Square Enix’s First CERO Z Game Is…

By Spencer . September 13, 2010 . 2:38am

imageThe somewhat dreaded CERO Z rating is more common this generation, but CERO Z titles are still heavily restricted in Japan, a kin to ESRB AO (short for adult’s only) games in North America.


Square Enix hasn’t released a CERO Z game to date, but that’s going to change with Call of Duty: Black Ops. Even though it’s censored for Japan, it will be Square Enix’s first CERO Z title.


Gruesome scenes with limbs blown apart won’t be in the Japanese version because there is a ban on presenting that level of gore. The Japanese version of Call of Duty: Black Ops will use the same servers as North America. Other shooters like Singularity and Gears of War 2 have Japan-specific servers.

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  • so i cant beat then in some CoD tht just awesome

  • Wow I didnt realize we in America were so desensitized to such things that the game just had an M rating. The game wont sell that much in Japan Im guessing. (Are FPS even that big over there)/

    • Over here bouncing anime boobs or penischariots = M rating, but over there Ikkitousen Shining Dragon gets CERO C (15+) and Persona 3/4 gets CERO B (12+).

      Different cultures, different taboos.

      • gatotsu911

        I thought the Persona games (and the rest of the SMT series) routinely got C ratings? Aside from the penischariots, they do have a fair amount of gruesome imagery, and of course teenagers shooting themselves in the head, which I’d think would be kind of a sensitive subject in Japan (though maybe not, since guns are so tightly controlled there).

        • Haha, you made me go look up a number of the other SMT games because I was curious. Persona PSP, P3 and P4 were all CERO B. Strange Journey was a C though. DDS1 & 2 would have been C too. (Those came out before the most recent revision of the CERO ratings, which added the letters and split out 18+ into D—17+ and Z—18+)

          Though the real funny thing to me is that Nocturne was rated “all ages”. Talk about a big difference from the ESRB…

          • gatotsu911

            Honestly, the Japanese ratings board seems a lot more unfathomable and inconsistent than the ESRB. Violent games will sometimes get mild ratings and other times harsh ones, seemingly depending on what mood they’re in.

          • mikedo2007

            Yeah I never understood how CERO rate the game. I notice a lot of M-rated game in US will end up becoming Z-rated game in Japan (although some M-rated game get C or D rating in Japan).

          • gatotsu911

            Well, in theory the Z rating is applied only to games with highly graphic or questionable content, such as God of War or Grand Theft Auto respectively. The closest equivalent in the ESRB would probably be M-rated games with the “Intense Violence” descriptor. Meanwhile, games rated D in Japan are usually still strong enough to qualify for an M rating in the US, and C-rated games are about a 50/50 split – some are T-rated, while others are M-rated. Every once in a while you get a B-rated game (like God Hand or Persona) getting an M rating in the States, but usually they get T ratings.

      • mikedo2007

        Also don’t forget some of our T-rated game got CERO Z in Japan like Infamous (look up the game boxart on GameFAQs), and The Matrix: Path of Neo which got a T-rating in US got a 18+ rating in Japan. I don’t know how this work in Japan. I don’t recall Infamous had any hot Coffee in that one and there’s no way Japan got the uncut version.

        • WTF Infamous got CERO Z? Wow…bet they rated it higher because of the nuclear explosion at the very beginning of the game.

          I remember Bethesda had to remove the option to blow up Megaton and rename the “Fat Man” for the Japanese release of Fallout 3, so…

          • mikedo2007

            I think it was more then that for Infamous. In that game, you can go around killing innocent people, So that type of thing can get a game a Z-rating in Japan. How do I know this, let me bring up a specific case. Yakuza and GTA.

            Those 2 game are similar yet they both got different rating. Yakuza got a D-rating from CERO and GTA got a Z-rating. Why would 2 game with similar premise have 2 different rating? So I play Yakuza 3’s demo and GTA. I notice in Yakuza, your character Kazuma don’t have the option of killing cops and innocent people where in GTA you can kill cops and innocent people. That’s why GTA got a Z-rating, because you can kill innocent people.

    • Pichi

      I call it a flip flop thing. Americans accept violence but if sexual things arise, it’ll get the AO rating. From what I heard, its opposite for Japan.

      • mikedo2007

        Actually Japan is a bit strict on sex also. Have you ever watch Hentai in Japan, they actually blurred out the genital in the Japanese version? If they are open, why would they blurred out the men’s genital and women’s genital.

        • Pichi

          I think it was some old law long ago that’s still sticks today. Can’t remember where I heard it from.

          But at least they are more open, IMO. Simple things like Hot Coffee got things in a ruckus despite not showing any nudity at all. Some games do go alright without alot of protest like God of War series, but that’s so few. Japan has Hentai games that shows more of the body and the likes.

    • “(Are FPS even that big over there)”
      They’re slowly gaining popularity (still from “big” though, but easily bigger than say Tower of Shadow, Kororinpa, Tenchu…) and have a pretty good acceptance among the Otaku crowd, if the rising amount of FPS gameplay videos on sites like NicoNico Douga is any indiation for the latter.

  • Square Enix’s First CERO Z Game is…not developed by Square Enix.

    Is anyone surprised? At all?

    • mikedo2007

      I’m not, Capcom publish GTA (which got a Z-rating from CERO).

  • gatotsu911

    I actually like that Japan has an “adults only” rating that they actually enforce – and on the basis of violent content, no less! Plenty of games, from Manhunt to God of War, honestly deserve an “AO” rating because of their brutal, sadistic violence, but manage to squirm their way out of it because the rating is literally a kiss of death. To put them in the same category as far milder games such as Halo or Metal Gear Solid honestly makes no sense to me.

    • Hraesvelgr

      The only difference between M and AO is one year, so it doesn’t really matter, to be honest.

      • gatotsu911

        Actually, the difference between M and AO is that the AO rating is far more harshly restricted than M, and that console manufacturers won’t allow AO games on their systems (and most third-party publishers won’t touch them even on PC). So, in practical terms, that is a huge difference.

        • Bruce

          in japan a pc game can have any kind of violence/sex/nudity/whatever , but not console games ,

          • gatotsu911

            Um… yeah. Same thing for the US.

  • maxchain

    Bomberman, what are you doing in that Flight Suit? And where’s your pink head dealy?

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