Earlier in the week, DayZ was refused an age rating by the Australian Classification Board. Despite launching years ago and already having a 15+ rating, Australian distributor Five Star Games had to resubmit the game thanks to the impending launch of the physical edition. Unfortunately, the decision also extends to the digital version.
While Bohemia Interactive told me that the digital version was not in jeopardy and was still available through storefronts like Steam, the situation has "escalated", the developer confirms.
"We are aware of the Classification Board's intention to pull DayZ from the online sales," says Bohemia Interactive. "The game was just removed from the PlayStation and Xbox stores. The reason behind the rejection to classify the game is the specifics of drug use in the game."
Where things get weird is that DayZ doesn't have drug use aside from things like morphine, specifically used here for pain relief. Here's the extent of the game's 'drugs'. They're not recreational. Unfortunately, cannabis can be found in the game files, and while it's hasn't yet to be implemented and there's no indication it will be, it seems to have riled up the board.
Though cannabis has been decriminalised or is available for medical reasons in several parts of the world, it's still illegal in Australia. Hunting and killing people for their supplies is also illegal in Australia, though the board seems less concerned about that.
Bohemia Interactive isn't cutting its losses, however.
"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. We will do everything in our power to keep the game playable and available for Australian gamers."
Previously, developers have made minor changes to appease the puritanical board, so it may be that a quick fix is possible and it will be back on sale before too long.