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Game News Oblivion Matures

Saint_Proverbius

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Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

<a href="http://www.elderscrolls.com">Oblivion</a> has now gotten itself a Mature Rating:
<br>
<blockquote>Bethesda Softworks made what it believes was a full, accurate, and comprehensive submission on Oblivion to the ESRB months before the game’s release. Bethesda used the ESRB’s application forms and believes it adhered closely to their requirements. Nothing was hidden from the ratings agency. No effort was made by Bethesda to lobby or influence the agency for any particular rating.
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<br>
The ESRB has concluded that the game deserves a rating of Mature because: <u>1) partial nudity in the PC version of the game can be created by modders</u>; and 2) the game contains excessive blood and gore that go beyond a Teen rating. The facts are as follows:
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<br>
There is no nudity in Oblivion without a third party modification. In the PC version of the game only – this doesn’t apply to the Xbox 360 version – some modders have used a third party tool to hack into and modify an art archive file to make it possible to create a mesh for a partially nude (topless) female that they add into the game. Bethesda didn’t create a game with nudity and does not intend that nudity appear in Oblivion. There is no nude female character in a section of the game that can be “unlocked.” Bethesda can not control tampering with Oblivion by third parties. Bethesda is taking steps to ensure that modders can not continue to hack into Oblivion’s art archives to create partially nude figures.
<br>
<br>
With regard to violence, Bethesda advised the ESRB during the ratings process that violence and blood effects were “frequent” in the game – checking the box on the form that is the maximum warning. We further advised that the game contained occasional torture, vulgar acts, and gore. We gave accurate answers and descriptions about the type and frequency of violence that appears in the game. We submitted a 60-page document listing the explicit language, acts, and scenes in the game. Oblivion packaging already contains warnings for “Violence” and “Blood and Gore.”
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<br>
We value the role of the ESRB and believe the rating agency plays a valuable role in regulating our industry. As always, we will continue work in good faith to comply fully with the ESRB’s standards and policies.</blockquote>
<br>
I agree with <a href="http://www.bethsoft.com">Bethsda</a> on this one. Changing the rating because the end user can modify in nudity or any other somewhat objectionable material should not affect the rating in the least. If that's the new standard for what is or isn't a Mature Rating game, then nearly all 3D games that come out are technically Mature and the <a href="http://www.esrb.org">ESRB</a> is now a completely pointless entity.
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<br>
Spotted at: <A HREF="http://www.bluesnews.com">Blue's News</A>
 

Zomg

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The nude mesh/texture is shipped on the disk. That's the standard the ESRB applies. It's a reasonable standard as it prevents companies from circumventing the ratings process by shipping fully formed higher rating content that is trivially "unlockable" by consumers, a la Hot Coffee. If they didn't have a hard and fast, "It's on the disk, it's in the rating" rule they'd have to judge every such case by some kind of overtly unfair subjective analysis. If you stipulate to a body like the ESRB being reasonable in the first place (which it probably isn't) then you have to allow these kind of standards.
 

HardCode

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I bet that Bethesda just forgot to put at the bottom of the ESRB application

Trust us!
 

Drakron

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Do I have to bring up PEGI 16 rating again?

Why does PEGI rates the game with its 2nd highest age rating as ESRB rates it with its 4th highest rating?

Are the submitions diferent? did PEGI reviewers actually played the game beyond the prison level? does ESRB even plays the game before issue a rating?
 

Greatatlantic

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Drakron said:
Do I have to bring up PEGI 16 rating again?

Why does PEGI rates the game with its 2nd highest age rating as ESRB rates it with its 4th highest rating?

Are the submitions diferent? did PEGI reviewers actually played the game beyond the prison level? does ESRB even plays the game before issue a rating?

4th highest? I thought T was the third highest, only out done by M(ature) and A(dults)O(nly). I'm only vaguely familiar with PEGI's rating system, though. But I do know enough about ESRB to know what the ratings really mean. E means children's software. T means it contains bloodless violence and an occassional swear word of the non-f variety. M means a lot of gruesome violence and/or four letters words beginning with f. Finally, AO means pornography, plain and simple.

This is why I like review sites like Gamerdad which talk specifically about whether a game is appropriate for children and why. Much better than ESRB, though obviously you can't fit such a review on a box. Speaking of which here's his review where he claims the game should have been rated M. http://www.gamerdad.com/detail.cfm?itemID=3169 .
 

Drakron

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PEGI ratings are easy .. you see the number, its the recomended age.

The highest PEGI rating is 18, PEGI is similar to ESRB in the sense its industry self regulation but some european countries goverment (portugal and the UK) do issue ratings for games, in the UK case the rating is 15 that I think its the 2nd highest one as in portugal the rating is M 16 and PEGI complies with those ratings.
 

