Syndicate's Message To Pirates, In A Form They Should Understand

No Syndicate for Australia. That means you should just pirate the crap out of it, right? Stick it to those evil developers who hate your guts and are not at all trying to make a living or feed their families. They deserve it, after all?

Sadly (and scarily), some people actually think like this. To those of you out there matching this description — don't worry, Starbreeze remembered the angst-ridden pirates too! All you need do is check out a text file the developer slipped onto the game disc.

Called "Syndicate-SBZ.nfo" and residing in the install DVD's root directory, the file is styled exactly like a typical warez release NFO. Using the raw power of ASCII (well, maybe 30 per cent of it) Starbreeze uses the opportunity to remind would-be pirates what it takes to make a game:

Over a hundred people spent several years of their lives making this game. If you like what you play, please consider purchasing it if you haven't.

It also provides these super-handy instructions on getting the game to run:

1) Insert disc 2) Play ;)

There's an install step missing in there somewhere, but the point they're trying to make is that there are a lot less hoops to jump through if you go the legitimate route.

Ironically, the message includes an appeal for job applications, despite the developer giving 25 employees their marching orders barely a week ago, though the gold master probably went off to the replicators long before there was any hint of lay-offs.

Syndicate (2012) [Cutting Room Floor via Rock, Paper, Shotgun]


    Well it's not like there's much Australians can do in the meantime.
    The options are:
    1) pirate it
    2) import it, which is a gamble that can result in
    2a) getting the game for your money spent
    2b) losing the game, losing the money and getting fined
    3) get someone to bring it in from another country next time they're overseas, and even then that might also be a customs issue

    I know a lot of people managed to import MK without hassle, but there were also a lot of people who got nabbed trying to do the same thing.
    I wish there were some official numbers on that though.

      I wonder if it's possible to have someone gift it to you or get an activation code for it through Origin. If it was on Steam you could use that route, but I don't know if EA handles things similarly

        Have you never been to sites like cdkeyshere and cdkeysdirect? Thats where I got my version of Syndicate for $30. Once you pay via paypal, you instantly get a key to redeem on origin.

          I can't say I'd be wanting to trust EA/Origin not to region lock the game at some point when they realise that Australian gamers are registering imported PC copies on it.

          Besides I'm wary of cheap key sites, and the SP campaign reviews don't paint the game in a good light.


      People actually got caught importing? Sauce plx!

        Customs _do_ perform random checks. I got bit by this before.

        All I have is worth of mouth.

        That said, I'm pretty sure I have more friends who imported successfully than ones who got nabbed.

        Yep, I have been caught before as well. Got a sanctimonious letter from a bureaucrat threatening fines, but nothing more.

        I haven't imported an RC game for a long time, but I do import a hell of a lot of games, DVDs and blu-ray.

        Maybe 1 in every 5 to 10 of my packages arrives opened (and not even re-sealed, grr), with a customs sticker on the front saying it's been inspected.

      Government official statement: "We caught ALL of you! We arrested every single person! Don't disobey the law, we're always watching you!".

        I wasn't referring to anything the government has said about Mortal Kombat's deal, not that I've heard them say anything on the subject.

      Fines are only for mulitple offences or bulk imports afaik.

      4) Don't play it. Over 100 people spent several years of their lives making this, and it's not very good.

    Importing is illegal, pirating is illegal. The game is illegal to own in Australia.

    The only way to play the game is to do something illegal anyway, so it's all apples and oranges really.

      It's only illegal to own in Western Australia. Everywhere else has variables. Some places have it illegal to own the game if you live with someone under 18.

        So if you buy an origin copy its OK because you don't OWN it you are just licensing it.

        I knew there was a real reason for not letting people own games anymore!

        And you all thought it was just a money grubbing scheme...

          Even if you have a disc, you have still only paid for a license. Read a EULA sometime.

            You are right, I always complain about this but when I was writing that I forgot about it!

            I feel dumb.

