Australia bans Syndicate reboot, EA calls it "arcane censorship"

By on December 20, 2011, 6:56 PM

EA's Syndicate reboot is poised for release in the coming months, but Australians with a lust for digital carnage will have to get their fix elsewhere. The nation's Classification Board has banned the game by refusing to issue an approved rating. Australia's current video game classification system currently peaks at "MA15+," which is roughly equivalent to the ESRB's "Teen" rating and includes content unsuitable for minors under 15.

After a decade on its agenda, the country has finally approved (PDF) an "R18+" classification, permitting more violence, sexual activity, profanity, drug use, and nudity. Unfortunately for EA and Starbreeze, the new guidelines won't be implemented until sometime in 2012 -- a timeframe that conflicts with the launch date of Syndicate. In the meantime, the first-person shooter has been deemed "unsuitable for a minor to see or play."

Set in a dystopian 2069, the game borrows many themes from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, including biomechanical augmentations that provide superhuman abilities. Players control Kilo, a prototype agent of EuroCorp, one of many ruthless "syndicates" who are vying for control of market dominance. As part of that ongoing struggle, players are tasked with many dirty deeds -- namely, slaying countless foes and extracting chip implants from their brains.

"In order to complete the missions, a player has to engage in intense combat with swarms of enemy combatants who are clad in light armor. A variety of weapons [are] available and these often cause decapitation, dismemberment and gibbing during frenetic gunfights," the Australian board explained (PDF). "Combatants take locational damage and can be explicitly dismembered, decapitated, or bisected by the force of gunfire."

The report cites realistic depictions of "copious bloodspray and injuries" as well as the ability to desecrate corpses. "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," the board said, noting that players can also target unarmed civilians throughout the game.

Australia reached a similar conclusion when it reviewed Left 4 Dead 2 in 2009. Fallout 3, Manhunt, Mortal Kombat and many others have also faced opposition, but they are often approved after making changes. It seems EA has no such plans, however, telling Joystiq that it simply won't offer the game in Australia, despite enthusiasm from fans. That could change if the R18+ rating is approved, but EA isn't holding its breath.

"We were encouraged by the government's recent agreement to adopt an 18+ age rating for games. However, delays continue to force an arcane censorship on games -- cuts that would never be imposed on books or movies," the publisher said. "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."




User Comments: 27

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Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Not gonna lie, I had to look up "gibbing". Ya learn something new everyday.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

I had no clue what it meant either haha, so I linked it in the post.

dedparrot said:

HAHAHAHA ironic that EA is also supporting SOPA

Guest said:

great, less EA generated garbage in the world :)

mccartercar said:

@dedparrot why would it be ironic for EA to support a bill that stands to fight online piracy???

Afaik gibs or gibbing is a gaming term used to describe dismemberment of organs or the entrails of an organism. Learned that from carmageddon back in the day

Guest said:

I'm glad the board has taken their position to ban violent games. Especially considering one was used as training material by the Norway shooter.

The comment by EA shows their irresponsibility in the social and mental impact that they are a party to. Video and movies are not interactive and does not allow the 'observer' to practice or act out their fantasy of violence.

Laughing and being amused when a character in the game is blown apart realistically is SICK! and disturbing especially when I see what my son does after watching wrestling.

as for Gib: here it is courtesy of wikipedia

"Gibs, short for giblets,[1] is a humorous term referring to the variably-sized body parts ("guts"), fragments, and offal produced when non-player characters or game players are damaged or killed in computer games. Adrian Carmack has been credited for coining the term "gibs". To "gib" one's opponents (pronounced /ˈd'ɪb/ "jib") is to hit them with such force (often with explosives) that they rupture."

treetops treetops said:

When I was 15 if there was a game with nudity and sex moms across america would have pitch forks and torches in front of the white house.

Guest said:

EA would not have this problem if they stayed true to the original and made it an RTS instead of a generic FPS.

Guest said:

@ Guest complaining games should be censored because they can't parent nor read ESRB ratings.

I'll use this famous quote. "Video games do not influence children, because if so, we'd all be running around in dark rooms eating glowing pills listening to electronic music."

Someone care to name that quote?