Jabbapop

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Greatatlantic said:
This is why I like review sites like Gamerdad which talk specifically about whether a game is appropriate for children and why. Much better than ESRB, though obviously you can't fit such a review on a box. Speaking of which here's his review where he claims the game should have been rated M. http://www.gamerdad.com/detail.cfm?itemID=3169 .

GamerDad said:
One easily found and accepted one has you tracking down someone providing high quality goods for low prices to a local vendor. He's "digging them up". Nothing especially graphic appears onscreen, but the dialogue and situation are just not Teen friendly.

ORLY?
 

Rhombus

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HardCode said:
I bet that Bethesda just forgot to put at the bottom of the ESRB application

Trust us!

Maybe ESRB are smarter than all the fanbois, since they didn't fall for the "Trust us!" line, as they all seem to have done with "It's the best RPG ever, trust us!", and realised they got payed less than the gaming-news media... Now they want a little more cash slipped under the table... or something.
 

sk2k

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Hehe, the rating for Oblivion in Germany is USK 12.

MfG
sk2k
 

bryce777

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I don't know. Grave robbing is not teen safe? I don't agree with that.

These ratings are all pretty ridiculous. If there is no cumshot or grphic penetration, anyone over 12 should be able to watch anything.
 

Rhombus

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They weren't nude unless you had the nude-mod...

I mean, I think.. I didn't try it no no.. no..

Anyways, I still want the screens of these mature polygons!
 

Data4

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The Graverobbing wasn't that big a deal to me, but the ending of the Dark Brotherhood questline makes me wonder why the game didn't get an M rating, hidden titties be damned.

Just in case, on the off-chance that someone's playing it..
SPOILERS AHEAD







You make your way to the basement of the lighthouse in Anvil and find corpses of dead animals and one whole person with flies buzzing around, bloody human body parts, a coffin with a bloody torso inside, along with other dismembered parts laying in pools of blood, and a platter with the head of the DB traitor's mother on it. He keeps a journal where he talks to "Mother" a la Norman Bates in Psycho. If this passes for Teen, but some hidden saggy tits changes the rating, some priorities are clearly fucked up. Just to clarify, I'm not bitching in the least about the DB ending-- I thought it was pretty cool--but it seems more eyebrow-raising than the reasons given for changing the rating, unless Bethesda forgot to show the board that part.













SPOILER ABOVE.

-D4
 

LlamaGod

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You make your way to the basement of the lighthouse in Anvil and find corpses of dead animals and one whole person with flies buzzing around, bloody human body parts, a coffin with a bloody torso inside, along with other dismembered parts laying in pools of blood, and a platter with the head of the DB traitor's mother on it. He keeps a journal where he talks to "Mother" a la Norman Bates in Psycho. If this passes for Teen, but some hidden saggy tits changes the rating, some priorities are clearly fucked up. Just to clarify, I'm not bitching in the least about the DB ending-- I thought it was pretty cool--but it seems more eyebrow-raising than the reasons given for changing the rating, unless Bethesda forgot to show the board that part.

interesting
 

RiK

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Bethesda made that up so you all would feel sorry for them....
 

dongle

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I don't agree with the type of censorship the ESRB is doing. As an organization I dislike them. I'll agree with the view that violence is far too accepted in American media, and titties are far too shunned. I think the prevailing attitude in Europe is far healthier for children.

But, let me defend the ESRB for a second.

Their standards may be all fucked up, but they didn't make them up. Those are the prevailing standards in American media, which the ESRB are carrying over to games. The standards may be stupid, but we can't really blame the ESRB for them.

Saint_Proverbius said:
Changing the rating because the end user can modify in nudity or any other somewhat objectionable material should not affect the rating in the least.

The topless textures and meshes shipped on the Oblivion disc. No modder created, hacked, or modified them. You simply need to copy one file to a folder, and rename it. I'd say the ESRB are correct in using that to establish a rating. Otherwise, where do they draw the line? What if some content is extremely well hidden in an in-game secret area? What if there is a simple console code to unlock content? It's not at all clear what should be considered as a game's stock features these days.

I do agree that if a modder creates -new- art that should not be considered in a rating. (Note that Bethesda did not release a 3D model exporter. A modder could not have created a topless mesh, even if they wanted to.)

What really sounds ominous is this:

Bethesda Press Release said:
Bethesda is taking steps to ensure that modders can not continue to hack into Oblivion’s art archives to create partially nude figures.
I guess I was still holding out a faint hope that I could try my hand making Oblivion models one day. It would appear they are going to backpedal on support for mods now. Anyone have any details on what steps they are taking to prevent modders from making mods?
 

kingcomrade

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I don't agree with the type of censorship the ESRB is doing.
Whoa, whoa, this isn't censorship, buddy, they're just revising their rating. Look, with the gore I don't know why Oblivion wasn't rated M in the first place that was an ESRB screwup, but it isn't the standards that are stupid. If something has nudity or gore it should be rated M, because that strikes me as content for mature audiences (not necessarily mature, though. Like I said before, frivolous nudity skins in a video game strike me as particularly immature, especially when we know that the "BOOBIES!" squad at Bethesda are at the helm).
 

