is notorious for handing out higher classifications than many other countries, and for being stringent when considering content. Toby Fox's Deltarune was reclassified in Australia earlier this year owing to the use of the word "piss", and that's a relatively mild example; Disco Elysium was refused classification in the country (although this ban was later overturned), and Bloober Team's survival horror game The Medium was banned there too (another decision that was eventually reversed). It's fair to say that Australia has a history of being somewhat overzealous when it comes to classification, but it's good to see that RimWorld's place in the market has been restored.
There still hasn't been an official announcement as to when a RimWorld console version could be coming. Given that the Australian Classification Board leaked its existence, we hopefully shouldn't have to wait too much longer for an official reveal. In the meantime, you can grab RimWorld right now on Steam. It'll set you back $34.99. If you need more incentive to pick it up, then you might be excited to learn that there's a Mass Effect mod that imports settings and characters from BioWare's iconic RPG series. The vanilla game is great too, though.