Slow-Mo Decapitations Earn Skyrim an M Rating

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Slow-Mo Decapitations Earn Skyrim an M Rating

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The ESRB thinks intense violence, getting drunk, and references to rape and sex slaves is "mature content." Go figure.

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board has released its advisory verdict on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, awarding it an M for "Mature." As with any ESRB report, game details are mostly vague (unlike in the video demo Bethesda recently released), but its always fun to read people referring to gore, torture, and sexual innuendo so matter-of-factly.

"As players engage in melee-style combat, some sequences are highlighted by slow-motion effects, particularly for decapitations," the official report reads. "Large blood-splatter effects also occur during combat, and some environments are stained with blood or body parts (e.g., heads impaled on spikes). Some sequences allow players to injure/kill non-adversary characters, including prisoners chained to a wall; they scream in pain amid splashes of blood or fire."

It then continues: "As the game progresses, the dialogue and on-screen text contains references to sexual material (e.g., ". . . all the whores your heart, or any other organ, desires," "She . . . raped the men as cruelly as Bal had ravished her," and "Remember when you thought [he] was . . . intent on making you . . . into his personal sex slave?")."

Some of you may remember that the previous Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion, had a bit of a run in with the ratings board some five years ago. While the ESRB had initially rated the game T, some nudie mod skins soon caused it to overturn its initial decision and demand that Bethesda re-label new and existing Oblivion game boxes with an M. While nudity isn't currently listed as a deciding factor for Oblivion or Skyrim, the decision to award the latter a Mature rating from the get-go this time seems to stem primarily from a simple "intense" upgrade in violence.

Here is the short summary for the two games from the ESRB official website for a comparison of what's changed:

Oblivion: Blood and Gore, Violence, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol

Skyrim: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol

It seems like we can expect more of the same, except for fewer naughty words and an extra helping of brain splatter.

The ESRB is bit like the MPAA ratings board in so much as nothing it says is legally enforceable or relevant. That curmudgeonly Target cashier manning aisle nine might still try to card you when buying something rated R or M, but that's a matter of company policy, not a national one. That being said, I'm sure there's some stock in the ESRB's claims that parents often use its ratings when deciding which games are most appropriate for little Timmy (though somehow, every twelve-year-old on the planet still magically has a copy of Grand Theft Auto). For adult gamers, however, early ESRB ratings are generally followed for one reason: A small preview of what we can expect.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim can be inside of your PC, PS3, or Xbox 360 starting 11/11/11, but I'm sure you already knew that.

Source: Eurogamer

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*looks to calendar, drops to knees*

WHYYYYY?!

So its a 15 in England and a M (17) in the US?

Or a 15 AND a M(17) ?
OH GOD WHY DO THEY USE SO MANY RATINGS BOARDS!

as jack black sais in brutal legend "DEEEEECAAAAAPIIIITATIIIIOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!" hehe im gonna absolutely marry this game on 11/11/11!

Rated M? Good. I don't want it to be rated anything else.

Wait......... Oblivion had Language?????????

OT: Sexual Themes and Dismemberment? Sounds great!

Elder Scrolls V gets an M rating...and we wouldn't want it any other way.

imnotparanoid:
So its a 15 in England and a M (17) in the US?

Or a 15 AND a M(17) ?
OH GOD WHY DO THEY USE SO MANY RATINGS BOARDS!

15 over here and an M in the States.

The ESRB may think that slow-motion brutal melee combat finishers deserve an M rating, but I think slow-motion brutal melee combat finishers deserve a slap across the lead designer's balls to remind him how bloody annoying it is to be in the middle of a fierce fight between a horde of skeletons and zombies and have time speeding up and slowing down like an obsessive compulsive man fast-forwarding a video.

MrDeckard:
Wait......... Oblivion had Language?????????

OT: Sexual Themes and Dismemberment? Sounds great!

I assume the language refers to that one Argonian and his talk of powdered deer penis. Which the ESRB doubtless considers inappropriate for children.

Well it's nice to know they're not skimping on the violence...I don't care at all if a game is gory, but if it's up-close first-person melee combat and my sword goes through a dude's neck, yeah, his head should probably come off.

I found it annoying when in the demo it was first-person view then suddenly the screen lurches out to third-person to do the finisher, that was annoying to watch. It's also annoying in oblivion when you're in first-person and you get hit by a fatigue draining spell when your fatigue bar is drain; you just fall down to the floor in the third-person view.

I hope they marry the change in views seemlessly so it doesn't disorientate you/break you out of the immersion. Or, if you play in third-person you execute in third-person and if you're in first, it does it in first person.

I did find it annoying when in Fable 3 where you're killing something and then your character decides. To. Slowly. Destroy. The. Evil. Monster. In. The. Slowest. Yet. Stylish. Way. Possible. Randomly. The lack of control over it was also infuriating. Though, I don't know why as a man jumping onto another man's neck and breaking their head with your thighs is stylish. Sure it is, but it's also very homoerotic. It's something I'd imagine a woman from the Devil may Cry series do. Crotch killing should only be done by ladies.

Yokai:

MrDeckard:
Wait......... Oblivion had Language?????????

OT: Sexual Themes and Dismemberment? Sounds great!

I assume the language refers to that one Argonian and his talk of powdered deer penis. Which the ESRB doubtless considers inappropriate for children.

Or maybe they thought the voice acting was offensive...

I guess that might be an appropriate rating. I think it is kind of rediculous though that oblivion was upgraded to M because of a nude mod. That has absolutely nothing at all to do with the game itself and everything to due with outside factors. In fact you could create a nude mod for almost any game with a third person view. Does that mean that they should all be rated M?

You know this got me thinking that I dont actually know any of the age ratings on the games I own. Its not something I ever paid attention to even when I was a kid. I guess that shows how little I care about them.

