Australian Board Issues Banhammer On We Happy Few Again Due To The Depiction Of Drug Use

Australian Board Issues Banhammer On We Happy Few Again Due To The Depiction Of Drug Use
Credit: Gearbox Official via YouTube

Gearbox’s edgy game, We Happy Few, just couldn’t get a break.

Last year, the Australian censors refused to rate the game, which essentially tied the hands of its publisher. The lack of rating means that the publisher could not display the game in stores or run any ads to promote it.

The Australian board pointed to one scene where the character needs to survive without using hallucinogens. The drug is fictional, with a seemingly innocuous name of Joy, but it’s the intent that counts.

The drug is taken by non-playable characters, not just for its hallucinogenic properties but also help them forget trauma.

In May 2019, the ban was lifted after the censors acted favorably to Gearbox’s petition. A press release from the board dated July 2018 explained its decision.

Apparently, a 3-member panel reviewed the petition submitted by Gearbox. Upon further study by the Classification Review Board, the panel decided to give it R 18+ rating. Although it’s restricted for adults use, the rating allows the publisher to market the game in Australia.

Accordingly, the use of drugs in the game is classified as “high in impact.”

However, We Happy Few was again refused a rating by the automated International Age Rating Coalition Australia.

We Happy Few debuted in August 2018 on the PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox One. The game takes place in an alternate timeline where the UK was left alone to fight the Axis of Evil. The United States apparently decided against joining the Allies.

Germany now occupies Britain except the island of Wellington Wells, which remained untouchable because of a “Very Bad Thing.” This “thing” that is very “bad” is not explained at first. But it’s tormented the residents of this small island town. They had to take the drug Joy in order to forget their trauma.

The Joy leaves the user in a perpetual euphoric state, and they now have a more optimistic outlook on life. But like any drug, there are side effects like dependence, weight loss, memory loss, and hallucinations.

As a player, you can choose from the three major characters. Arthur Hastings is a master at creating weapons; Sally Boyle is a chemical expert, and Ollie Starkey is an explosives expert.

We Happy Few is a first-person survival and strategy game, where you survive using stealth. Here’s a short gameplay clip to give you an idea of what to expect for the game.