The Elder Scrolls IV Matures Quickly

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The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) changed its rating of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion from "T" (Teen) to "M" (Mature) today.
The reasons given for the rating change were that there were "more detailed depictions of blood and gore than were considered in the original rating of the game" and that the ESRB learned of a "locked-out art file that, if accessed by using an apparently unauthorized third party tool, allows the user to play the game with topless versions of female characters." This art file is present in the PC version of the game, but not the Xbox 360 version.

Bethesda Softworks is alerting retailers and issuing stickers with the "M" rating that can be attached to unsold inventory, as well as working on a software patch to prevent access to the topless female art content. Both versions of the game will now carry the "M" rating, but only the PC version will carry the "Nudity" descriptor.

The ESRB argues that Bethesda Softworks, the game's developer, did not submit representative material upon which the rating could be based. Bethesda Softworks responded that it appropriately disclosed the content of Oblivion, including a "60-page document listing the explicit language, acts, and scenes in the game." Bethesda Softworks also pointed out that viewing nudity requires third party modification, and that nudity was not intended to appear in Oblivion. Bethesda Softworks neither plans to contest the ESRB's decision nor will it change the game's content, but does believe that the game is "not typical of Mature rated titles."

The Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA) jumped on the official statement bandwagon when president Hal Halpin pointed out how quickly retailers responded to the rating change.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on May 3, 2006 6:41 PM.

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