If this isn't a wake-up call to the people of Australia, nothing is.

As reported by several sources, including VG247 , EA's upcoming sci-fi action reboot, Syndicate , has been refused classification in Australia due to the game being "unsuitable for a minor to see or play." See, the Aussie board doesn't have any video game classifications that are for anyone over the age of 15.

Yep, still living in 1985, as if all games have to be for kids. Here's part of the reason why the board says the title in question isn't for anyone under the age of 15:

"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 spurt from wounds at regular intervals," the report states, discussing an example mission."

Well of course it's a mature game. That's why we have these things called the "M"-Mature rating and the "R"-Restricted rating here in the US. Mortal Kombat was refused classification in Australia earlier this year, by the way. …whatever. For more on Syndicate , check out our recent preview .

Related Game(s): Syndicate

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Shams
Shams
10 years ago

Does that mean that stores won't carry the game over there, or that they just won't sell it to minors aged 15 and younger?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

It means stores can't sell it at all.

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

That sucks. At least all of the games from the Reader's Goty nominee list should be safe.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

Great way to increase interest in the game in Australia though.

Wasn't interested in Mortal Kombat until it got great reviews AND was banned. Am awaiting Sydnicate reviews to see if it is worth importing.

___________
___________
10 years ago

ill definitely be importing it even if it is sh*t just as a big f*ck you to our useless incompetent government!
oh and OFLC, when the country goes bankrupt because everyone is importing games because there either banned, or because the govs BS taxes are so high, dont come crying to us!
the economy is in dire conditions, so to reboot it back to health they send one of the biggest incomes in the country to overseas.
brilliant!!!!!

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

Wasn't there a story earlier in the year about their rating classification system being challenged because of this issue of no mature ratings? I can't remember the particulars, but thought that there was some story about one or other State in Australia trying to change their lack of rating.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

It has been resolved. We are getting an R18+, but it won't go into effect until the particulars of it pass through the Supreme Court and the House of Representatives and whatever other red tape stands in the way. It's supposed to be settled by around about midyear, IIRC, but we'll have to wait and see.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

Thanks Lawless, I knew I'd seen something about it.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

You can thank Brendon O'Connor, Minister of Home Affairs, for getting the ball rolling on THAT one.

An R18+ IS coming, but we may not see it until late 2012 or early 2013.

Akuma_
Akuma_
10 years ago

Yeah, just to clarrify.

The media MAY paint us as a bunch of rednecks from the 1800s, living in wooden houses with a family of wild kangaroos in every backyard, with the most ridiculous accents in the world, but this stereotype is massively out-dated.

The vast majority of Australians want an R18+ classification for games. There have been several petitions lately that gained 100s of thousands of signatures.

It has only taken this long, because one of our Attorney Generals was a stubborn old prick who was worse then a paranoid unintelligent catholic mother, when it came to violent video games. Which is funny, because even the religious societies in Australia were pushing for an R18+ rating.

Our government is hopeless.


Last edited by Akuma_ on 12/20/2011 9:17:11 PM

___________
___________
10 years ago

only reason why we still dont have one is because our government is run by a bunch of catholic idiots!
you know the type, a family friend of ours is exactly like that.
every time they come over and im watching south park i get lectured like im starting a cult!
her sons freaking 17 and she wont let him watch the simpsons for crying out loud!!!!!

SmokeyPSD
SmokeyPSD
10 years ago

Our government can't actually change classification law guys… The Attorney's hold the power on the issue, that's been the problem all along… Just clarifying that our government hasn't been hopeless at all. Infact if it wasn't for Brendan O'Connor a federal minister and his lobbying the Attorney General's there would be no R rating in the pipeline and an agreement in principle from them.