Seriously, if you feel that a game is too "gory" or too "SICK" then don't buy them. If you're buying a game for your child, pay attention to the ESRB ratings. They're there for a reason. typ

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Seriously, if you feel that a game is too "gory" or too "SICK" then don't buy them. If you're buying a game for your child, pay attention to the ESRB ratings. They're there for a reason. typ

I'm glad you think that is all that is needed to keep kids from experiencing the game. Have you ever heard of friends with parents that allow things you normally wouldn't? Don't tell me parents wouldn't lie about their liberties because they don't understand the other parents regulations. The only way your quote could be effective is to confine the child from engaging in social activities. Solving the problem within one household is not an effective solution.

Guest said:

@ Guest complaining games should be censored because they can't parent nor read ESRB ratings.

I would love to see the evidence that Anders Behring Breivik ( I assume this is how you're talking about) used games to train, given that clicking a mouse button to make some data fire some data at some more data (ie. shooting at people in games) is really quite different to having to aim and fire a real gun at real people

Guest said:

And people want to know why people pirate games... People in Australia have no choice if they want the full game content, do to an archaic censorship policy and a bunch of politicians who refuse to listen to the people they allegedly represent and follow their own agendas

waterproof said:

People in Australia are smart, if the nanny state government bans a game, they find alternatives to get their hands on. I.E Steam, get a US friend to send it as a gift to you, as I heard in Steam for Aussie accounts, searching the game brings up no results! Also they could use imports too.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

ranger12 said:

Not gonna lie, I had to look up "gibbing". Ya learn something new everyday.

LOL, yeah, that one disappeared from popular vocabulary, but I remember it being used a lot more in the mid 90s.

Guest said:

Australian who want this game will do one of the following:

1. Pirate the game: everyone loses

2. Buy the game online: local business loses

3. VPN to another country and buy the game: local business loses and isp's pay the bandwidth costs for international bandwidth

Whichever way you look at it - the ACMA banning a game generates local interest whilst instantly disadvantaging local business.

Despite the fact that the ACMA is powerless to stop software from spreading to Australian shores, good on them for giving it their best meaningless shot.

Guest said:

So people should stop doing things that you dont agree on, because your child could see it ?

And you believe what a crazy person says ???

You could simply teach him the difference from reality and fiction

Guest said:

Ban this! Ban that! Why are everyone trying to ban everything? No, ban that game, it takes my children's innocence! Well listen up: Kids need to see reality anyway and a lot more nasty things happen in reality. If you cage your kids in, then you are doing more damage than a game ever could. Why do we have to put up with the Ban Culture just because they can't imagine their little, sweet, Coddled kids brutalizing a computer graphic.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Ban this! Ban that! Why are everyone trying to ban everything? No, ban that game, it takes my children's innocence! Well listen up: Kids need to see reality anyway and a lot more nasty things happen in reality. If you cage your kids in, then you are doing more damage than a game ever could. Why do we have to put up with the Ban Culture just because they can't imagine their little, sweet, Coddled kids brutalizing a computer graphic.

So blowing up people's body parts is considered reality now?

I for one think that Australia are doing the right thing, it's probably arcane censorship but then I don't really see the fun in games which depict extreme gore and violence.

DanUK DanUK said:

Matthew said:

I had no clue what it meant either haha, so I linked it in the post.

Clearly you guys didn't play the original Unreal Tournament! So many hours spent on instagib!

But more to the point.. quite surprised Australia still have these laws in place.. i'd be fuming!

dedparrot said:

mccartercar said:

@dedparrot why would it be ironic for EA to support a bill that stands to fight online piracy???

Afaik gibs or gibbing is a gaming term used to describe dismemberment of organs or the entrails of an organism. Learned that from carmageddon back in the day

The bill does not just fight online piracy, in the same way the PATRIOT act does not just fight terrorism.

SOPA enables whole websites to be taken down for hosting copyrighted content.

Here, watch this: [link]

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The term "gibs" was first used in reference to Quake deathmatch I believe, usually involving a rocket launcher. examples:-. I got gibbed. You gibbed me. The **** with rocket launcher just smeared my gibs all over the wall.

That kind of thing. Can't believe you had to look it up! (refering to Matthew)

Tomorrow_Rains said:

So they can pirate the game, and if caught they cant be punished due to the game not existing in their territory. Interesting, i never considered that to be valid but its entirely true.