      It's not currently illegal to import the game into Australia for personal use but it is illegal to sell the game in Australia, much the same way Left4Dead 2 was and the many other games "refused classification" here. Just buy it at Play Asia or similar offshore sites. Hey you could even try Harvey Normans online game selling site as that is technically an importing site (I think the games are imported from the UK).

    I'm loving that the ratings Board generously allow us to buy & play the vast range of combat sims, yet they (again- see L4D2 'special infected') single out this title? Yes, I know, they're very persuasive people...

      The fact that EA agreed with the classification and didn't appeal it should tell you a lot. It's extremely violent, much more so than those combat sims.


        playing the demo has evident enough why it got RC, let alone what trailers have shown in the Singleplayer, which i don't think really would be suitable for 15 year olds

        They agreed it shouldn't be viewed or played by children. The same can be said of just about every other combat sim out there. Their choosing not to contest the grounds given for the rating in no way validate the fact that we can't bloody play it here.

          Exactly - so what?? Im over 18. The fact that EA seemingly acknowledge that the game is not for minors is absolutely irrelevant when our ratings system is broken. As Azozoth points out - seriously play house of the dead - overkill and compare the content to syndicate.

            Further EA has to pay to submit. Ea has to pay staff to change the game etc Why do this for a tiny market like Oz??? Especially when new laws are imminent.

    How are we supposed to think, when the ratings board are so out of touch, Australian adults can't play a simple FPS that the rest of the world can play? Are we supposed to obey their idiotic commands? Not happening.

    Sorry Logan, but I disagree with you entirely. I support the industry every chance I get but you know what, at the end of the day, we here in austrAlia are left with no other avenue in these kind of situations. I own a steam account with over 100 games, probably only 20 of them being cheap indie purchases. At the end of the day, I'm 27 year old but I can't play a game thats should be rated 18.

    If they'd release it I would gladly purchase it.

      I could not disagree with you more. As a developer myself, I cannot imagine any scenario where I would willing support piracy.

      Australia sucks when it comes to classification and games, I know that. But it will never, ever be a legitimate excuse to pirate a game.

        But in this situation, the developer loses legitimately nothing. An Australian resident can't legally purchase the game, after all. What's the harm in pirating it?

          So as a developer when you are selling a sequel post the introduction of r18 you would prefer no one had played your game?

        What about when you've purchased the game, but it got nabbed by customs in a random spot check? Technically you've purchased it, but you're not allowed to play it because of some arbitrary laws in your country. Do you feel it's acceptable to just go ahead and download it then?

        I disagree - if the develop decides not to pursue a region for any reason, it totally justifies piracy. Gaming wouldn't exist in lot of countries without it, and you can't argue a lost sale for a product tgat was never for sale in the first place. I think this falls into the same grey area as abandonware, which sucks for the developer but is hardly the fault of the 'pirate' in this scenario.

        Oh are a developer so you must be totally objective and dispassionate on this topic.

        Just wait here whilst I break out the world's smallest violin.

          Oh gee... Your a first world pirate so you must be well fed and have an enormous sense of entitlement.
          Just wait here while I stick up the worlds biggest middle finger.

        The publisher bent over to the hand of the government. I'll happily give them my money for this game, just so long as they're willing to sell it to me. If the publisher doesn't want to sell it to me, they can get stuffed I'll be left with no other option.

        Like I said Logan, I'm not one to condone piracy, however, this is the only avenue available to the Australian consumer. After all, they're not depriving the developers of any lost revenue, because either way, a sale is not possible. You'd be kidding yourself if you were thinking that the right attitude to have is simply never play the game. I would be happy to throw my money to the developers if it were possible.

        Also dont throw around the "as a developer myself line". I'm also a fellow developer. But I'm not the one depriving them of their rightful income.

          How can you even think for a second that you can say piracy is your only option? Are you retarded or just plain simple? You have the option to import it. Therefore piracy is NOT the only option.

            Importing it is illegal.

            Are YOU retarded?

