This Is Why Syndicate Was Refused Classification

This Is Why Syndicate Was Refused Classification
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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.

Comments

    • 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!

    • 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 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    • 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.

        • 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.

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

        • 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

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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?

          • 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.

  • I’ve recently picked up Dead Island, and even I thought that was very brutal. I was surprised that it got through when I played it. The head smashes in particular are very nasty, what with the gore, and the blood and the sound!

  • I’ll just go get a Barbie doll and dismember that then. That would be ok because Barbie isn’t a real person, unlike the people in video games…

  • I can understand this, and a hands-on preview said the game encourages this aggressive side in the player, so that’s another reason to restrict this to adults.
    I also understand necromorphs in Dead Space and zombies in Dead Island were clearly non-human but the fire suit zombies in L4D2 could have been.
    Still not sure how this differs from Fallout 3 and New Vegas, so we’ll have to see.

  • ” 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.”

    Describes Dead Space exactly.

  • No doubt we will see a news article all about the Australian Government saving our children from the horrors of video gaming that is Syndicate, while their parents are doing drugs, drinking, gambling, physical and sexual abuse to them.

  • Get rid of the mandatory classification, let publishers self-classify, and the problem is solved.

    Censorship is bullshit and I look forward to the death of all who seek to do it.

    • If we had self-classification, that would just mean that the publisher would just mean that the publisher would be the one making the RC decision.

      Self classification systems only really work if there is some kind of review process in place to keep people honest, and I doubt the government would leave out such a mechanism if they switched to self classification.

      It is the classification guidelines that really need changing here.

      • No, it would mean the publisher would slap an “adults only” label on it. There never has been, and never will be a case where a book, movie, game or any other media is justifiably banned so long as nobody was harmed in the making of it.

    • Self-regulation? Yeah, that’s a terrible idea that’s never worked.

      There’s a time and place for everything, even censorship.

        • “There’s never, ever a time for censorship. EVER.” Kiddie porn and torture fetish web-sites say Hi.

          “Self classification seems to work just fine in the US.” Between the “violence is fine, just don’t show any boobs” mantra, and the Christian Lobby having even more power than ours does, I’m not so sure.

  • From the comments within this article itself it’s evident why we further need a classification system re haul if only to stamp out inconsistency within the current system. We can only hope the review and addition of R18+ doesn’t take too long.. though most of us know that’s wishful thinking heh. Can always import I guess heh.

  • So yeah… sounds like a perfect example of “Why-piracy-exists 101”.

    A game that’s deemed unsuitable for minors means that adults can’t play it either. No. Not acceptable

  • Surely EA will just postpone it for Australia like The Old Republic in order to nerf the content and jack up the price right?…. right?

  • “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.” – Just like Dead Island M15+

  • SO! the Government ban a remake of a retro game for a feature that’s existed… Since retro games? In Monolith’s classic title ‘blood’ you could kick a zombie head along while you walk. Soldier of Fortune II had limb specific damage. In Fallout 3 with the gore perk people literally explode when shot and you can then play with their dead bodies and in Call of Duty Black Ops you actually press buttons to torture someone. Hypocrisy? False precedents? Double standards? Fuck!

    This is a feeble move by a government desperately trying to claw back the confidence of the ignorant masses by selling them a broken classification system and accordingly, an insult to anyone with half a brain.

        • Quite easily.

          Yes, it’s a publicly funded body that is technically under the control of Government. Like the ACCC, it’s still independent.

          Your statements that:

          SO! the Government ban a remake of a retro game for a feature that’s existed… Since retro games?……This is a feeble move by a government desperately trying to claw back the confidence of the ignorant masses by selling them a broken classification system and accordingly, an insult to anyone with half a brain.

          shows either a wilful lack of understanding of how the Classification Board actually works (ie: trolling) or just a complete lack of knowledge (aka: read more).

          The Government (which one, by the way? Federal, or a specific State one?) didn’t reach down from on high and say “You know what we need to do? Ban this one specific game and override the entire Classification system and board”. If you honestly believe that, I hope you’re not old enough to vote.

          • The classification board is part of the Attorney General’s office these days. It is pretty hard to argue that the AG’s office is not part of the government.

        • You should also take a moment to read all the post on this very site about the R18+ rating / READY push.

          THIS Federal government is the one that is pushing ahead to have it introduced so that games of this nature can be approved for mature adult audiences. THIS Federal government is the one that has been praised by everyone involved in the push for actually attempting to understand and act on the issues. THIS Federal government is the one that achieved an historic agreement on the issue and is currently finalising legislation to enact the changes we’ve been looking for.

          Seriously. Get your facts straight.

          • Typical.

