Examining Peace Walker’s “T” Rating

By Ishaan . June 8, 2010 . 7:50am

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Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is out this week in North America. As director Hideo Kojima revealed in April, the game received a “Teen” rating from the ESRB, as opposed to the “E for Everyone” rating he would have preferred. At the time, Kojima stated that, while the bloodshed in the game had been toned down to suit the PSP audience, the plot still revolved around serious anti-war themes and preserved the world of Metal Gear.

 

Peace Walker’s “T” rating is in contrast to nearly every other Metal Gear Solid “M.” We decided to take a look at what the ESRB thought of the game:

 

This is a stealth-based action game in which players assume the role of Snake, an elite soldier investigating a military presence in the jungles of Costa Rica. Players engage in various missions by sneaking past guards, incapacitating enemy soldiers with a tranquilizer gun, and performing hand-to-hand takedowns in close-quarter combat. Players can also use machine guns, pistols, and rockets to kill enemy soldiers and destroy vehicles and robots. When enemies are shot, a brief red particle effect is displayed. Black-and-white comic book-style cutscenes sometimes depict instances of torture: The central character is repeatedly shocked by electric rods; the silhouette of a tortured soldier depicts red blood dripping from his nose and mouth. Players can also engage in extra missions (“extra ops”) that involve dating either a male or female character: Players can take pictures of their female dates in bikinis, touch a character’s breasts, or lie on top of him or her on the beach. If players enter a cardboard box (“Love Pack”), a rustling motion and moaning sounds occur. During the course of the game, characters reference drugs in dialogue (e.g., “drug refining plant,” “drug money,” and “narcotics plant”); words such as “bullsh*t” and “b*tch” can also be heard.

 

Additionally, the North American version of the game also contains a certain scene that was removed from the Japanese build, in order to avoid a CERO “D” rating. Unfortunately, there are no rating summaries available for previous Metal Gear games to compare Peace Walker to. However, we did compile quick chart comparing the content descriptors of Subsistence, Guns of the Patriots and Peace Walker.

 

Snake Eater / Subsistence Guns of the Patriots Peace Walker
Blood & Gore Blood Blood
Intense Violence Violence Violence
Sexual Themes Suggestive Themes Suggestive Themes
— – — Strong Language — – —
Language — – — Language
— – — Crude Humor — – —
— – — — – — Drug Reference
— – — — – — Use of Tobacco
Rating: Mature Rating: Mature Rating: Teen

 

You know, maybe the ESRB should consider doing video ratings, even though it would take more time and effort. After all, how do you explain something like this via a content descriptor?


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  • RAVENKam

    ‘…the North American version of the game also contains a certain scene that was removed from the Japanese build’. I was initially guessing more tits but considering it was censored in JPN it was probably related to violence.

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    “that involve dating either a male or female character: Players can take pictures of their female dates in bikinis, touch a character’s breasts, or lie on top of him or her on the beach. If players enter a cardboard box (“Love Pack”), a rustling motion and moaning sounds occur.”

    Wtf?! something like this in metal gear? O_O, i didnt knew until now, and they were expecting an E xD? But the story IS pretty epic, and anti-war, i love metal gear

    • Hraesvelgr

      You really shouldn’t be surprised by anything coming from Metal Gear these days. I never had a very high opinion of the series or Kojima, but this game is certainly not helping any.

  • http://www.siliconera.com Melinda

    Ishaan, if you’re curious, the Australian Classification board descriptor for that one would be “Sexual references.” Innuendo, to be precise.They probably could considering that the publisher most likely gave them a montage of video, but then you’d have the problem of classifying the video, depending if the country in question requires video to be classified…

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      That was more of a rhetorical question, actually. I mean, sure, you can always assign a label to something, but that scene itself is pretty indescribable, you know? :P

      • BrotherCavil

        Hmm, nah, not really. :P I think I can describe that scene fairly easily…

        …Hrrm. “Kojimaism.” It’s a Kojimaism.

      • http://www.siliconera.com Melinda

        Nah, everything’s describable – I do have an oddly unusual background, but I think Spencer would vouch for that one. It’s actually part of my specialization to try and describe the indescribable.

        Just ask him who he’s been speaking to in the last couple of days…

        I’m waiting for Ar Tonelico 3 to show up in English. Now THAT is a challenge… I’ve actually played through that game, and some of the scenes there defy, well, anything I’ve had to describe as of late…

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          Would it make you all conscious if I said we had a meeting about you the other night? I was just about to read your Deathsmiles piece, too, actually. :)But going back to your point, I think some things are better left undescribed. I mean, trying to describe that Snake Eater scene would kind of take away from the beauty of it. Think of all the effort Kojima must have gone to while dreaming it up! (Okay, he probably just thought it up while taking a dump or something, but you know what I mean…)

          • http://www.siliconera.com Melinda

            Well, I’m willing to wait either way. We’ll see what happens, can’t spoil things…

            For most part, I find it more fun that we have to at least attempt to. If for no other reason, so that we don’t get sued when someone complains they weren’t warned.

            It’s nice and magical to not do it, but sometimes explaining the impossible is fun. Besides, I’ve discovered the sources of some of the strangest things, and for some reason I found it more fun deconstructing it – just so I can replicate it later.

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