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ESRB Changes Oblivion's Rating to 'Mature' 282

kukyfrope writes "Perhaps reacting based on the debacle that was the 'Hot Coffee' scandal, the ESRB today changed the rating on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion from Teen to Mature. From the article: 'The content causing the ESRB to change the rating involves more detailed depictions of blood and gore than were considered in the original rating, as well as the presence of a locked-out art file or 'skin' that, if accessed through a third party modification to the PC version of the game, allows the user to play with topless versions of female characters,' said the ESRB in a release."
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ESRB Changes Oblivion's Rating to 'Mature'

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  • Any game? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eudial ( 590661 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @04:56PM (#15257165)
    Uh, you could technically mod any PC game into toplessness. Therefore all PC games should be Mature? Do I smell a console conspiracy?
  • by gerbalblaste ( 882682 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @04:56PM (#15257169) Journal
    If i make a mod for Oblivion allowing the player to engage in sexual intercourse would that mean the ESRB would have to rank Oblivion AO?

    Basing the rating of a game upon the available third party content seems very stupid to me. I'm sure i'm in the majority of slashdotter who think that changing the rating of a game because of mods is stupid.

    this does not bode well for the future of video game ratings.
  • Finally. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cheapy ( 809643 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:01PM (#15257222)
    I love the game, but there is no way it should ever have been Teen. The necromancer and vampire lairs can be very graphic (If you've seen Memorial Cave, you know what I'm talking about.), way too graphic for a little kid. Decomposing bodies with a noose around their neck hanging from the ceiling? And a 'kicked out' chair underneath them? More decomposed bodies stuck to the wall with spears (Incidently, the only spears in the game, other than the skulls.)

    Way too graphic.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go buy one of the last 'T'-labeled games, and sell it for a profit later on.
  • by Vallimar ( 323618 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:01PM (#15257229) Homepage
    Why is the ESRB now adjusting a games rating based on post-release modifications? Have you seen what topless Oblivion is like? You have to be pretty desperate to get off on those lumpy misshapen breasts.

    And, since they have started this crusade, why hasn't the Sims 2 been pulled and modded Adults Only yet? That has far more explicit mods and in-your-face sexuality. Hell, the only way to get ahead in that game is to have sex, and that only gets a Teen rating still?

    If the ESRB is going to keep pulling this, all game makers should just slap Adults Only labels on their games and let the parents figure out which ones are safe for their kids, like they are supposed to be doing in the first place.
  • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:07PM (#15257300) Homepage Journal
    way too graphic for a little kid. Decomposing bodies with a noose around their neck hanging from the ceiling?

    Oh, there's nothing wrong with decomposing bodies, according to the ESRB. But look, one of them has the tits hanging out. And you can almost see the nipple! OMG! Think of the chiiildren!
  • Great idea... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thad Boyd ( 880932 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:19PM (#15257415) Homepage
    Because the best way to demonstrate the strength of your ratings system is to REPEATEDLY CHANGE RATINGS AFTER ASSIGNING THEM.
  • Re:Any game? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:21PM (#15257430)
    I think I'm going to start taping 'The View', ripping it, making some modifications to the hosts' clothing and then make the copies available on the internet. Barbara Walters is almost scary enough to for the show to need a mature rating as it is.
  • by edwdig ( 47888 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:26PM (#15257470)
    That's not quite how it works. I haven't played the game, but this is what I've gathered from reading the author of the mod's comments.

    Most games handle clothing by making it directly part of the character model. Oblivion models character bodies and clothing seperately. Although this approach increases the complexity of the graphics, it allows more reuse of art assests. With this approach, you can mix and match body types and clothing without having to redo the artwork for the different combos. This patch simply removes the clothing layer.

    Also, according to the mod author's comments, the topless women don't quite look right. The models were designed to look right wearing clothing, not bare.
  • Re:Finally. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:32PM (#15257510) Homepage
    Please resolve these conflicting statements:

    I love the game, but there is no way it should ever have been Teen.

