Australia’s games rating system is a little whack. Currently there is no rating for titles above MA15+ — that is, “mature audiences over the age of 15.” So when EA’s upgraded remake of tactical-turned-first-person shooter Syndicate stepped up to bat with the Australian Government Classification Board, it lost.
The game is set for a February 2012 release everywhere but the land down under. Quote the Board:
The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged 18 years to play. 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 spirt from wounds at regular intervals.
Australia has never released a game beyond the MA15+ rating, leaving titles like Left 4 Dead out in the cold. The government is currently pushing for the introduction of an R18+ rating, which would allow more mature titles to enter the country. This new rating has no proposed criteria as of now, but games that were outright shot down previously may stand a chance of sneaking in under the new rubric. This plan, unfortunately, has been in motion for a year now and there is still no sign of a solution. Ah, well.