The Australian Classification Board has refused classification for EA's Syndicate, citing the game's focus on dismemberment and gunplay as some of the main reasons it exceeds the country's 15+ maximum rating requirements. With no plans to re-submit a friendlier version of the Starbreeze developed reboot, things do not look good for Australian FPS fans.
“In the opinion of the Board, the game contains intense sequences of violence which include detailed depictions of decapitation and dismemberment that are high in playing impact,” wrote the Australian Government's Classifications Board in its summary report, obtained by Kotaku Australia. Further detailing Syndicate's sins, it adds: “The game also contains the ability to inflict repeated and realistic postmortem damage which exceeds strong in playing impact. It is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play.”
The postmortem damage in question relates to a feature in the game that allows players to continue cutting apart enemies after they've been killed. In fact, according to the full report it appears much of the Classification Board's beef with the futuristic FPS is the game's allowance for targeted dismemberment and grisly kills.
While the official ruling states Syndicate has been “denied classification”, this ultimately means it cannot be sold in stores, and is as good as an outright ban. A similar decision was handed down to NetherRealm's Mortal Kombat title earlier this year, and caused Left 4 Dead 2 to be whittled down from its former glory so it could be sold at suitable MA 15+ rating. EA may have to do something similar to get its game past Australia's borders, however Kotaku reports the chances of that happening for Syndicate are slim. Regardless, EA is preparing a response to the report.
Talk of allowing such games into the country under a new 18+ rating has been going on for years, but nothing has yet to become official. In the meantime, Australian Syndicate fans may have to cross their fingers for a 15+ version, or check out our hands-on co-op preview. Hey, at least it's something.