This article to be honest is a bit behind the times with it's outrage and Australia being condescending to gamers. Through no fault of Ben, he just probably isn't upto speed with the political gears/events of our country. It's unfortunate that some games like Syndicate will fall through in the coming months but we are getting an R rating within the next year and the games will be fine to come in sooner rather than later. I'm even just happy to wait for the complete edition of Mortal Kombat.

matt99
matt99
10 years ago

But there are so many M games, does Australia miss out on a lot of them? Or are they more lenient with their 15 classifications but a few over the top games aren't allowed?
Like what happened with Saints Row 3rd or GTAIV?

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

We don't miss out on too many of them. With GTA IV and Left 4 Dead 2, some of the more "explicit" content is edited, for example, GTA IV removed the blood pooling, severed limbs (what GTA III had) and edited the prostitute scenes so the camera dipped low, meaning you couldn't see what was going on in the car.

Saints Row the Third was more comedic in nature and therefore was able to pass as MA15+. A dildo being used as a bat to hit people isn't as bad as a dildo in use or a person being bludgeoned to death with a bat, with bloodspray, teeth flying and other horrific details.

Left 4 Dead 2, however, had "infected humans", not zombies, therefore the decapitations, extreme violence and all that had to be edited for Aussie release. It sucks, I know, but an R18+ rating is coming!! Might be about 2 years away though, with political red tape and acceptance into law being such a long process and all.

Akuma_
Akuma_
10 years ago

It is kind of ridiculous the games that actually do pass.

Alien Vs Predator passed, after winning an appeal against being banned. They didn't change a thing.

A few of the GTAs have had to be edited for AUS release.

Fallout3 had to be edited because it promoted "real life drug use" in the way that you take stimpacks and stuff.

Games like Dead Space passed with no problems at all, even though that whole game focuses on decapitation.

They did say that any games there were banned, can reapply for classification post-R18.

Looking Glass
Looking Glass
10 years ago

One of the main obstacle's for a mature rating in Australia is South Australia Attorney General Michael Atkinson. Fortunately for gamers in Australia Atkinson is going to be retiring in 2014 so things may change down there before too long.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

Michael Atkinson retired last year. It was a joyous time for Aussie adult video gamers!! The new South Australian AG wanted an R18+ rating to REPLACE MA15+, which goes against other states and is ridiculously crazy. In the end, he agreed to keep MA15+ and welcomed an R18+ as well.

Brendon O'Connor then became the new champion when he got the ball rolling for an R18+ rating. It has finally been agreed upon, but the lengthy process of passing it through Federal law and implementing it into the OFLC is still underway, meaning R18+ games won't be seen until about late 2012 or early 2013.

The government will still have the power to ban certain games though, for example, if Manhunt 3 were to be released and was far worse than past iterations, an R18+ rating might not be good enough for such extreme content. Games like Rapelay would still be banned too. Quite frankly, I'd rather games like Rapelay be banned.

Syndicate is just overly violent, and being such a popular title, would easily fit into an R18+ rating. Since MA15+ is, for now, our highest rating for video games, the game is banned from sale in Australia, leaving gamers with no option but to import.

Politicians seem more interested in being a nanny state than keeping money circulating in Australia to keep our economy strong (strong enough as it is though)

___________
___________
10 years ago

hes gone but theres still heaps like him dragging their feet.
it was funny, when i was at the EB games expo i was actually talking to the guy who set the whole thing up and we had a long discussion about this exact issue.
he was saying hed be surprised if we have it by late 2013, theres still allot of red tape it has to get past and the guardians are not exactly supplying the scissors so to speak.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
10 years ago

I read that they passed the M18, but it would take they another 2 years to word it out & then get it into law.
But I also heard that that same M18 was going to be somewhat of a farce & even with it, that they could still ban whatever they deemed ban-able.

So It seems that it's still going to suck for all the adult gamers there.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 12/20/2011 11:23:07 AM

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

R18+, not M18, just clearing that up for ya. 🙂

Ratings for video games and movies are as follows:

G – General
PG – Parental Guidance Recommended
M – Mature audiences (not restricted)
MA15+ – Restricted to 15 years and over
R18+ – Restricted to 18 years and over

For films, DVD and videos, the ratings are G through R18+. Video games, however, go G through MA15+, since video games were still considered a children's pastime when the ratings were first introduced in the early 1990's.

