Last month the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) raised eyebrows when it awarded an M rating to Batman: Arkham Knight - the first game in the previously teen-rated series to get one.
Now, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has published its rating summary for Arkham Knight, describing the relevant content of the game as it sees it.
THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD.
The summary describes a scene in which someone is tortured on an operating table (perhaps it's particularly gruesome), and mentions moments when "players can shoot unarmed characters and a hostage". The latter seems a little odd, given you play as Batman, who, famously, isn't in the business of shooting people. Perhaps it's those rubber bullets again. Or maybe you control another character at some point.
There are also a few swearwords in there, including the wonderful "gobsh*te".
Here's the summary in full:
This is an action-adventure game in which players primarily assume the role of Batman as he battles several villains spreading chaos across Gotham City. Players traverse a variety of locations around Gotham while battling thugs, examining crime scenes, and occasionally rescuing hostages. Players engage in melee-style combat using punches, kicks, and gadgets (e.g., batarangs, explosives). Enemies cry out in pain when struck, and some takedowns are highlighted by brief slow-motion effects and loud impact sounds. Some sequences allow players to use tank-like vehicles with machine gun turrets and rockets to shoot enemies; a vehicle's wheels are also used to torture an enemy in one sequence. Cutscenes depict characters getting shot (on and off camera) while restrained or unarmed. Large bloodstains/pools of blood appear in crime scenes and in the aftermath of violent acts; one room depicts a person torturing a character on a bloody operating table. During the course of the game, players can shoot unarmed characters and a hostage. Neon signs in a red-light district read "live nude girls" and "XXX." The words "b*tch," "gobsh*te," and "a*s" appear in the dialogue.
Arkham Knight doesn't sound any more problematic than previous Arkham games, which sat on the borderline between Teen and Mature. But the rating won't come as a surprise to Rocksteady, which had been warned by publisher Warner that a couple of scenes in the game would likely affect its rating. Rocksteady stuck to its guns and refused to change them.
"We never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind," game director Sefton Hill recently told IGN.
"We never did that in the previous two games.
"As the end of the trilogy, we have every villain in Gotham working together to destroy Batman. It's unavoidable that some bad stuff is going to happen. But that doesn't mean we changed our approach. We're not including gratuitous blood or swearing. We want to deliver a true end with no compromises, and it takes us to some dark places."