This Is Why Syndicate Was Refused Classification

We've just received a copy of the Classification Board's report on Syndicate, which explains why the game was refused classification.

Apparently the game allows players to not only decapitate enemies via the various different weapons available in the game, it also allows them to continue dismembering NPCs after the player has been killed.

... an intense sequence of violence commences when a player collect a "g290 minigun, which operates much like a Gatling gun. A player moves through a building rapidly firing at enemy combatants. 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 from wounds at regular intervals.

The same effects can be seen visually after the enemies have been killed in the game.

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.

In the opinion of the Board, the game contains intense sequences of violence which include detailed depictions of decaptitation and dismemberment that are high in playing impact. The game also contains the ability to inflict repeated and realistic post mortem damage which exceeds strong in playing impact. It is therefore 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.

Being perfectly honest, it sounds like Syndicate is a game that, in no shape or form, should be given an MA15+ rating and exists as yet another example of why we should have an R18+ rating for video games in Australia.

EA's local representatives are currently preparing a response to the situation. at this point we have no idea whether EA will re-submit the game for classification, although from this report it would seem unlikely. Far too much of the game would have to be changed and edited for the game to fit into the MA15+ classification, and with an early 2012 release it may be too difficult to get these changes applied before the game's release.

We'll update with more news as we get it.

You can read the report in full here.


    Um. SOF2....?

      My first thought was SOF1. I played it when I was... probably 10-12? And loved every second of it, completed it about 5 times... got so good at it that I ended up playing up completing it on the hardest difficulty, not bad for such a young age. Didn't like the second one though.

        I was gonna mention Blood 2, as you could chop up corpses, but then its not very realistic (even back then it might still have been graphic, but not realistic as to show bones in vivid detail)

      Lol exactly what I thought...that was so cool when it came out! I spent so much time just mucking around shooting bad dudes in various limbs to see the outcome!

      Absolutely SoF2. That is all I could think while reading it.

      What's SOF? Don't think I've heard that acronym before.

      This made me more think Turok 2. Couldn't you still dismember bodies after they died in that too? I know you could while they were alive...

      What about Kingpin? I loved that game :)

    What was the progress of R18 anyway? Last I heard Brendan O Connor was put in another position and R18 was going to take a year or two to implement?

      I heard middle of 2012, but it was at least going ahead at some point.

    Yup, sounds fair enough. I wouldn't want that in an MA15+ film let alone a game.

      Go back to 1965. Games released in Australia at the moment, like Dead Island, AvP or SoF2 have the same if not worse level of violence. Remarks like this are getting us nowhere and people like you are the reason our system is rubbish in the first place.

        Are you 15 by chance? I personally don't think visceral corpse mutilation would be in any media with an MA rating.

        Also, wasn't SOF refused too? I swear I remember not being able to buy it.

        And those games should all have been rated R18+, nor MA15+. That's the entire problem.

          Not MA15+. Damn it.

        You're an arsehole and just because someone agrees with it getting an R+ doesn't mean they are 'the reason the system is rubbish'. All Fenixius was saying that it sounds full-on for a MA rating.
        I think the banning is stupid, but there's no point being a fuckhead about it. If anything, YOU'RE the reason the classification is rubbish, because people LIKE YOU can't bring anything to the table and the industry can't be taken seriously.

      Soldier of Fortune, my friend.

    And this is different from games such as Dead Island, how?

      Probably because they justify that by saying they're zombies and these guards are more obviously human.
      Not saying I agree with them! :)

        Except the rationale for refusing classification to the uncensored version of Left 4 Dead 2 was that the "zombies" were really humans "infected with a rabies-like virus", which is basically the same explanation for Dead Island's zombies.

          I thought it was because the enemies were referred to as "Infected" and then seen to be more human than an actual zombie. If I remember correctly, they stated that it would've been fine if the enemies were referred to as zombies. Although I may be wrong.

          The problem with L4D2 was the policeman zombies.

      exactly what i was thinking.
      just this morning i was slicing up bodies on dead island. and not just zombies...

    Didnt they object to shooting off limbs in GTA 3 as well here?

      Yeah, dead island had people you could do whatever to. Bloody idiots are just to inconsistent.

    It does sound like an adults game, but they won't give it a new classification when the R18+ rating comes out so we probably just won't end up getting it.

    I agree, it SHOULD be restricted to minors. This might be a problem if adults played games... Hmmm...

    Sounds like the same type of reason why L4D2 got the RC in its first go. But I agree with Mark, this type of thing belongs and is the reason we need an R18 rating

    import, how do you like those laws??

      my comment was purely to show that as an adult, I am capable of circumventing our outdated laws to play an adult game. I don't think anyone under 18 should have this and I can't wait until Australia grows up.

    "For example, it is possible for a player to decapitate a corpse with a headshot before individually blowing off each of its limbs."

    Dead Island, anyone?

