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Life Is Strange 2 runs into ratings trouble down under

Spooky-ooky coming-of-age story Life Is Strange 2 has run into trouble with the Australian Classification Board and will be removed from sale down under for about a fortnight while they sort this out. If you already have it on PC (called a ‘compo’ or ‘pozza’ in Australia, probably), you’re grand. The developers don’t say exactly what the dispute is about, but I’d wager it’s down to something which has happened in later episodes of the series. Possibly a drug. Oh no.

“Life Is Strange 2 will be unavailable to purchase on ALL platforms as well as re-download on PS4 for approximately 2 weeks from Wednesday onwards, while we work with the Australian age ratings board (ACB) to review age ratings,” the game’s Twitter said yesterday.

“This situation is temporary and only affects Australian digital storefronts. We will restore service asap and will keep you updated with any developments,” they added.

They did not specify why the ratings are being re-reviewed.

The Australian Classification Board only have a listing the first episode of the five episodes (four of which are out so far). They gave it a rating of M (Mature) which indicates works “contain content of a moderate impact and are recommended for teenagers aged 15 years and over.” An M rating has no legal restriction, mind, so kiddywinkles can readily buy it.

A lot has happened since the first episode, and some of it has been quite intense. Drugs are always a bugbear with the Australian Classification Board and the third episode does see teens having a wee choof while working on an illegal marijuana farm in a forest. But plenty of the game is just, well, mature. I won’t get into spoilers (Alice Bee and Brendy have chatted about episodes 1, 2, 3, and 4 if you’re curious) but, y’know, life is heavy as well as strange.

I would not be wholly surprised to see Life Is Strange 2 reemerge down under with an MA 15+ classification, which does carry a legal restriction. That’s just a guess, mind. Perhaps they do object strenuously to the kids having a choof at the doof.

Australia only launched an adults-only rating in 2013, and haven’t been afraid to effectively ban games there by refusing classification. This often comes down to drugs, causing trouble for games from Fallout to DayZ. We Happy Few needed to appeal to get approval thanks to it containing drugs which, while admittedly fuelling a nightmarish and murderous dystopia, were useful as in-game items. Not the most nuanced view, that Board.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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