We Happy Few is a self-described “game of paranoia and survival, in a drugged-out, dystopian English city in 1964.” Back in May, the Australian Classification Board took a look at the title and refused classification, meaning We Happy Few was effectively banned from sale in the country.
Developer Compulsion Games and publisher Gearbox sought to appeal the board’s decision, and as confirmed today, We Happy Few has now been re-reviewed and classified at the R18+ level due to “fantasy violence and interactive drug use.” It’ll be available for purchase in Australia after all.
Context matters. Here’s how Compulsion publicly defended the game after the original ruling:
“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.”
It’s reassuring to see this sorted out. If We Happy Few hadn’t been classified, Compulsion would’ve offered refunds. With Kickstarter involved in the game’s funding, that would’ve been a whole mess.
We Happy Few coming to Australia [Compulsion Games]