Halenthal

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Wonder when all video games that feature any lifelike people will get an M rating simply because the game includes the color that a person's skin might be, and therefore could be used to create a nudie patch or skin, and that would obviously be the developer's fault for including that color in the game? A texture with flesh color is on the disc! Oh no! Someone might find a way to make a mod of a nude person from that texture! That's M rated, for sure! Even if it can't be modded on the XBox, make it M rated too, because it's the same game!

Regardless, a whole lot of stupidity going on with this Obvliion thing. Stupid of Bethesda to include skins that are THAT realistic looking-come on, nipples won't make a difference in a video game's graphics, leave'em off the skin and no worries about crap like this. The ESRB is stupid, has been stupid and will probably continue to be stupid, but they're especially stupid to have ever given Oblivion a Teen rating in the first place, and doubly stupid to try to blame a nudity mod as the reason for changing the rating now.

Bethesda should've left the nipples out, and the ESRB should've said 'Oops, damn, we didn't realize how much blood, gore, decapitations, murders, thievery, burning bodies, hanging bodies, mutilations, assassinations, spraying blood, and wanton killing that occurs in the game, so we need to make a slight change to our rating.' Of course, they should also say 'Maybe in the future we'll even play a bit of a game before we rate it, rather than simply believe the developer when they say what the rating should be.'

Nothing but a really stupid situation, all around.


Also, to an earlier poster saying that Bethesda shipped the textures on the disc, no modder or hacker created them-true. But to think it's somehow Bethesda's fault or that the rating should change because a person copies a file from one place to another, therefore modding the game, is faulty reasoning. Play the game out of the box, no nudity, start fucking with files and file locations, get nudity and it's your own damn fault, not the devs.


I think I'm gonna make a picture of several really hot naked women doing all sorts of nasty things, and use it as my wallpaper in Windows. And I'll use art that's already included with Windows when it ships. Therefore, Windows should have an M rating and not be used by anyone under 18. (and to you Linux fans, I know, I know, Windows shouldn't be used by anybody, and I agree, but nothing else runs my games so well)
 

dongle

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kingcomrade said:
I don't agree with the type of censorship the ESRB is doing.
Whoa, whoa, this isn't censorship, buddy, they're just revising their rating.
That was a general statement, not a reference to this instance. A disclaimer before I defended one aspect of them. I specifically meant the type of quasi-official industry self-policing organization that the government requires, yet refuses to/can't put into law. That type of organization I hate.

And effectively, what they do -is- censorship. (not Oblivion specifically, in general) They have a big black AO sticker waiting to slap on any game that doesn't conform to their standards. No store outside an adult video store will stock a game with that sticker. The upshot being any content on their "no-no" list gets left out of all new games.
 

dongle

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Halenthal said:
Also, to an earlier poster saying that Bethesda shipped the textures on the disc, no modder or hacker created them-true. But to think it's somehow Bethesda's fault or that the rating should change because a person copies a file from one place to another, therefore modding the game, is faulty reasoning. Play the game out of the box, no nudity, start fucking with files and file locations, get nudity and it's your own damn fault, not the devs.
What if some super-sekret area that can only be accessed by a level 99 PC on a full moon is full of nude dancers? Is that regular game content, even when 99.9% of the players will never uncover it? Do you expect them to play for hundreds of hours and uncover every single easter egg in a game before giving a rating?

What if there is an un-documented cheat code, one of those console up, up, down, down, a, b, etc things? Hit the right sequence and bam, all the chicks are nude. Is that regular game content?

I would say both those examples -should- count towards a rating. But, what if it's easier and more widely known that all you need to do is re-name one file to get boobies? Where exactly the line gets drawn is the problem. Difficulty? General knowledge? Present in the first ten minutes of gameplay? Thing is; It can't be an ambiguous opinion, it needs to be a cut and dry standard.

Easiest, most logical, and fairest solution is; If the content is on the game disc, it's counted towards the rating.
 

dongle

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Do you ever read more that the first sentence of a post before replying KC?
 

Zomg

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If you acknowledge that smuggling, for example, a complete piece of AO content on the shipped disk, unlockable by effort equivalent to this Oblivion thing, is unacceptable given that a game has been given a less restrictive rating, then you have to argue for a method for the ESRB to stop that. If you want them to be context sensitive and make nuanced judgements about that kind of thing, frankly you're asking too much of a ratings board, which are historically incapable of nuance or discretion. The "on the disk" standard is fair, transparent, and objective.
 

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