Sep 19, 2011

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Skyrim Rated by ESRB

Skyrim Rated by ESRB

The ESRB recently gave Skyrim a rating of M (Mature) and revealed the content descriptors that justify its status. The game’s rating summary goes into more detail, and hints at what fans may expect to see in their Tamriel adventures. Read on for this info, courtesy of the ESRB (bold emphasis added).

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

  • Rating: M (Mature)
  • Content: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol
  • Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Rating Summary:  This is a fantasy role-playing game in which players assume the role of Dovakin(sic), a prophesied figure with the power to combat dragons in the fictional world of Skyrim. As players traverse through mountainous open-world environments, they complete missions and quests that impact the eventual fate of their character. Players use swords, bows and arrows, axes, and magic attacks (e.g., fireballs, ice shards) to kill various enemies (e.g., wolves, dragons, human bandits and soldiers). As players engage in melee-style combat, some sequences are highlighted by slow-motion effects, particularly for decapitations. 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 nonadversary characters, including prisoners chained to a wall; they scream in pain amid splashes of blood or fire. 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?”). Alcohol such as wine, mead, and ale can be purchased and consumed by players’ character throughout the game; and in one sequence, players can engage in a drinking contest with another character, which eventually results in slurred speech (e.g., “One more. No problemsh . . . Thash grape!”).

All told, Skyrim looks to be the most mature entry in the series yet, with language and references rarely heard in previous Elder Scrolls titles. The summary also confirms that the game will feature decapitations akin to Fallout 3. No prior Elder Scrolls game has allowed decapitation of your enemies. Meanwhile, the reference to a drinking contest highlights one way that NPC interaction is being ramped up in Skyrim. Don’t take much from the summary’s mention of all the whores your heart desires. With no “Strong Sexual Content” descriptor, it’s unlikely that this bit refers to nothing more than an in-game advertisement or self-promoting NPC dialogue. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind received a T (Teen) rating in 2002, while The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion initially received the same in 2006 before a PC nudity mod pushed an M (Mature) rating onto all versions of the game.

What do you think of the ESRB’s rating of Skyrim? Will sexual themes and violence contribute to the realism of the game’s world, or are you upset about Bethesda’s push for a more mature sequel? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned to Vivid Gamer for more on Bethesda’s upcoming RPG epic, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which launches on November 11 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

[Source: ESRB]