    The necromancer and vampire lairs can be very graphic (If you've seen Memorial Cave, you know what I'm talking about.), way too graphic for a little kid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:34PM (#15257538)
    What if I make a third party mod that "unlocks" the "hidden" nudity that comes when you layer thousands of images on top of each other, and for each pixel position selects 1 of the thousands of images to show though. It'd be simple to take pre-existing algorithms and get xxx pictures outta that.

    Now, my mod is simply taking stuff that's already on the disc and displaying it. It's just doing so in a way that the developers didn't intend. 18+ rating for everything!

    There's got to be a line drawn, and it should be drawn by saying that if you can access the content without the use of third party tools/mods/whatever, then it should count for the rating. If you have to hack the system in order to modify the game in order to gain access to content, then it shouldn't count against the rating. Once you allow content unlocked by a third-party modification to the game to count for ratings purposes, you've started down a slippery slope.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:54PM (#15257732) Homepage
    Yeah, I tried it a while back... so there's some pixelated tits, but they do absolutely nothing. There's no way to use them in any erotic context. It was about as arousing as an article about breast cancer with illustrations. With the game mostly in 1st person or from behind in 3rd person, you barely see them. If this is "Mature", then the nude skins + kissing in the Sims should make it rated XXX.
  • Re:Any game? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:55PM (#15257741)
    You could technically mod nudity into any PC game, yes, but, in this case, the original topless female mesh was already present in the game as distributed, it was simply not usable until a mod enabled it


    The simple fact of the matter is that there were nude patches created for Morrowind as well as for Oblivion, in similar timescales, with similar detail levels relative to the rest of each game. In both cases, the required step to add nudity was the same (download and install unsupported third-party modification), and the outcome was the same (nude females appear in game). The only difference is the source of the data used by the third-party modders.

    So why was the rating changed for Oblivion, but not for Morrowind?
  • Re:False claims (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wylfing ( 144940 ) <brian.wylfing@net> on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:56PM (#15257749) Homepage Journal
    If the nudity isn't available in the basic game but needs a third party hack, isn't it false advertising to claim "nudity" on the box? I'd expect a refund if I bought this and found no nudity included.

    You just don't understand the new thinking, is all. See, we need to be "protected" not simply against what things are but also against what things can be made to do. And, frankly, it is the fault of godless monsters like Bethesda for putting tools into people's hands that are capable of creating nude images, and they should be labeled as the pornmongers they are.

    Seriously, it won't be long until game makers lock down code so that modding is impossible. There will never be another Counter-Strike for fear that someone will make a whorehouse map.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @06:49PM (#15258143)
    The problem that Americans have with nudity is pretty much incomprehensible to Europeans. We laugh when we hear about it, but actually it's pretty sad.

    The greatest nation on Earth is also one of the most primitive and most inhibited cultures in existence. And as it's a core inhibition within the religious fundamentalism of the government, the cultural barbarianism gets institutionalized, and isn't going away.

    Things like this remain around until the current generation of standard bearers die off. The inevitable conclusion is that if you're American but "enlightened" (you know what I mean, and if you don't then don't worry your little head) then you'd better spend part of your year across the pond, even if it's just for the yearly holiday.

    Very sad.
  • by ahem ( 174666 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:19PM (#15258356) Homepage Journal

    'I', for 'Immature'?
  • Re:Adult Quests (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:36PM (#15258473) Homepage
    Just to make it clear again, I like Oblivion, Hardcore, and eMule. I don't like rape and the encouragement or incitement to do so, and hope Oblivion is not associated with Hot Coffee and other last-minute changes.

    Care to actually be informed and know what you're talking about? From the wiki entry on the Hot Coffee mod []:
    Anti-videogame activists have also frequently claimed or implied that the Hot Coffee mod involves rape. This is not the case as the sexual content is depicted as being consensual. While there may be merit to claims that it objectifies or demeans women, assertions of rape are unfounded.

    Moving forward:
    I have no problems with porn, adult content, and hardcore sex, which I download gratuitously. I have problems with rape (which I have experienced) and encouragement of vice.