            You didn’t answer the question Zap. You simply dodged it. (You aren’t employed in a government office, perchance? Read less, it might help you descend back to reality.) My point is fundamentally this and I’ll make it nice and simple for you.

            The only reason THIS federal government did what you say it did was because someone retired – the only person historically blocking the 18+ rating. Get YOUR facts straight. This government has taken little initiative towards anything at all. If you have sand in your ladyparts because I’m dissing the govmt I’d say your defense hinges entirely on political bias.

  • Has no one else noted that we are allowed to download and play APB reloaded in Aus through Steam? Guess what it’s rated..?
    I just assumed we were done with all this classification bullshit when I saw that, oh well.
    The difference between this and Fallout/Dead Island is probably just the blood. We don’t get ‘arterial sprays’ or protruding bones in Fallout, that’s all I can think of..

  • Woahhhhhh this is Syndicate? Like Syndicate I used to play on the Amiga? How did I not know that this was out! Brilliant! I used to bloody love that game!!!

    • Well, sort of. It’s got the name, and probably a similar premise, to cash in anyone old enough to remember it, but it’s just another FPS.

  • yeah…Fallout 3.

    Just another adult game that australian adults can’t play, move along, nothing to see here, blah blah import it, R18 rating, etc etc.

  • realism today will look crud in 5 years, just look at the unreal tech demo…. also the new metal gear oops had a slicing up watermelon mode which was offensive!

  • I’m kind of amused that they keep using the word “realistic” when the idea that a headshot will explode a head is utterly unrealistic…

  • So anyway, I think I’m going to trade in my Xbox for a ps vita. It isn’t region locked, so if our overlords ban games, I can import them. Microsoft, u may wanna lobby our masters of gaming…

  • It has always surprised me how the Gears of War series has made it through… I mean Chainsawing someone to death to see their insides and bone fragments? Isn’t that the same as this game?

  • If they had made it similar to the first 2 games this wouldn’t be a problem. It is only because the player can control the gun that the agent holds that this is an issue.

    • still got like 2 years of government red tape to cut through before that’ll happen, and that’s assuming Labour stays in power past the next election. If the Libs get in, they may just axe the entire damn concept to keep their conservative backers happy

  • Hey great job reminiscing about violent games but no one has brought up the possibility that the new metal gear game which is purely based on slicing npc’s up like Swiss cheese will now definatly be banned, which would be a huge disappointment

  • Well I will just go back to decapitating humans in Fallout New Vegas, but you can probably argue that the humans in that game are more like Robots but they are still humans you can kill, then spend 10 minutes, cropping off there head, arms, and legs, then placing there body parts in a bin and calling it mission success.

  • Should’ve been refused classification on the grounds of it depicting the graphic and brutal mutilation and rape of its ancestor.

  • To be honest, it sounds like it probably should have been refused classification. Hopefully it can be released in Australia under hte new R18+ rating.

  • I suspect, and looking at the trailers that this game is really very graphic. It may seem normal in games now, but seriously, most games dismemberment is actually not that graphic.

  • THIS GAME SOUNDS AWESOME!

    & To add an opinion on the ban, I think it’s called for.
    I don’t want the people of our country to be too violent, kids shouldn’t play this game.

    • link to me a peer reviewed psychological study establishing a statistically significant positive link between violent video games and violent behaviour, because there’s shaky reports on both sides. I would think a. don’t buy it for your kid…..b. don’t abuse them or treat them like an ass or give them a shitty example of who to model themselves on if you want to curb violence

    • i want more violence, ill go underground with a vat of jack and a bbw porn rag and the aholes can weed themselves out. SPEED UP DARWINISM

      but seriously people blame video games (gtaiv for the london riots? mmm) then get into their car with their kids in the back seat and go mental at an 80 year old woman for cutting them off at the lights.

      sorry if you were being sarcastic in the first place and i missed that.

  • im actually suprised thats all that was picked up, watching the announcement trailer after finding out it was banned, i would have thought being able to control people and to make them kill themself would have been a big deal.

    I was really keen on checking this out, looks like i’ll risk an import then :\

  • honestly i think banning syndicate is double standards! i mean the last game i played with dismemberment was F.E.A.R on pc and you could not only blast enemy limbs off with a shotgun but if you aimed and timed right you would completely mist the guy as in he vapourises and in fear 2 i took a enemy’s stomach out with a gun turret so the level of detailed gore in syndicate is nothing that hasn’t been done or released before so why this time?
    and in my opinion we should have gamer’s in government!! people that have experience in playing games. not reps that have never played video games in they’re lives .

    • Change the subject to movies let’s say black hawk down thathad so much gore I don’t understand and that was ma15 plus it probably was refused here because of being able to make the guards kill themselves and most around them I saw the gameplay it’s not that bad

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