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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Elder Scrolls: Oblivion Goes From Teen To Mature

The ESRB, in a new press release (thanks Jeff), has raised Oblivion's rating to Mature:

NEW YORK – The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has changed the rating assigned to the game The Elder Scrolls® IV: OblivionTM from T (Teen 13+) to M (Mature 17+). The content causing the ESRB to change the rating involves more detailed depictions of blood and gore than were considered in the original rating, as well as the presence of a locked-out art file or “skin” that, if accessed through a third party modification to the PC version of the game, allows the user to play with topless versions of female characters.
-- The ESRB Officially Changes The Rating For THE ELDER SCROLLS IV: OBLIVION From T (TEEN) to M (MATURE) (PDF)

The release goes on to mention mods specifically ... saying "It is increasingly important for parents to realize that PC games can be altered through the use of downloadable programs created by other players called 'mods' (short for modification), which are broadly available on the Internet and can change the content of a game."

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Clamatius said...

Uhhh... apparently they don't realise that it's trivial to mod pretty much any game such that it would be "offensive"?

Trivial example: switch out the animation strip for Pac-Man, et voila! Boobies!

Beyond dumb.

Josh said...

Once again, I think what you do with your game after you've bought it is your responsibility. This is Hot Coffee ... it's just smaller and even more stupid.

They'll continue with this distiction, which makes no difference or sense to the average consumer, that they're just rating the "hidden" content and alerting about the mods that "unlock" it.

At least until some group gets up in arms about some kid's new Genital Gun mod for whatever shooter is popular at the time. Then they'll either have to a) rate content by mods, b) get developers to lock out mods or put in child protection or somewhat, or c) recant.

I doubt they'll do c.

And a and b really sucks.

Truly beyond dumb.

Jason "Botswana" Cox said...

You know, not so much anymore but there was a time when you could see some pretty racy content in a PG-13 movie. I still sort of see that rating as a warning that there may be something in there that might be more than I want to expose my kids to at the time.

So let's just say Oblivion started out with the ability to have nude characters from the get-go, why not? Daggerfall did. If we're just talking some topless females in a digital environment, so what? That's "Teen" in my opinion.

I'm not ready to explain the differences about the female body and the birds and the bees to my 7 year old, but in 7 years? Yeah, he's going to be exposed to something by that point. I know I was several times over.

It seems much ado about nothing.

Plus this just seems insane. Does this mean every PC game needs to be rated mature because someone might be able to unlock a file and change stuff around? From the language we're seeing, Bethesda is talking about limiting modability. Thanks ESRB!