Rating games is a tricky business - and sometimes, a rating might not reflect the actual game itself. Just ask Bionic Commando, whose "Mature" rating can be blamed on Resident Evil 5.
Now, the upcoming Bionic Commando isn't the most kid-friendly game in the world. There's some swearing - but it's apparently rather mild - and yes, you can throw cars at people and get headshots. But, as noted by MTV Multiplayer, the majority of M-rated games tend to be way, way worse. Why not do the tiniest bit of pruning down and shoot for a "Teen" rating?
As it turns out, because of Resident Evil 5. Capcom's Director of Communications, Chris Kramer, told MTV Multiplayer that Commando - previously scheduled to ship before RE5 instead of two months afterward - was originally slated to come packaged with the demo for the zombie-killing slaughterfest. Which, by the way, is definitely an M-rated game.
After the plans changed, the rating had already been set, and the Bionic Commando team had adjusted the game's content upward in order to compensate. Whoops! Even so, it's still hardly on the same level as, say, a God of War, Manhunt, or House of the Dead: Overkill. Heck, it isn't even an Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad.
Has the ESRB's "Mature" rating become too broad? Should a softer title like Bionic Commando share the same rating as a maim-a-thon gorefest such as Gears of War? What about a game like Mass Effect, with some minor sexual content but comparatively little violence or language?
And if not, what should developers - and the ESRB - do about it?
Bionic Commando is scheduled for release at the end of May - check it out on The Escapist Show!