After ZA/UM‘s game was available on Steam without any trouble, it was a question of time when Disco Elysium‘s expanded version (which also launched on consoles) gets the green flag to be allowed into Australia.
When the game did not get a rating (and thus, not allowing the sale of it in the country), we wrote the following: „The Australian Government’s Classification Board inspected ZA/UM’s game… and then refused to classify it. Therefore, the game has an RC or Refused Classification status. The filing for it cites depictions of drug use, addiction, crime, cruelty, and violence as reasons why the board didn’t give it an age rating. Sure, Disco Elysium’s plot does concern drug use and addiction, plus our character is an alcoholic, which also plays a role in the story. But these elements are also in the base version of the game, and The Final Cut is a standalone re-release, which is why the legality of the original on Steam might be questioned in the country. Hotline Miami 2 is another one of those „banned” games, meaning it’s not available in Australia. Previously, The Medium was also refused entry, but there were issues with the submission process, so Bloober Team’s game became available in the country after all.”
This weird situation was present for two months. In Disco Elysium, yes, you can use speed to increase motorics and psyche, but it also comes with negative consequences. ZA/UM applied to have the refusal reviewed on April 16, and they were successful: the game now has an R18+ rating, which means it is no longer a banned title in Australia, and Disco Elysium: The Final Cut can be sold without breaking the law in the country.
The document, which explains the revised decision, seems to be written by people who understand Disco Elysium. While they do admit that the game contains drug use and explores the themes of addiction, „the themes are related to the detective investigating a murder while also attempting to manage his alcohol addiction, and getting his life back together after his substance abuse. The themes and drug references are inextricably linked. [It’s] complex and nuanced representation of the subject matter which tailors the storytelling to a mature audience.”
Not all cases of showing drug abuse are bad: if it has a positive meaning behind it (and in Disco Elysium, it does), then it shouldn’t be frowned upon.