RimWorld, the epic space colony simulator, has officially been unbanned in Australia following a major appeal to the Classification Review Board. A four member panel reassessed the game following the sudden decision to remove it from storefronts in early March. They found that while the game did include incentivised drug use – a feature which is typically a ‘hard ban’ for video game releases in Australia – the game also included appropriate disincentives, such as ‘negative consequences for overdose, addiction, and withdrawal’.
‘The game includes fantasy drug use, but in the Review Board’s opinion, the game mechanic ultimately provides disincentives related to drug-taking behaviour, to the point where regular drug use leads to negative consequences,’ the ruling reads.
‘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.’
According to the Classification Review Board, the game’s cartoonish art style, combined with the gameplay disincentives, were enough to effectively unban the game – although it has been slapped with an R 18+ rating, which will restrict its sale to those underage.
The ruling means the game has officially now returned to Steam, with users in Australia finally able to access the game’s homepage and purchase the title for play. Given the recent controversy around the game, it’s likely there’ll be plenty of intrigued parties willing to give it a go now.
An exact reason for the original ban has not been cited, although it was likely linked to plans for a physical release in Australia. Should this new release go ahead, expect it to carry the R 18+ rating going forward.