We knew that the game violated clause 1(a) which is a game that “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” but Kotaku has found out more information about what took the game over the line to be refused classification in the Classification Board report:
As noted by Kotaku, the reports talk about Twitch integration first: “[Disco Elysium] contains online interactivity in the form of integration with the streaming platform Twitch, which allows stream viewers to vote on what dialogue options the player should choose. The game also contains in-game purchases in the form of the purchase of objects,”. It’s unclear what role this played in getting the game refused classification.
It then goes on to specify a few examples of how the game violates the 1(a) clause which is directly related to drug use in this instance. You can find more examples over at Kotaku but we’ve listed a few of them below:
“Players are able to access a number of items in their inventory including a substance called “Speed ‘Saint-Batiste ‘Preptide!’” depicted as a pill bottle with white triangular pills next to it and accompanied by text which explains the substance user effects include “+1 Motorics” and “-1 Morale”, as well as an item called “Speed Bottle” depicted as a brown bottle with a straw inserted into it. Accompanying text explains that the substance user effects include “+1 Motorics” and “-1 Morale” and the item description reads, “How convenient! Someone has equipped this tiny bottle of amphetamines with a straw. It’s the lorryman’s speed on-the-go.”
In one sequence the player is able to select an option to use a stimulant by selecting “Okay, my body is ready. Let’s do this. (Try some speed.)”
The sign is followed by a sign reading “Secret Task Complete: Find Speed and Sniff It +30 Experience”. The text also appears in the panel on the right side of the screen. The “Tutorial Agent” explains through text and audio that: “In the bottom right corner of the screen there’s a SPEED button! It gives +1 to MOTORIC skills: Perception, Reaction Speed, Hand/Eye Coordination, Savoir Faire, Interfacing and Composure. This is good before a White Check – but damages your Morale.”
“Speed” is a common street name for stimulant drugs, particularly those from the amphetamine drug family (including methamphetamine). They are proscribed drugs, as specified in Schedule 4 of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations.
Going off these facts, it’s fairly clear why Disco Elysium was banned in Australia, given what we know about what’s acceptable by the current guidelines in place.
We reached out to ZA/UM’s PR representations for their comments and to see their plans to combat the game being refused classification but didn’t hear back. Those that have purchased the original game on Steam (it’s still on same at the time of writing) should be able to update to The Final Cut next week.