EA Responds To Syndicate Being Refused Classification [Update]

Yesterday Syndicate was refused classification as a result of "repeated and realistic post mortem damage which exceeds strong in playing impact". Now EA has issued a statement in response.

It’s regrettable that government policy in Australia is denying adults the right to play Syndicate. The game will be not be available in Australia despite its enthusiastic response from fans. We were encouraged by the government’s recent agreement to adopt an 18+ age rating for games. We urge policy makers to take swift action to implement an updated policy that reflects today’s market and gives its millions of adult consumers the right to make their own content choices.

It's an interesting statement. At no point does EA dispute the classification board's decision — from the sounds of it the violence contained in the game does push it outside the boundaries of the MA15+ rating — the issue appears to be with Australia's lack of an R18+ rating.

At no point does EA confirm whether or not it will be resubmitting an edited version Syndicate for re-classification. Our feeling, from speaking to a few people, is that EA probably won't attempt to re-submit the game, especially not in time for the global release of the game. EA may wait until an R18+ rating is passed at a state and federal level before resubmitting the game, but how long we'll be waiting for an adult rating is anyone's guess.

David Emery, the Manager of Applications at the Classification Branch claimed that we may be waiting at least two years before we see R18+ games on shelves. By that time Syndicate will be long forgotten.

UPDATE: EA has confirmed that it will not be resubmitting Syndicate for classification.

• We are not releasing Syndicate in Australia. The reason for this is because we do not have an R18+ in place as yet. • We will not be appealing the RC decision. Syndicate is a game made for a mature audience and any changes would significantly affect the game's quality and appeal. • Syndicate will continue to be released in New Zealand (unchanged) on the 24th February 2012, and has a confirmed rating of R18+


    Respect to EA's statement.

      Too right. Resubmitting would be a mistake.

      Also, I agree with OFLC that it should be RC because it sounds exactly like an R18 game.

      We need that rating!

      Agreed. I don't think it's worth their time to try and push for release if it's too far beyond the boundaries of MA15+ to make the cut, and I like how they're taking a stab at the government for dragging their asses on R18+

      This is the first smart thing EA has done with a game release this year, and makes me more likely to import the game. The UK gets my money now.

    "By that time Syndicate will be long forgotten."
    I give it 6 months before it's long forgotten.

      Not necessarily, it's from the same studio made The Darkness and that game rocked! certainly not forgotten in my mind. So I'm still hoping that this game is awesome.

        Still, the game won't be reclassified unless EA decides to pay for it to go through the process again, by which time it won't be worth their while.

          Not necessarily. All EA have to do is release a version with all DLC etc when the R rating comes out and it'll sell ok.

    While I honestly care little for this game, I can say with absolute certainty that the hope of something like MGS Rising making in through our censors is in the MINUS category.

    Imagine what they'd be saying in official statements if they could get away with it.
    "What? Australia is still busy being stupid? Well, we don't really like dealing with stupid people anyways".

    Looks like I'll have to import again.

    While based on the OFLC's notes I don't believe the game should be rated MA 15+, there's plenty of inconsistency in their decision making.

    There's reference made to post-mortem damage, and that's possible in plenty of games, particularly Dead Island:


    I referenced a lot of Kotaku AU articles when I put this together earlier this year. If Dead Island gets through, everything should get through.

      Technically isnt this true of any zombie game, if they are the walking dead kinda zombie anyways. :P

        Well what about the infected in Dead Island? Left 4 Dead 2 was banned because they weren't zombies, they were infected people you were dismembering. And i dont see how The Darkness 2 got an MA+ Rating in Australia because by the looks of the gameplay i have seen, there is plenty of dismemberment of humans including post-mortem.

          One of the problems also is that it is not the same group of people that reveiw each game for classification. Which is why Dead Island got through unchanged while Left 4Dead2, necrovision, Syndicate etc didnt...and also because we dont have a r18+ rating.
          Anyway, the game is being released in NZ, so just import (ozgameshop is sure to have it, so will ebay)

    Most people will have imported by then. The only chance will be if the game goes platinum and there's a special "Best Sellers" release, but considering it's pretty much a solid but standard shooter, there's not much chance of that.

    That's what happens when we don't keep up with the rest of the world. Our legislators are quite happy to give themselves a pay rise but you can be assured it wasn't decided on any performance increase. Don't hold your breathe that we will even have R18+ in 2 years either.

    Left 4 Dead 2 got banned, and it didn't even feature post-mortem damage. The OFLC is wildly inconsistent in their decision making.

      It wasnt banned. It was however heavily censored so its practically unplayable though.

        It's not unplayable, don't be ridiculous.

          It might as well be, censored the game is rubbish. uncut it is awesome

            If you buy L4D2 from OzGameShop do they actually sell you the uncensored version?

        It was refused classification, and a censored version of the game was approved for sale.

        While you can buy Left 4 Dead 2 in Australia, it's not the game that earned a Metarating of 89. It's a glitchy, stuttering mess.

          That's rubbish. There's something wrong with your computer dude.

            I had the 360 version for a bit, and I stand by my claims! :D

            Frame rate stuttered regularly, and disappearing zombies are never visually appealing.

              I got it for Xbox on the day it was released and took it back the same day. Rubbish.

              You're a idiot.

              Fair enough. The disappearing bodies is a bit whack!

                You guys are aware that there is a nifty little memory patcher u can run before launching it through steam that removes all censorship from the game right?
                and its safe to use if your worried about a VAC ban... i myself have an uncensored version but my brother has been using it for about 2 years.

    " Syndicate will continue to be released in New Zealand (unchanged) on the 24th February 2012, and has a confirmed rating of R18+"

    HINT HINT NUDGE NUDGE from EA right there. :P

      Yeah, should've gone all out with a ;) emoticon. :D

      It sucks, sure, but it's better than bring forced to play a PG-13 censored version.

    The most offensive part of the game is its name.

    "goverment, wins" fatality.

      More like ACL wins. Their b*tches in the government just do as they're told.

    Good on EA, not bowing down to the censors and altering the game for resubmission, they know that if people really want the game that they will import.

      I do wonder how they will handle classification when digital distribution is the norm, and it is so easy to create and over seas account. There is no way they can police this, so surely they will need to bring themselves into line with the rest of the world, or risk losing all control.
      Kids are not dumb with technology. Sadly a lot of parents are, so they wouldn't know if their kids were sitting up Australian or us accounts on their various pieces of technology.

        Oh, the Government has already thought of how to combat digital distribution. Take a look at the Convergence Review:

        Crikey breaks it down here: http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/12/15/convergence-review-time-to-regulate-the-internet/

        This will absolutely DESTROY the internet in Australia. Your 1GB/s NBN will be useless with these types of restrictions in place, and this is all thanks to Big Media wanting to regulate and classify content.

    Ashamed to live in Australia since '95

      "released in New Zealand (unchanged) on the 24th February"
      Finally games companies start releasing globally, and we do this.
      Add another embarrassed Australian to your list.

    Online shipping for this game I shall. I say disregard the naysayers! It looks fresh and it looks like Deus Ex on Speed! I shall order this from overseas. Deal with that Australian Government! Call the cops! I dont give a fuck!

    I did that for L4D2 and I shall do it again!

    Well at least EA is being responsible enough not to shove it through to an MA15 which would be irresponsible.

    wake up Australia ffs. over governed and over censored. like everyone else who cares I will still import this game, sending my $$$ to another country instead of our economy. I still shake my head when titles like dead island pass without a peep, yet a game like this is too violent.... facepalm

    Yeah, if it reviews well I guess Oz Game Shop can have my money instead of JB. So sad ;)

    The more they ban adult games based on our outdated system, the more I wil import the game of my own free will. No Government department will tell me as a 30+ adult whay I can and cannot play.

    what enthusiastic response from fans?

    Annoying. Although its still cheaper to import anyway. Will be getting this through Zavvi *again* and I'll put it next to Mortal Kombat and the R18 version of silent hill.

    woohoo! I frickin' LOVE censorship!

    Destroy the OFLC.

      Well you're in luck, the OFLC was dissolved in 2006

    despite its enthusiastic response from fans

    Which fans? Because the general response from fans of Syndicate to this game has been apathy at best, hostility at worst. Personally I was really excited at the concept of a new Syndicate game until I actually saw what they were making with it. I guess it's easier to launch something with a name some people might recognize than to put out a brand new IP this late in a console cycle.

      I have actually heard a few people showing enthusiasm for this game. Most are just casual curiosity, but i know a few who were keen. Remember, just because you may not like a game or the idea of it, it does not mean there are not thousands who do.


        +1, dead keen for this. (and no, not just cause it's banned now, these guys made the Darkness and that rocked!)

          Many of those guys that made The Darkness no longer work at Starbreeze. A number of staff left in 2009.

            Correct. Fps fans maybe, not the syndicate fans.

    They should just sell it any way. What are they going to do? I mean really, what will happen?

      There are actually large fines and various penalties for businesses distributing media that is RC. Could be as bad as losing your retailing license.

        I'm pretty sure you don't need a license to sell stuff........

          Take it from a small business owner, you need licences to do anything these days.

        True this - it's not like the US where the MPAA guidelines are jsut suggestions and you can simply sell an "unrated' edition if the board refuses to classify it (it's funny though, how the uncensored versions of movies do get sold here under R18+ but are marketed as "unrated" because it's the uncensored version that was never classified in the US).

    Yes, good on EA for taking a stand against censorship. Now they can get supporting the SOPA bill in the USA.

    Good. People will make more noise when games don't make it here at all, rather than being squeezed into an M Rating.

      I disagree with this. I know a lot of people who still carry on about L4D2 and the censorship. I mean, most people who give a crap just imported the un compromised version. But those who are less savvy with importing settled for the version that was released here, and were not happy. Not so much that it was censored more that the game lost a lot in the changes. Things felt dis jointed, and at times glitchy.

        I settled for the version I found in the bargain bin, but I agree with you, BA.

        I was interested in that game, but never got around to importing. I wasn't willing to buy the localized (compromized) version...

        That's the thing, while some may complain about the censored version, others will be happy or ignorant enough to play it. It also helps those who are against the R Rating by thinking that the problem is 'solved' by simply removing a bit of violence.

        I would rather that the games never came here at all and we all just imported. Accepting a censored game just validates our broken ratings system.

      We made noise when L4D2 got watered now, and when Mortal Kombat got banned. And the ACB's general response(if any) was, 'deal with it'

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