RimWorld, developer Ludeon Studios' widely acclaimed sci-fi colony sim, has been refused classification in Australia, preventing its release and effectively banning it from sale.
It's a decision that, on the one hand, isn't particularly surprising given the Australian Classification Board notorious sensitivity around certain issues in games - RimWorld is, after all, a simulation whose incredibly deep systems make drug-fuelled cannibalism an entirely legitimate pastime for colonists - but it's also a little peculiar, insofar as RimWorld has been available to purchase on PC in Australia for nearly five years.
The cause of all this sudden brouhaha (thanks Kotaku) is a new "multi platform" release of RimWorld, as submitted by Double Eleven Limited - a publisher that has previously helped port the likes of Minecraft Dungeons and Rust to consoles, suggesting unannounced consoles versions of RimWorld may be on the way.
Unfortunately for Double Eleven, Australia's classification board has taken issue with this new release of RimWorld, slapping it with a dreaded Refused Classification rating and effectively banning its sale, albeit without a clear explanation why.
Instead, the board shared its usual boilerplate copy when justifying the rating, saying "The computer game is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code as computer games 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, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.'"
RimWorld is far from the first title to draw the Australia Classification Board's ire, of course. In recent years, it's given DayZ an RC rating - a move that eventually saw developer Bohemia Interactive opting to remove drug references from the game worldwide - and it's similarly banned We Happy Few and Disco Elysium after taking umbrage with their depictions of drug use. In the latter two cases, however, the RC ratings were overturned following a successful appeal, so it remains to be seen if Double Eleven will challenge the board on RimWorld too.
As for what all this means for the existing PC version of RimWorld in Australia, the likelihood is 'not much at all'. Following Disco Elysium's initial classification refusal, the game remained on sale via digital storefronts, suggesting the same will be true in this instance.