By Leo Stevenson
GAME NAME: State of Decay
DEVELOPER(S): Undead Labs
PLATFORM(S): PC, Xbox 360
RELEASE DATE(S): 2013
[Update follows original story]
Jeff Strain --executive producer for developer Undead Labs -- took the the company's forums earlier today to announce that upcoming zombie survival game State of Decay had been Refused Classification by the Australian Classification Board.
Going by the username "Undead Jeff", Strain set about explaining why the game had been RC'd and where the developer goes from here;
We've run afoul of certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use. We're working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it's going to take a bit.
Strain conceded that "each country has the right set its own rules about content, and it's our responsibility to comply with them" and assured fans disappointed with the news that "we'll do everything we can to find a way to get the game into your hands. Stay tuned."
That's two games Refused Classification in two days, after Saints Row IV's banning yesterday.
Have we returned to the age before the R18+ rating or do you think the ACB is simply doing their job and applying the guidelines as they're written?
Microsoft have now confirmed -- in a statement to Kotaku AU -- that State of Decay has in fact been Refused Classification.
There was some confusion surrounding the game's rating as the ACB would neither confirm or deny the rating but Microsoft said in their statement;
Today, State of Decay was given a Refused Classification (RC) rating by the Australian Classification Board, meaning that the game cannot be made available to Australian customers at this time. Microsoft is currently evaluating the options with regards to the title’s classification.
Kotaku AU have managed to get a copy of the ACB's report for the RC of State of Decay which contains the following description;
The game contains the option of self-administering a variety of “medications” throughout gameplay which act to restore a player’s health or boost their stamina. These “medications” include both legal and illicit substances such as methadone, morphine, amphetamines, stimulants, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, codeine, aspirin, “trucker pills”, painkillers and tussin. Of these, methadone, morphine, and amphetamines are proscribed drugs and the term “stimulant” is commonly used to refer to a class of drugs of which several are proscribed. Players obtain drugs by scavenging for them in the environment or by manufacturing them in a “Medical Lab”. When players find drugs in the environment the name of the drug appears onscreen and the drug is also represented by a visual icon such as a pill bottle or syringe. Within the “Medical Lab” players are prompted to make substances such as “Potent Stims”, “Mild Stims” and “Painkillers”. The laboratory includes a “research library” and “chemical dictionary”. When administering drugs, the player is briefly depicted moving a pill bottle toward their mouth. The sound of pills rattling in the bottle accompanies the depiction. The name of the drug appears onscreen along with its representative icon. Consumption of the drug instantly increases a player’s in-game abilities allowing them to progress through gameplay more easily. The Applicant has stated that a “player can choose not to make any drugs or scavenge for them, but it would be very difficult to complete the game without some form of medication”. In the Board’s opinion, the game enables the player’s character to self-administer proscribed drugs which aid in gameplay progression. This game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be Refused Classification.
It appears as though Undead Labs and Microsoft are considering resubmitting the game with changes, but at this stage they haven't made any formal announcements.
Source: Kotaku AU