Bohemia Interactive’s multiplayer zombie survival game, DayZ, a title that’s been legally available in Australia for nearly five years, has been refused an age rating by the Australian Classification Board, effectively banning it from sale…but it’s a restriction that, somewhat ridiculously, only applies to the upcoming physical release.
While Bohemia Interactive is publisher of DayZ’s digital version, which has been available on Steam since 2013, the upcoming physical version is being handled by distributor Five Star Games. And it’s this latter version that has (as spotted by Ref Classification on Twitter) fallen foul of the Australian Classification Board’s notoriously draconian rules.
According to DayZ’s listing, actually dated June 4th but only surfacing now, the game has been refused classification as it was deemed to “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.”
Although the listing doesn’t state which of those specific restrictions DayZ has fallen foul of, it’s possible that the game’s use of morphine as a means of healing bones and reducing the effects off pain in-game may be the culprit, with the board having previously dropped the ban hammer on a variety of games with mechanics that were considered to link drug use with reward.
State of Decay, for example, was refused classification in 2013 for its use of real-world drugs as health restoratives; more pertinently, the board left Fallout 3 to the same fate when its Med-X item was still known by its original name, morphine.
As for why DayZ’s content has now become an issue more than five years after it was made first made available on Steam, that appears to come down to the fact that previously unclassified digital games are classified using the International Age Rating Coalition’s system in Australia, which automatically assigns a certificate based on developer questions. Physical releases, meanwhile, are assessed by the far more finicky Australian Classification Board.
The good news is that Bohemia Interactive has (reports PC Gamer) confirmed that the board’s decision will only affect DayZ’s physical release, and not the digital version available on the likes of Steam. So DayZ then, now simultaneously both alive and dead in Australia. How fitting.