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Heavy Rain gets 15 certificate from BBFC

"These are obviously not real people."

The BBFC has passed Heavy Rain for sale in the UK, deeming the mature PS3 exclusive suitable for 15 year-olds.

Quantic Dream's emotional thriller features "strong language, violence and sex", but avoided the 18 rating stamped on games like Grand Theft Auto IV and Modern Warfare 2.

"These are obviously not real people, or real people acting, and it all depends on the level of blood and violence. We use the same classification for games as we do for films, and this game is suitable for a 15 audience," the BBFC told IncGamers.

The 15 rating may come as a surprise to some, particularly as game creator David Cage told Eurogamer that the industry should not be frightened to tackle mature themes in the same way films or books do.

Heavy Rain will be released exclusively on PS3 early this year. No official date has been announced, but the BBFC rating appears to support the late February estimate backed by retailers.