If a game does not exist and is banned from our country and we pirate it, technically we are not breaking any copyright infringement rules since those only apply country wide.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Ban this! Ban that! Why are everyone trying to ban everything? No, ban that game, it takes my children's innocence! Well listen up: Kids need to see reality anyway and a lot more nasty things happen in reality. If you cage your kids in, then you are doing more damage than a game ever could. Why do we have to put up with the Ban Culture just because they can't imagine their little, sweet, Coddled kids brutalizing a computer graphic.
Is that not the point to this censorship, as long as it is allowed at any level the worlds nasty problems will never go away. If you keep a thought alive it will remain alive.

Personally I will question anyones morality that thinks this censorship is a bad thing.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

I'm glad the board has taken their position to ban violent games. Especially considering one was used as training material by the Norway shooter.

And the guys who shot up Columbine liked to play Doom a lot.

But you know what - no definitive link has been made between violent video games and violent behavior. If fact several studies I have read point to the exact opposite, with aggression being take out inside the video game instead of in reality.

If video games made people killers I would be in jail, and so would most of my friends.

Lets see I was bullied through school - yep.

Played violent video games since I was 10 to 12ish (including lots of Doom) - yep.

Antisocial - yep

Lots of heavy metal - yep.

Access to firearms - yah owned my own .30-06 since I was 5. I live in Montana - EVERYONE is armed :P.

Did I shoot up a school or any of my friends (best friend had looser rules than I did and access to more firearms).

NOPE. Difference - PARENTING!!!!

Games don't need to banned or blamed for violence - they are just being used as a scapegoat.

Parents need to do some really damn parenting.

Now I'm not saying a 5yr old should be playing GTA or Left 4 Dead. That's part of the parents responsibly to decide what is appropriated for their children. But you also have the possibility that said kid will be exposed to things the parents don't want them to be exposed to at friends houses or just in the general public. (I know I was) That's where teaching a kid proper morals and responsibility comes in. Not just plopping them in front of the TV because your are tried from a long day at work.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I feel a little bad for you Aussies that live in a little Utopian bubble where nothing bad ever happens, and it never rains. Then again, you guys chose to live under the big thumb of free speech suppressing government.

+1 million TorturedChaos

inventix1136 said:

dedparrot said:

mccartercar said:

@dedparrot why would it be ironic for EA to support a bill that stands to fight online piracy???

Afaik gibs or gibbing is a gaming term used to describe dismemberment of organs or the entrails of an organism. Learned that from carmageddon back in the day

The bill does not just fight online piracy, in the same way the PATRIOT act does not just fight terrorism.

SOPA enables whole websites to be taken down for hosting copyrighted content.

Here, watch this: [link]

Not just hosting. Imagine that your company has a product review forum where the users can put comments and rate their products that they bought. A SINGLE user posting a LINK to piratebay is sufficient to yank your ENTIRE website with no warning or recourse.

DanUK DanUK said:

TorturedChaos said:

Guest said:

I'm glad the board has taken their position to ban violent games. Especially considering one was used as training material by the Norway shooter.

And the guys who shot up Columbine liked to play Doom a lot.

But you know what - no definitive link has been made between violent video games and violent behavior. If fact several studies I have read point to the exact opposite, with aggression being take out inside the video game instead of in reality.

If video games made people killers I would be in jail, and so would most of my friends.

Lets see I was bullied through school - yep.

Played violent video games since I was 10 to 12ish (including lots of Doom) - yep.

Antisocial - yep

Lots of heavy metal - yep.

Access to firearms - yah owned my own .30-06 since I was 5. I live in Montana - EVERYONE is armed :P.

Did I shoot up a school or any of my friends (best friend had looser rules than I did and access to more firearms).

NOPE. Difference - PARENTING!!!!

Games don't need to banned or blamed for violence - they are just being used as a scapegoat.

Parents need to do some really damn parenting.

Now I'm not saying a 5yr old should be playing GTA or Left 4 Dead. That's part of the parents responsibly to decide what is appropriated for their children. But you also have the possibility that said kid will be exposed to things the parents don't want them to be exposed to at friends houses or just in the general public. (I know I was) That's where teaching a kid proper morals and responsibility comes in. Not just plopping them in front of the TV because your are tried from a long day at work.

Big +1 here. Blanket banning is just crazy... depriving so many older people of entertainment. Completely agree about the whole parenting thing. Parents complaining about violent videogames need to take more control of their kids (i.e. do their job as a parent).. don't try and get the government to do it for you.

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