Games Censorship: State of Decay (2013)


 

 

 

 

State of Decay

Developed by Undead Labs / 2013 / MobyGames

In June 2013, STATE OF DECAY became the second game to be banned in Australia since the introduction of the R18+ rating.

Update on Australian release
forums.undeadlabs.com, June 26, 2013
Undead Jeff

Hola Australian State of Decay fans, I have bad news to share: State of Decay has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board (ACB). 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.

I know this is frustrating — believe me, we're frustrated too — but each country has the right to 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. Jeff

Jeff Strain
Executive Producer

 

 

The ever-reliable Mark Serrels at kotaku.com.au obtained the Classification Board's report.

Update: State Of Decay Banned For Explicit Use Of Illicit Drugs
kotaku.com.au, June 26, 2013

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.

 

 

Complaints and the Classification Board

Classification Board Annual Report 2012-2013
RC  - Refused Classification
Games

State of Decay is a third-person survival shooter computer game set in a small American town during the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Players navigate open-world environments, battling zombie attacks, as they scavenge for supplies and collaborate with other survivors to ensure survival of the human race.

The game contains the option of self-administering a variety of ‘medications’ throughout the 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, ‘trucker pills’ and painkillers. 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.

In the Classification Board’s opinion, the game contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and therefore State of Decay was also classified RC.

 

Classification Board Annual Report 2012-2013
Complaints
Computer games

The Classification Board received 795 complaints about computer games. The Classification Board made 695 classification decisions for computer games in 2012–13. Seven hundred and seventy-seven of the complaints were about the RC classifications of the two computer games Saints Row IV and State of Decay.

The Classification Board also received 270 complaints about the computer game State of Decay. The Classification Board classified the computer game RC as it contains illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Again, a majority of the complainants did not want the computer game to be refused classification.

 

 

Censored version rated R18+

facebook.com/UndeadLabs
July 2, 2013
Australians, I can OFFICIALLY tell you that the special edition of the game is now in the hands of your review board. Stimulants out! "Supplements" in! Who could possibly not like vitamins? They're good for you. Anyway, we're feeling pretty optimistic about our chances.

 

On July 11 2013, this modified version of STATE OF DECAY was passed with an R18+ (High impact violence) rating.

The extended classification information describes,
High impact: violence
Moderate impact: themes, language
Mild impact: drug use, sex
Very mild: nudity

 

 

The Classification Board explain the R18+ rating

Classification Board Annual Report 2013-2014
R18+ Games

Out of the total of 458 computer games classified in 2013–14, 23 computer games were classified R 18+.

State of Decay is a modified third-person survival/horror shooter game set in a small American town during the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Players navigate open-world environments, battling zombie attacks, as they scavenge for supplies and collaborate with other survivors to ensure the survival of the human race. The game contains violence that exceeds strong in impact. Throughout this third-person horror shooter, players battle hordes of zombies using melee weapons, guns and explosives. The violence is sometimes frenetic and is the primary aspect of gameplay. Zombies (which mostly appear human-like) can be injured with ranged or melee weapons, causing large, stylised wounds to appear on their bodies. It is possible to dismember, decapitate and stomp on the heads of zombies; these depictions are accompanied by significant wound detail as well as sprays of flesh and blood.

In the opinion of the Board, the game’s blood and wound detail coupled with the frequency of the violence exceed strong in playing impact. Therefore, the Board classified the game R 18+ with consumer advice of ‘High impact violence’.

The Board notes that an earlier version of this game was submitted for classification during the previous reporting period and the Board classified that game RC, due to inclusion of drug use related to incentives and rewards. This content was modified in this classified version.

 

 

More Complaints to the Classification Board

Classification Board Annual Report 2013-2014
Complaints
Computer Games
The Board received 355 complaints about computer games.
Two hundred and sixty two of the complaints were about the Refused Classification (RC) decisions for the computer games Saints Row IV and State of Decay which were classified in the previous reporting period.

 

State of Decay (2013) - Microsoft [us] Xbox 360


 

 

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