            Chazz, no need to be childish here with name calling, we are just having a general discussion. Its not as though the game has simply not been released in this part of the world and importing it is optional. The fact is, that the game has effectively been banned. This isnt a SWTOR type of situation. I for one am not willing to import it for to reasons.

            1. I wont import it at the risk of being fined.

            2. I refuse to activate it on an Origin/Steam service where I own hundreds of other legitimate games, that could very well be at risk of violating the services TOS agreement.

            I dont blame the developers. I blame our antiquated classification system... On the same token however, how many developers have actually offered support or raised any form of awareness on the issue?

        Then just include an account # and BSB # with the .NFO file. I instal the software, then send you money. You send me an acknowledgement of the purchase and an official key. Problem solved. Beauracracy subverted. Govt gets no tax money, but they would have none anyway as the product is illegal. Piracy justified AND the author gets paid.

          I would totally support this.

          Also this game (At least on PC) wasn't very good. The shooting and movement all felt really slow and clumsy.

      I don't get how the unavailability (legally) of something = the entitlement to own it.

      So for all the people saying that it's justification to pirate it, I would ask:
      Have you sent a donation cheque to EA or Starbreeze for a similar amount to the price of the game? Because it isn't their fault that you can't buy it, so you would still want to ensure they get a fair payment for your enjoyment of the game, wouldn't you?

      There's nothing legally stopping you from doing this is there, and wouldn't this be the ethical solution based upon your argument?

        The question isn't if one has the right to pirate it, but if one has the right to prevent someone from playing a game when they are not losing a cent.

        If your product is not legally able to be sold in Australia, then you have no legal right to stop me from pirating it. Because you don't HAVE a licence for it in Australia.

        For all intent and purposes, the game does not exist in Australia. And as such, one cannot pirate that which doesn't EXIST. I cannot steal what you don't have.

          The game DOES exist in Australia. it was refused classification. The IP owner has every right to control what they created. You are thieves. Your problem is with the classification board not the creators. Seemingly the game is not region locked.... Otherwise do the right thing and send a cheque.

        These publisher who continue to support the oppressive rating system we have here deserve all they get. If they continue to stand by and let censorship survive in Australia, they'll get zero sympathy from me when people pirate their games. If that had ANY sense of decency or moral respect they'd stand up to this disgusting practice of censorship and announce they will be selling this game no matter what the Classification Board says.

          You could argue that they are refusing to support the classification system as it stands in Australia by refusing to release a censored version of the game.

          Yeah, because the government won't simply prevent all shipments to Australia if they try to pull that.

    Got the PS3 version coming via Fedex atm from PlayAsia. It's been shipped and will be arriving shortly.

    Customs couldn't catch a cold :)

    Don't Steam/Origin have to block by region when things are RC? O_o

      Steam block the game from the regions catalogue but that's it. If you get the game gifted or purchase a cd key for it you can activate without issue.

        Interesting. Didn't realise the enforcement was that far behind the intent of refusing classification, what a joke. :D

        CDKeyhouse or such it is, then!

          I bought my key from g2play a few days ago for around $35. Works fine on Origin. Not a bad game, it's fun, but kind of frustrating sometimes.

        Be careful with this, steam will revoke access to your games if they can demonstrate your gaming the gifting system. I know two people who lost tgeir libraries doing so. The general advice is to gift to a unique account.

    Just bring on the R18 classification already & end this bullshit

      i'd guess this'd still be RC even when we have the higher classification.

        The changes to the legislation specifically introduce the R18 for future classifications, thus there is no retro-active reclassification of RC material.

        It would essentially require the publisher to make some change or maybe release a GOTY/Special edition and submit that for classification as a separate game. Of course this incurs significant cost for the publisher in production/advertising/submission fees and therefore is unlikely to occur for most games as their re-release purely for the Australian market are unlikely to shift enough copies to make it financially viable.

          Does it require a change??? As far as Im aware the code can be submitted unchanged after the introduction and if it is deemed as classifiable under r18+ it IS classified as such.


