The Australian Classification Board has refused to classify the physical release of zombie survival game DayZ due to its use of cannabis. The title has been on digital storefronts in Australia for years now but has since been pulled.
As a long-standing multiplayer title, DayZ is ever-changing with new content to enjoy and new items to find. However, weed hasn't been implemented in the game yet, which makes the Australian Classification Board's decision confusing.
Cannabis has been in DayZ's game files in a while, but the drug itself has not been added to the game yet. Despite not knowing what weed will do in the survival game, the Classification Board still refused classification due to the "illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards", as per Kotaku AU. This is in spite of the fact that DayZ has received MA15+ ratings before. This classification refusal has come as a result of developer Bohemia Interactive filing for classification for a physical release of DayZ in stores.
Since then, Bohemia Interactive has applied for another rating through Australia's IARC process, which an automated process for classification in Australia. DayZ received another MA15+ rating through the system, but the Classification Board can override IARC ratings, meaning Bohemia isn't out of the woods yet. In response of this news breaking, Bohemia has released a statement on Twitter insuring Australian players that it's working on the classification issues:
🇦🇺 The Australian player base is a big and very important part of our community. At the moment we are looking for the best solution to keep the game on the Australian market and pass the classification according to all regulations.— DayZ 🖥 🎮 ❤️ (@DayZ) August 9, 2019
This is far from the first time that the Australian Classification Board has caused video games to be banned for nebulous reasons. Most famously, Fallout 3 was refused classification in Australia for the same reasons as DayZ's more recent ban. This situation is one step farther than Fallout 3, however, as cannabis isn't even in the game. While the Classification Board statement suggests that "one of the options to restore the player's health is a marijuana joint," there's no in-game evidence that suggests that is the case.
While Australian players can still play DayZ if they own it, the title has been pulled from all of AU's digital storefronts, which is a shame as it's one of the more compelling permadeath games on the market. If Bohemia Interactive can't resolve the classification issues soon, it's likely players with Australian IPs will be banned from playing the game entirely, requiring them to either give up playing the game or attempting to get online with a VPN service. The situation is a messy one, especially since weed isn't actually in the game beyond some unused files, so hopefully, Bohemia will be able to get the game classified and the ban lifted soon.
DayZ is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, provided you're not currently in Australia.
Source: Kotaku AU