UPDATE: The Classification review board has confirmed that it has overturned the Classification Board’s decision to ban RimWorld, the latest game to be banned in Australia. The decision was overturned by a four-member panel. The game will now be rated R 18+ (restricted) with the consumer advice high impact themes and drug use.
A four-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the computer game, RimWorld, is classified R 18+ (Restricted) with the consumer advice Highimpact themes and drug use.
In the Classification Review Board’s opinion Rim World warrants an R 18+ classification
because the themes and drug use have a high impact. The overall impact of the classifiable
elements in the game was high. The Review Board also considered the appeal of the game to be skewed to an adult audience
The game includes fantasy drug use, but in the Review Board’s opinion, the game mechanic
ultimately provides disincentives related to drug-taking behavior, to the point where regular
drug use leads to negative consequences such as overdose, addiction, and withdrawal.
Players may choose for colonist pawns to consume drugs in certain scenarios, but this
greatly hinders player progress, as characters will succumb to addiction and must deal with
long-term negative impacts of their drug use. The drug use is depicted at a distance through a
top-down perspective, in a highly stylised, simplified form. The game also contains high
impact themes that are justified by the context of colonists surviving in an inhospitable fantasy world.
Computer games classified R 18+ are legally restricted to adults. Persons aged under 18
years cannot purchase computer games classified R 18+. Some material classified R 18+
may be offensive to sections of the adult community. Consumer advice is additional information about the main content of a computer game which is intended to help consumers decide if they want to view this type of material.
The Review Board convened on 20 April 2022 in response to an application from the original
applicant, Double Eleven, to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 28
February 2022 to classify RimWorld C (Refused Classification).
In reviewing the classification, the Review Board worked within the framework of fin National Classification Scheme, applying the provisions of the Classification (Publications, Films and
Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games 2012. This is the same framework used by the Classification Board.
The Review Board is an independent merits review body. It makes a fresh classification
decision upon receipt of an application for review. This Review Board decision takes the place
of the original decision made by the Classification Board. The Review Board’s reasons for this decision will appear on the Classification website when it is available.
Despite the fact that it has been available on Steam since 2013, colony building space simulator RimWorld has just been removed from sale in Australia after the console version was refused classification.
As noted by Kotaku, the game recently went up against the Australian Classification Board due to a potential physical console release in the near future. As a result, the Board has decided to make it illegal to sell the game in Australia based on the manner it deals 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”.
Developer Ludeon Studios did not expect the Board’s decision to impact the sale of the game via Steam ” because in previous similar cases, as with Disco Elysium for example, an RC rating on a console version did not affect the availability of the PC version on Steam,” they explained in a recent news post. Unfortunately, however, RimWorld has completely vanished from the Steam digital storefront in Australia though previously purchased copies still remain in their respective owner’s libraries.
The entry for #Rimworld looks to be missing from the Australian National Classification Database. The applicant, @DoubleElevenLtd, had their submission Refused Classification on Feb. 28. It appears to have been removed on March 3. If anyone can still find it, then let us know. pic.twitter.com/uUj6SD6Alq
“I’m sorry this news was so sudden and for anyone who is frustrated by this“, Ludeon Studios writes. “We are working to resolve this situation and make RimWorld available to everyone again as soon as possible, but we don’t yet know what that might require or how long it may take.”
RimWorld is still available for sale directly through the official website right here but at least for the time being, it seems like any hope of a physical and/or console launch of the game for Australian players has officially been dashed.