Bethesda’s Pete Hines Frustrated By Censorship Rules

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Bethesda Softworks still refuses to discuss details about the changes made to the Australian edition of Fallout 3, but Product Manager Pete Hines says dealing with varying censorship laws in a large-scale international game release is “frustrating.”

In an interview with CVG, Hines said the wide-ranging standards of acceptable content in major markets presents a real challenge for game publishers. “The frustrating thing for us is that the standards and rules can be so varied across territories, that we work with five or six ratings agencies and each one has different ‘hot buttons’,” he said. “In one place nudity is a big deal but violence is fine, and in another place drugs are a problem but nudity is fine.”

“I guess that’s the way of the world – not every country is the same,” he added. “You’re not aiming at one target, you’re aiming at six different ones worrying about how each one will feel about different things.”

But Hines claimed that while adjustments to games had to be made to accommodate individual markets, like dialing down the drug use in Fallout 3 for the Australian release of the game, the impact of censors on overall game design is minimal. “We just go through and make the game that we want to make,” he said. “We have our eyes wide open, mindful of the things that could be flagged up and how we’re going to resolve them if that becomes a problem.”

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