UnderCoverGuest:
The ESRB may think that slow-motion brutal melee combat finishers deserve an M rating, but I think slow-motion brutal melee combat finishers deserve a slap across the lead designer's balls to remind him how bloody annoying it is to be in the middle of a fierce fight between a horde of skeletons and zombies and have time speeding up and slowing down like an obsessive compulsive man fast-forwarding a video.

Agreed, we don't need VATS or anything like it in TES. I hope that can be turned off.

Wait a minute, there were sexual themes in Oblivion? You could have fooled me.

Glad Skyrim doesn't try to cloud the issue.

I still have a T rated version of Oblivion for the 360. And I don't even have a 360, so it makes me wonder how it got in my house, I guess my brother borrowed it at some point and forgot to give it back before he moved to Japan. (He moved to Japan.)

First thoughts - good. Last thing we want is the shitty movie industry's weakness of cutting all the action out of movies to creep into a teen-13 rating, for fear of lower audiences.

At least with the average age of gamers being over 30 now, the games industry doesn't have to target 12 year olds, even if the mass media still think all games are for kids.

So we're getting the Deadly Reflex mod from Oblivion into our console versions of Skyrim? HOORAY!

Ser Imp:
Glad Skyrim doesn't try to cloud the issue.

Mah boi I'mma slap you silly for this post.

OT: I don't know why you bothered writing all that, I was sold at "Slow mo decapitations".

WAIT THIS WASN'T A COMMERCIAL?! Holy crap I've been

*puts on sunglasses*

BLIIIINDED BY THE LIIIGHT!

The Great JT:
Elder Scrolls V gets an M rating...and we wouldn't want it any other way.

AMEN!!!!

I want a game that has earned that 18+ (or whatever it is. Though I'm from The Netherlands that means it only gets a 12+ here :P ) It means a game without censorship which I like Very much.

I hope Skyrim take some slow motion decapitation tips from Eddie Riggs, because as far as I know, he is the master.

*ahem*

Yada yada, Decapitations. No more beating someone into cardiac arrest? Sold. Put me down for another pre-order.

If they stick to their guns and dont nerf the game for a lower rating then bethesda will get a lot of respect, even though they might lose some sales.

Well I'm over 17 so, meh to the ruling but YAY to decap!

Hope too many people don't :| 8| Lose their heads!

Abedeus:

Ser Imp:
Glad Skyrim doesn't try to cloud the issue.

Mah boi I'mma slap you silly for this post.

OT: I don't know why you bothered writing all that, I was sold at "Slow mo decapitations".

WAIT THIS WASN'T A COMMERCIAL?! Holy crap I've been

*puts on sunglasses*

BLIIIINDED BY THE LIIIGHT!

More like
BLINDED BY DE-LIGHT

UnderCoverGuest:
snipe

I'm guessing they will treat it the same way they did Fallout, ie. only the final kill will get a slow-mo effect and only if the option is turned on in the settings. no big deal :)

And I'm neither surprised or bothered by this news, because I'm in England where it's a 15 anyway.

haha anyone else old enough to remember the crap that was flying around about soldier of fortune and how it was going to destroy the moral fibre of teenagers worldwide?

imnotparanoid:
So its a 15 in England and a M (17) in the US?

Or a 15 AND a M(17) ?
OH GOD WHY DO THEY USE SO MANY RATINGS BOARDS!

I don't quite understand what you are asking/shouting about here? You are wondering why different nations have different organisations for classifying video game content?

EDIT: Reading the guy below me I guess maybe you are asking about PEGI/BBFC. PEGI is the industry rating system like the American ESRB, it is completely voluntary and no one pays any attention to it whatsoever. BBFC is the statutory regulatory body, they generally rate games at a 15 or 18 if they are particularly violent and their rulings are enforced by law.

imnotparanoid:
So its a 15 in England and a M (17) in the US?

Or a 15 AND a M(17) ?
OH GOD WHY DO THEY USE SO MANY RATINGS BOARDS!

It won't be the same in england. Lowest it will get landed with is a 16 (pretty much pegi's answer to 'mature') but could easily get into the eighteen teritory.

Not that it matters to me. This is going to be one of the first of many games i can legally buy, as i turn eighteen very soon!

Jacob Haggarty:

imnotparanoid:
So its a 15 in England and a M (17) in the US?

Or a 15 AND a M(17) ?
OH GOD WHY DO THEY USE SO MANY RATINGS BOARDS!

It won't be the same in england. Lowest it will get landed with is a 16 (pretty much pegi's answer to 'mature') but could easily get into the eighteen teritory.

Not that it matters to me. This is going to be one of the first of many games i can legally buy, as i turn eighteen very soon!

It's already a 15 according to the BBFC, so whatever. That's what they used for TESIV and FO3.

Ser Imp:
Glad Skyrim doesn't try to cloud the issue.

Norway would they do that, it would be over the top.

EDIT: They simply can't afjord to!

Oblivion had swearing?

scumofsociety:

imnotparanoid:
So its a 15 in England and a M (17) in the US?

Or a 15 AND a M(17) ?
OH GOD WHY DO THEY USE SO MANY RATINGS BOARDS!

I don't quite understand what you are asking/shouting about here? You are wondering why different nations have different organisations for classifying video game content?

EDIT: Reading the guy below me I guess maybe you are asking about PEGI/BBFC. PEGI is the industry rating system like the American ESRB, it is completely voluntary and no one pays any attention to it whatsoever. BBFC is the statutory regulatory body, they generally rate games at a 15 or 18 if they are particularly violent and their rulings are enforced by law.

Well I was wondering which one England has, because soemtimes we go for the BBFC (15) and soemtimes we go for the ESRB, soemtimes both! which makes things confusing as hell for me XD

How is this news?

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