Jawknee
Jawknee
10 years ago

Lame, grownfolks can and should be allowed to make grownfolks decisions.

duomaxwell007
duomaxwell007
10 years ago

but CoD/BF3/DmC/ dark/demon souls is fine fcor minors? ok

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

The difference is that none of those games feature the OTT graphical violence that appears to be depicted here, or in MK. Ripping people apart on a regular basis is simply gratuitous in the eyes of the ACB.

Jawknee
Jawknee
10 years ago

Wasn't God of War III allowed to go on sale in Aussie? If so than that seems to be a moot point considering it has way over the top graphics.

Gordo
Gordo
10 years ago

God of War 3, Dead Space 2, Dark Souls, Dead Island etc. All given MA 15+ ratings in Australia. They don't seem to mind violence as long as it's against zombies or mythical creatures. Sexual references seem ok as well. It's only graphic violence or dismemberment on humans that has an problem with squeezing past the MA 15+ rating.

Mostly we get all the same, uncut games as Europe but one or two get barred like Mortal Combat and Left for Dead 2.

Pain in the ass but there you go. They are updating the ratings in the next year or two but whenever this subject gets raised the "vocal minority" start shouting to "think of the children" and the politicians start getting nervous.

Jawknee
Jawknee
10 years ago

I guess they missed the parts when Kratos shoved his thumbs into the eyes of the very human looking Poseidon or tore off the very human looking head of Helios.

Crappy on their part. If they're going to be nanny statists they may as well try and be consistent.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

Thing is, Jawknee, Helios was a God, not a human. A very human-looking God, but a God nonetheless.

This is a hot topic with Aussie gamers, the inconsistency of what passes as MA15+ and what is essentially banned. Left 4 Dead (the first one) was unedited and passed as MA15+. L4D2, however, had almost the exact same content but was banned, until it was heavily edited.

God of War 3 just barely passed as MA15+, while Mortal Kombat was banned, mostly due to the X-Ray bone-breaking moves animations and the fatalities. This inconsistency is the reason why most people wanted an R18+ in games for years now.

Also, a public vote, supported by EB Games, showed around 95% of the 55,000 people who filled out the form, WANTED an R18 rating for games!!!

Good news is that an R18+ has recently been agreed upon by all state Attorney Generals and should hopefully be in by next year or 2013 once the political processes have been achieved.

Akuma_
Akuma_
10 years ago

Dead Space 2 may have featured Zombies as your main enemies, BUT there was human bodies laying around all over the place that you could maim and decapitate.

It was one of my favourite past times in that game.

iwillbetheone
iwillbetheone
10 years ago

Can't they even import these games from eBay or somewhere?

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

OzGameShop or PlayAsia are the two most popular sites for importing. Ebay isn't exactly the most trustworthy.

Many people got a whopping $1500 fine if their copy of Mortal Kombat was caught. PlayAsia and OzGameShop use discreet packaging.

I waited several months for the heat to die down before getting my copy of Mortal Kombat. While it was a hot topic, security at customs were checking every overseas video game or DVD purchase to ensure it wasn't Mortal Kombat.

slugga_status
slugga_status
10 years ago

Feel bad for Australian gamers..They truly get the shaft on too many games.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

Cheers for the symnpathy mate. 🙂

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

Can't say I'm happy about this. I was altogether rather interested in Syndicate. Ah well, **it happens. Maybe they'll rate it when the R rating does go through :/

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

Import the US version?

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

Not if you're getting it on 360. PAL and NTSC region coding doesn't mix. (PS3 is fine though)

We usually import it from either New Zealand or Europe, since they use PAL.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

Eh, I don't bother with imports… I've never been THAT desperately interested in a game. But yeah, Europe is definitely the go if you want to.