    Who defines vice? Further, who defines the encouragement thereof? Where's the line between commentary and implicity? I'm not going to touch the other element of your comment simply because I feel that it'd likely come across in a manner I wouldn't intend - I assure you I've got nothing but the highest level of compassion for you in that regard.
    Your view is typical of the far-right, anybody who expresses the truth should be deliberately misrepresented.

    First of all, screaming "You're facist righty scum" or "You're just a pinko commie" over a disagreement's is a bit childish. Not that it really matters, but, in reality, my politics are much more along the lines of western European socialism with a strong libertarian bent than they are Bill O'Reilly - I'd have my mic cut off on The Factor in a matter of moments.

    *You* are the one who made an incorrect assertation without even actually saying what made it immoral. If it's my fault that I was actually informed about the issue and aware of the content of the mod (and not some assumed rape element that *does not exist in the game*), then I apologize. My statement about puritanical ideology may have been a bit overboard, but your comment absent the undertones about rape (which again, is not present in the game) reads exactly as I responded to it.

    Sorry again for the mix up, but I still stand in the same place on this one.
  • by Goblez ( 928516 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @08:15PM (#15258736)

    So I'm addicted to Oblivion, at least an hour a day of late. It's a great game, and one of the aspects that builds on this is that there is a sense of Accountability in the game. If you outright kill someone, things change. If you steal, people get pissed at you. If you punch someone, they go rounds with you. Isn't it more important when rating a game that it enforces proper consequences upon the player?

    This is in addition to how ridiciulous it is that you can Mod it, therefore it's MA. Guess what, I can render porn in another well known program, called Windows, so I want it rated MA too (MA for what I say when it crashes).


  • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @08:24PM (#15258776) Homepage
    Yes, but we all know by now that American priorities are to hide things that half the population have while showing all sorts of gruesome violence and gore to desensitize us. I've used the mod, the only time you see anything is when in the menu screen where you select your armor. It's definately about realism, not being erotic.
  • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @08:38PM (#15258867)
    Yes, it's interesting isn't it? More interesting is that The Sims 2 has nude bodies in it, they're just pixellated, and you can turn it off with a third-party mod...which is the exact same reason Oblivion is now being marked "M."

    The ESRB is officially punishing game companies for what users do to the game. "Hot Coffee" was never normally accessible in GTA; therefore, they can't be rated for it because a user has to specifically unlock it themselves. The same with this, and it's even more silly because the only reason the nude textures are included is because Bethesda needs a nude body texture to display clothes on top of. It was just for their clothing system, for crying out loud, not some malicious erotic intent. I guess if there weren't any nipples, the ESRB wouldn't care?

    Fucking idiots.
  • by ssj-xordyh ( 613424 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @09:32PM (#15259158)
    What about DVDs with bonus features and deleted scenes that may contain nudity or gore that would have gotten the theatrical release a more severe rating if they had been in the original film? They still rate the DVD release according to the original MPAA rating, and simply include a disclaimer that says something like, "bonus material not rated." If the core game install, without modifications or hacks added does not contain that content or it is not accessible, it should not be held against the game during the rating. Pretty soon we'll have games being delayed for months to remove all the extraneous bits that aren't necessary for the final build, but tend to lead to cool hacks later on. How much additional enjoyment have people gotten from the unused, hidden levels in games like GTA, Vice City, San Andreas, and Liberty City, to name a few? When does it stop?
  • Rating system (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Bendejo ( 894944 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @09:40PM (#15259207)
    The whole reason we have a private company rating games is because if they didn't do it, the Govt. would step up and take the job. So what if the the ESRB isn't perfect. It's better than Uncle Sam breathing down the necks of stores and developers applying taxes for rating + such.
  • Re:Any game? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Emetophobe ( 878584 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @10:12PM (#15259362)
    I was thinking the same thing. It's absolutely ridiculous to change the game rating because some player decides to make a modification that contains "mature" content. Why should the game maker have to suffer because someone writes an unsupported mod? (See GTA: San Andreas). Should game companies be forced to now prevent users from modifying the game to protect themselves from rating changes, etc..