      It's odd, but it's different with Zombies and Real People in the eyes od the classification board. The report also notes you can do this to non-combatants, which pushes it further over the edge.

        If you want a harsh reminder about just how wrong you are, go to your local JBs and buy yourself a copy of Left 4 Dead 2

          In left 4 dead 2 they considered the zombies as infected people.

          From the kotaku report at the time:
          "violence is inflicted upon ‘the Infected’ who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently”.

    "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."
    Wow, the guys on the classification board are some sick fucks, the corpse is already dead, move on already!

      Wait till they find out about the sexual molestation that occurs in Halo...where's the fun in it if you can't T-bag someone after you kill them.

    Sounds awesome! I actually don't mind bans, cause you can import from the UK for cheaper even with postage. BOOOM!

    Dead Space 1 and 2 want a word then.

      And Dead Island and Borderlands and Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas and hell, probably Skyrim for all I know.

      Those are necromorphs, which are technically aliens... and dead bodies. So zombie aliens. Doing terrible things to zombies is perfectly okay.

        "and dead bodies"

        You're still dismembering corpses. You said so yourself.

          Oh yeah, I completely forgot about the already dead human bodies. I should play Dead Space again.

          Anyway, the people already dead in the game weren't killed by you and in a way, doing horrible things to their already mangled corpse is somewhat a mercy. Although they're just video game characters, the game developers made it pretty obvious most of them didn't want to turn into those horrifying abominations. So yeah, a mercy... idontknow

    Dead Space and Borderlands?

      Add Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas to this list.

    Serves them right for ruining Syndicate Wars and making it a FPS.

    For a more recent example Fallout 3 allows you to do this exact thing. Then strip the dismembered torso down to it's underpants and pick it up and wave it around...

    not that I did that.

      Also the dismembering and corpse mutilation in Fallout 3 could be done to people who were human and non threatening. As opposed to other games that get a pass because you're dismembering 'monsters'.

    Post-mortem dismemberment is always a red flag for our ratings board.

    Personally this one I don't care much about since it looks like an utterly generic FPS that has next to nothing in common with the franchise they're attempting to slap onto it aside from some kind of vague future-ish setting.

      Half Life got through despite the presence of gibs!

    They really have a thing against shooting up corpses don't they?

    I personally loved the last part where it mentions a minor shouldn't see it. Wasn't that why we have ratings in the first place, MA15+? There seems to be an archaic view that games are all for kids, and that if a game isn't suitable for them, then as adults we can't have it?

      a minor is anyone under 18

    Man, so many games contain dismemberment like the fallout series, and that contains the use of the drugs and all sorts anti-moral material. And Syndicate gets RC? Where is the precedent?

    I can think of plenty of other games that enable you to do the above.

    Subjective and unspecified conditions of classification for the win!

    ok, the detailing of what u can do to npc's makes me want to play this game even more!!! "It is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play..." OF COURSE IT IS!! They're not the target market!! The entertainment market is not wholly made of children!!! Adults have jobs, therefore money, therefore access to entertainment. not children!

      I think what that part of the explanation is saying is that the underlying emphasis of the current build of classification laws is centred around the suitability of the media for the consumption of minors. Arguments for a revamp of the system aside, it's good to see the people at the OFLC doing their job. Unfortunately, the knock on effect of them doing their job right is that the law says this product cannot be sold here. But I would prefer that we keep the OFLC around to do this kind of screening, rather than let anything be available in the country without some kind of check.

      Basically my view is, thumbs up OFLC, thumbs down out-dated classification laws.

    Hey Mark,

    I'm curious about something. When a game is refused classification, even for a little while, is that useful PR for the game company? Sure they might miss out on the Australian Market but maybe the RC influences buyers in the US and Europe to buy the game because of its gory nature.You know forbidden fruit tastes sweetest and all that jazz.

    Hopefully you can answer this or explore it in a feature.

    *Goes and does this in Fallout 3*
    *Goes and does this in Fallout New Vegas*
    *Goes and does this in Dead Island*
    *Goes and.........fuck it you get the picture.

      That's what I thought...

      The 2 Bethesda Fallouts both had locational damage, And post mortem damage as well. Heck, I swear I compare it to every game that gets denied. In hindsight how did it even get past the classification board... if I remember correctly they only had a problem with the drug use.

        Yeah dude... Just this morning I was playing FO3, using a mod that makes ghouls occasionally get back up after dying, and you have to either cut off their heads or legs to prevent them from doing so. After mowing down a crowd of them I pulled out a knife and cut off the legs of every single one.

        So why the hell is this game so different?

          For starters you're talking about a mod

            The mod simply zombifies the ghouls. The fact is you can however cut off limbs in fallout 3 and NV at every single articulation point of the body short of fingers and toes.

              Yep. The mod doesn't enable mutilation at all. It's already in the game. All the mod does is basically make it mandatory. It's not mandatory in the base game but I highly doubt it's mandatory in Syndicate.

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