Kingharris
Kingharris
10 years ago

If you import it im pretty sure it is illegal and you can be put in prison among other things. Its the same in Germany, they should look at the UK and US, high age ratings, no problems. Simple.

Jawknee
Jawknee
10 years ago

You won't go to prison. You might be fined but prison is extreme.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

$1500 fine if you were caught importing Mortal Kombat.

I know someone whose copy was seized and who got the fine. Many of my friends got their copies alright though.

___________
___________
10 years ago

you know whats really funny?
my collectors edition was opened by customs, i know that because it had a pamphlet from them saying they opened it and checked the contents.
but i never got fined or anything, so i guess they did not get the memo.
dunno if ill import this or not, i want to get it but last time i just got through with the skin of my teeth so i dont think i want to try my luck again.

Gordo
Gordo
10 years ago

Funnily enough, I imported Nier from the UK and it had a 18 rating. (Same game in Aus has a MA 15+)

I tried to trade it in but was refused as it was technically illegal to have the game in Australia.

What the stores usually do is just stick a MA 15+ sticker over the 18 rating on the box!

Aerifale
Aerifale
10 years ago

That is very annoying. Oh well back to Skyrim! I joke of course but this is certainly silly! I feel sorry for me Aussie brothers. Stay strong lads!

firesoul453
firesoul453
10 years ago

That's just stupid. I like how it is in America. The government doesn't rate games and no laws about selling to minors

and it all works out ok. Kids can't go buy a M rated game despite the laws.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

Our government just plain doesn't want these games circulating and winding up in the hands of a minor under 18. Simple as that.

Mostly because of the interactive nature of video games, and the fact many older politicans STILL consider it a kids thing.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
10 years ago

LOL, they allow SaintsRow3 but not this game. People sure can be idiots.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

Saints Row the 3rd is more cartoonish in nature than Syndicate. The violence can be a little extreme, but it isn't bad compared to, say God of War 3 or Gears of War 3.

Sexual References are no problem either, heck, even nudity passes so long as it isn't sexually explicit or violent. Heavy Rain passed unedited, so did LA Noire which had fully naked corpses of women being examined.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
10 years ago

You're really going to attempt to rationalize why SaintsRow3 is an okay game for a child but this game isn't?

Akuma_
Akuma_
10 years ago

I agree that SR3 should have been banned.

I don't want my kids running around killing people with dildos, i dont want them even knowing what one is for a decade or two. Hey its funny, but not appropriate for a 5 year old.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

All this will do is drive demand for this game through the roof in Australia, and hopefully speed up the process of finally getting R18+ ratings for games implemented into the OFLC.

Dangle a carrot in front of a hungry rabbit, then take it away, and you got yourself one angry rabbit. Same with Aussie gamers.

Dangle Mortal Kombat in front of an Aussie gamer, then take it away, and you got yourself one angry Aussie gamer.

I'll wait until I see reviews for Syndicate. If it gets great reviews, I'll wait a few months for the dust to settle and customs to relax a little before importing.

Shame, I'd rather support Aussie store owners by buying the game from them. That's more money our country won't see. It's almost an epidemic here in Australia and it's covered in the news at least once a week. Everyone here is shopping online overseas for cheaper goods, shutting down smaller retailers here in Australia. Big retail chains like Myer, Kmart, Target, EB Games, Sanity, Big W and David Jones are staying afloat, but barely.

Undertaker575
Undertaker575
10 years ago

well i live in Australia AND IM OUTRAGED!!!!!!! the board have not put in a R classification for years now and IM SICK OF IT!!!… if the parents make the decision to allow their minors to play violent games then that is simply the parents problem of the ridiculous myth of causing children's violent behaviour.

I dont see the problem in putting in a R rating classification, I have NO IDEA WHY THEY HAVENT PUT IT IN YET!!!… hopefully it will happen soon, because if a great game such as uncharted was to be banned.. highly unlikely now but there is always a chance… i couldn't live with myself! i probably couldn't discuss the story with my friends and experience a game that could change my life.