State of Decay refused classification in Australia

Undead Labs open-world zombie survival title, State of Decay, was refused classification by the Australian Classification Board today because of "illicit or proscribed drug use."

According to the Board's State of Decay Decision Report obtained by Polygon, the Australian Classification Board denied the game classification under the "Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games," saying that the title features use of "illicit or proscribed drug use" as incentives in the game, which is prohibited by the Board's guidelines.

The game contains the option of self-administering a variety of "medication 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.

The news first broke when Undead Labs founder Jeff Strain wrote on the studio's official forums revealing the Board's decision and that the game had 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," Strain wrote. "Whatever our path forward, it's going to take a bit. I know this is frustrating — believe me, we're frustrated too — but each country has the right set its own rules about content, and it's our responsibility to comply with them. Rest assured we'll do everything we can to find a way to get the game into your hands. Stay tuned."

State of Decay launched worldwide on June 5 on Xbox Live Arcade; however, it didn't launch in Australia as intended because of a delay with the country's Board. A Microsoft spokesperson told Polygon today that it is evaluating options regarding the game's recent classification refusal.

"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," the spokesperson wrote. "Microsoft operates within the legal requirements of the Australian Classification Board when it comes to the rating of all its first party gaming titles and agrees that not all content is suitable for all audiences. The Australian Classification system plays an important role in ensuring that Australians can only access age appropriate games and content."

State of Decay's classification decision comes hot behind last night's news that Saints Row 4 was refused classification in the country because of in-game use of alien narcotics and an Alien Anal Probe weapon.

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