    I wonder if Oblivion will lose sales due to this (stores that don't stock Mature games, does Walmart still do this?). Or maybe Oblivion will gain sales from the all the free publicity of the ratings being changed. I think there's already enough hype and buzz behind it (the original game), sales will probably just increase.
  • by TheSteve ( 149820 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @11:52PM (#15259777)
    So basically they don't want kids taking the shirts off their dolly.

    Better start checking IDs for all those Barbie dolls! We've got to think of the children!
  • by DeadboltX ( 751907 ) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @03:27AM (#15260491)
    Barbie dolls are now Adult Only toys, to be sold only in adult sex shops due to the fact that they have built-in nudity, and by modifying the doll (taking the clothes off) you can reveal said nudity which is not only unrealistic but exagerated for the purpose of sexual attraction (bigger tits)
  • by arkanes ( 521690 ) <> on Thursday May 04, 2006 @09:05AM (#15261482) Homepage
    No, the U.S. does not have a problem with nudity, though I think we would be better off if more of our population did. (I assume you mean public or publicized nudity, since I've never heard of anyone who had a problem with nudity in and of itself.)

    This must be willfull ignorance. Despite the fact that "public nudity" and scanty clothing is becoming more accepted, American culture is stull much less comfortable with it than they are with good old fashioned violence. Witness the fact that all forms of entertainment recieve higher ratings for sexual content and nudity than they do for violence, such as the game mentioned in this article.

    If you really examine your history, you will observe that cultures become more barbaric as they do away with their inhibitions.

    The word you're looking for is decadent, not barbaric.

    Inhibitions keep us from doing things that would otherwise get us killed, like jumping off of a building without a parachute just because the ride down will be fun.

    No, that is self preservation. Inhibitions are what keep you from doing it *with* a parachute.

    Besides the health risk of constantly exposing your privates to the elements, vulnerability to disease, etc.

    There's nothing risky about not wearing pants that isn't risky about not wearing clothes in general. There aren't floating 'disease germs' that will attack your wee-wee if you don't wear underwear. This sort of made up bullshit "medical" advice is exactly why some people *do* have a problem with "nudity in general".

    If the media be representative of the entire population, then any attempt at regulating morals is a complete hypocritical joke.

    Any attempt at regulating morals *is* a complete hypocritical joke. It's also sadly common amongst a certain breed of insecure, repressed, power hungry person who is so uncomfortable with himself and his humanity that he needs to control everyone, not just himself (or herself. English needs better non-gendered nouns). It's right there in the Genesis as you mention above, although apparently you don't grasp the implications. Adam and Eve felt *shame* for their nudity.

    Nonetheless, there are some of us who don't want to pass on to future generations that sex should be casual or that self-control is a weakness.

    Self control isn't a weakness. But repression is. Look at the history of our culture and your religion.

    For those of us who claim to follow the God of the bible (and the even fewer who act like it), this is a minority stance (especially on any internet forum). I don't expect everyone to adopt it.

    You don't expect everyone to adopt it, but you're perfectly happy with attempting to legally mandate it?

    Still, it is unfair to completely reject an idea just because someone with religious values agrees with it.

    I do no such thing. However, I do reject an idea when its only supporting foundation is those same religions values. Your only non-religious mention here are ambiguous medical dangers if you walk around naked, a total falsehood. Do you have any non-religious support for the dangers of informed, mature, casual sex? Are you aware that the rate of sexual predation is higher among members of your religion than among others? That as our acceptance of nudity, pornography, and sexual freedom has raised so too has sexual equality?

  • Dear ERSB... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bahumat ( 213955 ) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:22AM (#15262132) Homepage Journal
    Dear ERSB: A modder adding nudity to the game? This is the software equivalent of a kid picking up a pen and comic book and drawing breasts and a mustache on Wonder Woman.

    The Teen rating was appropriate. The Mature rating based off of third party modifications is not.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian