EA Responds To Syndicate Being Refused Classification [Update]

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+


    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  • ” 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. 😛

    • Yeah, should’ve gone all out with a 😉 emoticon. 😀

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

  • 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.

    • “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!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

      • 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).

  • 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 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’

  • So being that this will have Origin activation if you buy a PC retail version from overseas….will it be region blocked?

    I guess that info will have to wait next year.

  • EA like a BAUS! They aren’t going back on their beliefs and their beliefs in the game, good on them. And they are actually being realistic, which further shows how backwards the current policy is… They’ve conceded our country is just to far behind/ out of whack to bother with on this one.

    Kudos EA… Kudos!

  • I’m sure if the R18+ classification was in anyway involved with our pollies receiving a pay rise it certainly wouldn’t take another 2 years to go through.

  • this is great publicity for these games. people love importing it because its seemingly taboo.

    I always buy RC games, L4D2, Mortal Kombat etc etc, mostly out of spite for the stoneage classification system in australia telling me what i can and can’t play as an adult.

  • On the one hand, it’s good to see EA pushing for R18’s implementation… on the other hand, why do I get the feeling EA would happily censor the game in a heartbeat if Australia was a bigger market?

  • I think I may be missing something. I thought the R18+ rating was no going to allow any new content but rather that some games that would have previously received an MA15+ rating into the new category. From what I know anything that would be RC now would still be RC after we get and R18+ rating. Am I incorrect?

    • Pretty sure i’ve heard something similar before, but understandably, publishers can make as many resubmissions as they like right now to slip it in the MA15+ rating, i would only assume they meant any RC game wouldnt automatically get the R18 rating, unless resubmitted to the board. So in this case, when R18 comes out, Syndicate won’t get the rating until it’s been submitted again by EA. Well thats how i take it anyway

      • ? So … when/if the R18 rating is brought in, 18 year olds suddenly have the capacity for violence/sex/drugs of todays 15 year olds … and today’s 15 yo’s are suddenly incapable of tolerating content they were legally allowed the day before … ? Is that really how backward-assed this is going to be?

  • i dont give a damn im just going to get it off ozgameshop or ebay ive done it for L4D2 and MK9 got in easy this does not worry me.

  • Just another game to import. I imported MK, L4D2 and the rest of the games that this pathetic country has banned over the years.

    Playasia + Fedex = bypass censorship

    Customs couldn’t catch a cold. I laugh at them.

  • The problem is not the Manager of Applications, nor EA, but the classification system itself.

    The people sitting on these Boards do not represent the Australian public (and that is the point – can’t let the masses decide what is good for themselves) – see here: http://www.geordieguy.com/?p=1148

    A board comprised of entirely “professional committee members”, university degree holders, etc. Not average joes, youth, and other sections of the Oz pop, but a very specialised class – professional committee members.

  • Goddamn I hate this country and goddamn I want this game … I’ve never imported a game before any chance I can get some tips? 🙂
    I would be getting it for Xbox.

  • People I’m not enraged at the ACB or whoever thought the game should be higher than MA15+, I think I would agree with them. I’m angry with the people who ignored for so long the concept that our classification laws where no longer up to date.

    We want change, we need to be angry at the right people.

    Now let’s assume these are rational reasonable people, surely they would say this game needs to be an R18+, but we don’t have that option so it’s RC or banned.

    And anyone who says well stuff it I’ll just pirate it because I can’t buy it legit, Imports are cheaper and you where probaly planning on pirating it anyway and now you have an excuse.

  • In a country that claim “laid back” and gay marriage is closing to be a law, how on earth 18+ games still didnt exist?

    Just when retailers complained very loudly that internet purchase is killing them, well shout to the right people why dont you? There is no point aggrevating the consumer more with your loud rubbish talks

  • I contract in the public service so I can clearly envision the useless, out of touch fools at the OFLC having meeting after meeting without ever actually achieving anything. So more like ten years. I’ll import this game just to spite the swine!

  • Give it ten years and this is pretty much what every sci Fi shooter will belike we will not get any games then so fuck you classification board and grow up

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