            Change shouldn't be necessary if the title *is* suitable for the R18+ rating. However older titles before the r18+ would require publishers to resbumit the games again for reclassification. Which would involve fees and whatnot.. and i somehow doubt a publisher would be willing to fork up money for a product that would be months old and has already made money elsehwere in the world.

    Are there regional issues if I import for 360?? Its available in NZ is it not???

      NZ is same region as us so no issues there.

    Just because a game is banned in Australia doesn't mean its illegal. Its just illegal to sell copies of the game in the country.

      In some states such as WA it is actually illegal to own RC material, whereas in others it's illegal to sell or import them.

    Unfortunately steam and origin also participate in region-based price-fixing.

      Steam prices are determined by the publisher.

      Right. Which is why CDKeyhouse have so much traction innit. Cheaper to get a key from a physical copy than a purely digital copy. *palmface*

    Set sail to the sea's mateys!

    If its an Origin exclusive it should be pirated and boycotted to send a message to EA about forcing us to use their shitty echosystem.

    Meh its an EA game, I hope more people pirate it than buy it. Necroing a classic game into some generic crap just to make a quick buck is pretty pathetic and disgusting imo. I bet it will have day 1 paid DLC like ME3 too.

      Starbreeze are pretty decent devs, though.

    It's not recognisable the way Mortal Kombat was. I'd say the chances of customs seeing Syndicate and *recognising that it's NC* here are <0.001%.

    People who want it are going to import it. If they pirate it, then they more than likely would have done that even if it had been classified as MA15+.

    Bought a cd-key and redeemed on Origin. Only thing I could do as I was unable to get a digital copy without the help of a third party. Enjoying the game a lot. I really did want to pay money (not enough hard sci fi and cyberpunk these days) and I found a way.

    Got my NTSC copy for 360 from Amazon yesterday. Cheers to EA for the region free disc. Plus it cost me less than $60 Australian. AND I got a $20 off voucher for my next purchase.

    Are these local bozos even trying?

    They deserve to have it pirated for destroying potentially the best game series of the past 20 years. Turning it into an FPS? What were they thinking...

      How do you ruin a game series that hasn't seen the light of day in years? If anything you are encouraging people to go back and play the old games afterwards.

    According to Fedex my copy has cleared customs and is now en route to me. Suck on that AU government!

      Dear mikezombie777

      Enjoy your box of dogshit.

      Love customs

    I'll send them a cheque if they make a patch or tell us how to change the puke inducing console-centric FOV settings!! Otherwise i get 15 minutes in and i have to lie down. True story.

    I can say with first hand experience that customs can and will check every item that get sent into the country. However if an item gets through all depends on what its called on the box.

    Ive had Customs hold up 2 items ive brought online, one which was a 15cm mini replica of the Halo 2 battle rifle. it was held up because it had the words "battle rifle" on the box even though the box was the size of a DVD case. the box was held up for 2 weeks just because of those words. Long story short it wasnt until i was contated by FedEx saying that the package had been held up that i then rung customs and told them to open the damn thing up and look at it form themselves. Sure enought when i finally got the aked i saw that the box had indeed been opend up and released by customs.

    The other item that was held up was a set of replica fist weapons. completel unusuable and unable to be hidden, but customs ended up taking tham because the NSW fire arms registry kept fucking me around and not returning my emails or calls. Yet i was able to import my Replica Frostmourne which is near 2m in length. Go figure.

    Customs don't look at every single package themselves. They xray everything and do random checks on seemingly innocuous parcels, but there are upwards of 50,000 parcels coming into the country every day so they can't possibly check all of them.

    Anything to do with guns or drugs will obviously be further inspected. Something like a game isn't usually even a blip on their radar :) Been importing games for ALONG time.

    JasonViens23 on January 31, 2011 that was horrible lol hhhahaaa.. im so happy mine didnt go that bad.. a bit of advice to all future best men.. dont try to be a inevative hero.. look up some good speeches take some good points from a few of them then impliment your own touch on them.. its a stressfull moment there is nothing wrong with a little help

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