UPDATE: Statement from DotEmu
Unfortunately, there is not a Xbox One (AUS/NZ) version for now, but we are working hard on it. We still don’t know when this is going to be done because of the rating approval for this game indeed. But don’t worry, we will keep you in touch when the version comes!
The highly anticipated remake of a cult classic has finally launched, but Xbox gamers in Australia will have to wait a little longer to play Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap.
The stunning remake of the 1989 Sega Master System game Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap has received a warm reception upon release on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC.
However, while the game is now available on all platforms in most other regions — including Xbox One — “rating issues” have held back the game’s launch on the Australian Xbox store.
I reached out to the developers of the game, Lizardcube, who informed me of the delay and that the game’s publisher DotEmu was working to fix the issue. I also reached out to DotEmu, but haven’t heard anything back yet.
“[The] delay is just for Australia and New Zealand,” a developer spokesperson said. “Due to government classification.”
A search on the Australian Classification Board website doesn’t bring back a result for the 2017 remake. The original game was classified in 2008 with a G rating. Lizardcube’s 2017 version has an M rating on the Nintendo Switch eShop. On the PlayStation Store, it has an “ALL” rating.
The reason for the inconsistency is due to the IARC (International Age Rating Coalition). This system allows a developer to apply for classification only once, and for the application to apply to all regions. Based on responses to certain questions, the system’s algorithm determines a rating for each specific region.
The Nintendo Switch supports IARC, hence why it has been given an “M” rating. PlayStation doesn’t, but the platform is known to be lenient in this regard, hence the “ALL” rating.
Xbox, however, flat out rejects IARC, and as such, Australian releases need a localised rating. The frustrating aspect of this for developers is that, despite having a widely accepted method to have a game classified, it still needs to go through the processes and have the game actually classified in Australia in order for it to appear on the Xbox Australia store.
“There’s a simplified IARC worldwide procedure that makes it much easier all over the world, including in Australia and New Zealand, but Xbox doesn’t support IARC yet.”
So it appears that the game has technically been classified under the IARC, but it still requires an actual classification in Australia in order to get an Aussie Xbox release.