Another game has been hit with a refusal of classification here in Australia, resulting in the game being removed from the Xbox storefront and essentially banned for legal distribution. What seems strange this time, however, is that the game isn’t a violent or otherwise very mature release, it’s a relatively niche postal delivery game set in a small town.
Lake is the name of the game and we first became aware of the release when it debuted during E3 this year at an event called the “Wholesome Direct’. In the game, you play as Meredith Weiss as she returns to her hometown to escape the demands of the big city. The game is rather peaceful with the player paving their own narrative and making decisions about who Meredith befriends, what she does, and perhaps even helping her start a romantic relationship. So why the refusal of classification?
As it turns out, Lake features mild references to drug use, something that has triggered an automatic refusal of classification here in Australia. The result of this means that the game has been pulled from the Xbox storefront, although it is still currently available on PC via Steam for anyone who wishes to check it out.
It is possible for the game to be reclassified, although we don’t yet have word on whether or not that process has begun. The game’s developers. WhiteThorn Games, took to Twitter to share the bad news and provide some light details on the reason for the game’s refusal.
Unfortunately, due to the game's age rating, it will not be available on Xbox in Australia.
It should still be available on PC, however.
— WhiteThorn Games | Lake is OUT NOW!!! (@WhiteThornGames) September 1, 2021
The developers of Lake continued within the Twitter thread embedded above to say that “We understand your frustration. Of course we also have to respect age ratings, as they exist for a reason. But in this case, the very short and mild references to soft drugs in one or two scenes are the reason for the entire game to be blocked.”
It’s a shame to see another game get caught up in Australia’s rather strict classification system for video games, but I’m hopeful we can get an amendment made on this one. Regardless, those interested in Lake can check the game out on PC.