EA calls Australia's Syndicate ban “regrettable”

Yesterday it was revealed that Starbreeze's Syndicate reboot had been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board, effectively banning it from sale within the country. Today, EA released an official response deriding the decision, and urging swifter policy changes.

“It's regrettable that government policy in Australia is denying adults the right to play Syndicate," said an EA rep in a statement to press, adding, "The game will be not be available in Australia despite its enthusiastic response from fans."

The reaction comes two days after the Classification Board released its report on Syndicate, calling the titled “unsuitable for a minor” due in part to the game's excessive violence, realistic portrayals of dismemberment and decapitation, and a cooperative gameplay mechanic which rewards players for civilian casualties. The report concluded Syndicate's content exceeded Australia's maximum 15+ rating requirements, and therefore had no place on retail shelves.

Earlier this year, the country's Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor led the charge to draft an in-principle agreement to create an R18+ rating at a federal level. While a promising first step, the Classification Branch's Manager of Applications, David Emery, recently clarified it could be years before the mature rating is officially adopted, explaining, “There is legislation that’s been put to Parliament about the changes...What happens next is a long process again — it’s probably going to take another couple of years before you’re actually going to get an R18 that you can apply for, like a conventional classification that you have today.”

EA acknowledged the proposed revision in today's response, adding, "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."

In short, there will be no Syndicate for Australia anytime soon... but maybe a 2014 Special Edition?


  • captiandog - December 22, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    LA noire was made in AU so was: Bioshock, star wars the force unleased, trasfromers: revenge of the fallen, duke nukem advanced, and the way of the exploding fist.
  • captiandog - December 22, 2011 7:39 p.m.

    LA noire was made in australia so was: star wars: force unleased, Biosock, Transfromers:revenge of the fallen,Duke Nukem advenced and The way of the exploding fist
  • farsided - December 21, 2011 1:43 p.m.

  • patbateman17 - December 21, 2011 1:06 p.m.

    This is just encouraging AU gamers to bootleg games, too bad.
  • extremis-colson - December 21, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    That's some ole bullcrap and they know it, why not classify the game AO and have it brought buy adults only... Easy and done. so that way it's a win/win for everyone, why ban the game, kids will just ship it to their houses through the mail and buy it on ebay/amazon/gamestop anyways. and you can't stop the mail over one little game can you?
  • MasterBhater - December 21, 2011 1:09 p.m.

    they don't have an AO rating in Australia... the highest is 15+
  • lazer59882 - December 21, 2011 6:35 p.m.

    lol yeah that guy clearly didnt read the article. the whole problem is if a game is deemed unsuitable for a 15 year old, then no one can play it regardless of age. kinda retarded for them to draw the line at 15, but thats australia for you, i guess. thats why no good games come out of australia...prospective designers are stuck playing kids sh!t
  • reaperman22 - December 22, 2011 7:21 p.m.

    hey thats not fair, L.A Noire came from an Aussie studio (even if it did close shortly afterwards :/ )and it was one of my favourite games of the year, also we dont just get kids stuff most games that are rated for over 18 in other countries just get passed as MA15+ here which is why the christian groups and politicians saying it would give children easy access to 'ultra violent' games makes no sense, it would only make it harder
  • CUFCfan616 - December 21, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    It makes perfect sense to not have an 18+ ratnig over here. It also makes sense that the (Christian) group that is lobbying against it fears that having an 18+ rating will make it EASIER for children to play games, nevermind the fact that many games are toned down slightly (usually just means less blood) to fit in the 15 rating. As a result, games that are 18+ rated everywhere else are 15+ in Australia. Now which of those options makes it easier to buy a game that a child probably shouldn't be playing? Hopefully this gets resolved next year and Australia can join the rest of the world with common sense and we can get price gouged at $110 for a new 18+ game
  • inkyspot - December 21, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    And to thinki I was going to take a job out there. Whew, lucked out.
  • comaqi - December 21, 2011 10:49 a.m.

    I'm glad I live in a free country.
  • Turboash - December 21, 2011 10:16 a.m.

    "...Syndicate's content exceeded Australia's maximum 15+ rating requirements, and therefore had no place on retail shelves." LOL... wut!? Yes, because no one over 15 plays video games.
  • ChaosEternal - December 21, 2011 10:53 a.m.

    You see, in Australia people obviously stop aging at 15. That MUST be the reason there has been no 18+ rating. Certainly nobody could be THAT stupid, to not make a rating above 15. Wait... nevermind. They were. >_> Best of luck to all you people who live in Australia! I hope this whole mess turns out well for you in the end. ;)

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