Bethesda on Oblivion's Rating

Bethesda Softworks Response to the ESRB Rating Change for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has word that Bethsoft is cooperating fully with the ESRB to reflect the new "M" rating for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (story), though they also want to make it clear that they were not even sipping hot cocoa when applying for the game's rating, much less drinking hot coffee:
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.

The ESRB has concluded that the game deserves a rating of Mature because: 1) partial nudity in the PC version of the game can be created by modders; and 2) the game contains excessive blood and gore that go beyond a Teen rating. The facts are as follows:

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.

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.”

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.
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May 4, 2006, 13:02
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Re: No subject May 4, 2006, 13:02
May 4, 2006, 13:02
 
PropheT said:
As it is right now, the ESRB is a joke and is worthless to people buying games.


Yeah, ESRB is completely worthless. I have a better idea, lets get rid of the voluntary system the Game industry decided to use and lets spend more tax money creating a government department that will then rank the ESRB </sarcasm>

Are you honestly that fucking stupid? ESRB is there because the gaming industry decided to create a rating system themselves instead of having the government step in and do it themselves. Is the system perfect? No but it does give a decent guideline for parents to follow. Not every parent plays games and this is one way to help them decide if they want to buy it for little Sally or little Johnie. Just because you feel its a waste of time doesn't mean its not useful to others.

I personally ignore the rating system for my boys because I keep up on the gaming world and find out my on opinion on games through many sources. Some of my friends do not keep up with the gaming world and having something like the ESRB helps them decide on a game or not.

Getting back on track, if this is a mod where someone changed a texture then no, this does not warrent a change in ESRB ratings. I hope ESRB rethinks this position and realize that this is too slippery of a slope to go down and realize that this has ramifications beyond a simply rating change. I fear this will make developers think twice about putting games on PC's and/or making games less modable(sp?) just so they don't have to worry about losing sales due to a higher ESRB rating.

This comment was edited on May 4, 13:03.
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