I spent a year and half of my young adult life working at a GameStop and one of the most ridiculous questions I ever had to answer was a from a concerned mother who was holding the game Halo 2 and was about to buy it for her son. Now anyone who had worked in games retail knew that sometimes we’d have to have these awkward exchanges with parents because we’d have to notify them if a specific game entailed “Mature Content” and the child would look nervous and the parent would have to bite their lip and make a decision. Well one day a young kid came in and snatched Halo 2 off the store shelves and his mother had handed me the game to purchase. Right before I took the box from her she pulled it away and asked “Wait, this game… Does this game have RAPE in it?” I wasn’t trained well enough to internalize these types of outlandish questions yet so I actually laughed when she asked. “Um, no… No it doesn’t” I replied. “Well it’s rated M” she retorted. At this point I had truly come to realize that not all Mature games are made equally. With that I had convinced her that Halo 2 was rape-free and that the worst this her son would have to deal with was some pretty intense online conversation.
Now I feel for the poor games retailer that will have to answer the next outlandish question that will involve Batman: Arkham Knight and whether or not Batman will stop Rape. Sadly the ESRB does not care about you.
Both of Rocksteady’s previous Arkham titles were rated “T for Teen” and the M rating had come as a surprise to Rocksteady Head Sefton Hill in an interview with IGN.
“From our point of view, we never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind. We never did that in the previous two games… We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell. In terms of creating the story, with such strong characters, sometimes they lead you in interesting directions. They lead you because you know who they are and you build the world around that.”
He goes on to state that the game does not include any gratuitous blood or swearing. It seems like this game falls prey to either an overzealous ESRB rater or that the story just leans more mature than previous games.
Thankfully a “M Rating” doesn’t have quite the negative effect on video games as would an “R Rating” for film. But there still will be those who miss out on the experience unfortunately.