Australia Strikes Again: Syndicate Refused Classification


In case you didn’t know and were planning on moving there, Australia is not a good place to be a gamer. Not only do they have to deal with irate kangaroos kicking them in the head (or at least, in my imagination they do) but their ratings board doesn’t have an 18+ rating for games, despite having one for films. The result is that overly violent games simply can’t receive a classification and therefore cannot be legally sold in shops, essentially banning the game. Many games, including Mortal Kombat, have been brought down by this rather odd system.

Still, things are afoot to hopefully get this laughable ratings system changed with plans to implement an 18+ rating, but sadly that isn’t going to help EA as there’s no sign of it actually being passed yet and their reboot of Syndicate  just went before the eyes of the classification board. Syndicate was deemed too violent to receive a 15+ rating, which is the highest age rating they currently have available for games, and was refused classification, meaning Syndicate has been effectively banned in Australia.

In a report the board has this to say about the game:
“The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged 18 years to play. Combatants take locational damage and can be explicitly dismembered, decapitated, or bisected by the force of the gunfire. The depictions are accompanied by copious bloodspray and injuries are shown realistically and with detail. Flesh and bone are often exposed while arterial sprays of blood continue to spirt [sic] from wounds at regular intervals.”

The board in particular seemed to have problems with one section where gamers get their hands on a “g290 minigun” and embark on an “intense sequence of violence”  where it was possible to decapitate, dismember and otherwise mutilate the enemy. They went on to say:
“similiar injuries can  be caused by many other weapons, including shotguns, high-calibre revolvers, sniper rifles, assault rifles, rocket launchers, laser guns and grenades”

The board also went on to state that it was possible to continue mutilating enemies after their death:
The game also allows a player to repeatedly damage enemy combatant’s corpses. This is shown in realistic depictions. For example, it is possible for a player to decapitate a corpse with a headshot before individually blowing off each of its limbs. Depending on the weapon used, it is also possible to bisect a corpse, with realistic ragdoll effects noted. The depictions are again accompanied by arterial sprays of blood and detailed injuries that include protruding bone.”

This combination of facts leads up to the boards final decision:
“unsuitable for a minor to see or play and should be Refused Classification pursuant to item 1(d) of the computer games table of the Code.”

Clearly based upon the board’s words they are completely correct in asserting that the game is unsuitable for minors, but once again this is a case of a game being designed for an adult audience and not for minors, which is where Australia’s current rating system fails entirely.

So give a moments thought to your gaming brothers in sisters in Australia when Syndicate releases in February.

You can read the full report HERE.

Categories: News

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3 replies »

  1. I really feel sorry for Australia. When it comes to gaming, they’ve had failure after failure. New games priced at nearly $100? Release dates often taking longer than in other countries? Several games banned from the country?

    Anybody remember L.A. Noire? Developed by Team Bondi? That game was, if you ask me, important to Australia’s video gaming industry. I couldn’t really get into it, but Team Bondi was going to be a developer who could very well help revolutionize the way Australia saw gaming. Or at least they would have, if Brendan McNamara wasn’t one of the biggest jackasses in the industry.

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