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More Oblivion Re-Rating Fallout 279

The ESRB has a retort to the criticism leveled against it after rating Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Mature. The move has required Bethesda Softworks to pull all of the current stock of the game to relabel. From the GameDailyBiz article: "When we brought the topless female images to Bethesda Softworks' attention, they confirmed that the art file existed in a fully rendered form in the code on the game disc. The ESRB's investigation found that the mod allowed users to change the filename for the female character mesh in order to access the art file that was created by Bethesda. While true that a modification was required to access this file, the changes we implemented last year - expanding our disclosure rules to include locked-out content - were made to prevent these kinds of situations" Via Cathode Tan, who has his own commentary, an opinion piece by John Romero has yet another view of the complicated situation.
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More Oblivion Re-Rating Fallout

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  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @01:53PM (#15271647)
    Small amounts of nudity are allowed in PG13 movies. However, if you have the same sort of nudity rendered in a videogame, it gets rated M. I'm not entirely clear why the Teen rating doesn't cover this for games...
    • by falcon5768 ( 629591 ) <Falcon5768@comca ... t minus caffeine> on Friday May 05, 2006 @01:57PM (#15271696) Journal
      not even that there WAS no nudity in the game. Much like GTA you had to HACK the game to get the nudity in.

      sure the skins where there, but they wherent accessable IN game.

      ITs the same thing with comics and movie though back in the day, its the new political fallboy, give it 5-10 more years and it will be something else.

      • by jkmullins ( 643492 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:08PM (#15271810) Homepage
        I think much of the confusion from those unfamiliar with the inner workings of the industry is due to the way many games (and I'm assuming Oblivion as one) does character modeling. You can take a basic character model and layer different layers of clothing on top, it would be relatively easy for someone to slightly modify a texture, put it on an existing model, and call it a topless female. Sure, the model was already there, but it wasn't because they were putting nude females in. It was just there because it was easier to take that model and put different types of clothing models on that it was to make different models for each and every character in the game with a different shirt.

        Pointing to that as an example of ill intent by Bethseda is just flat-out irresponsible by those who are arguably supposed to be industry insiders.

        • You can take a basic character model and layer different layers of clothing on top

          Then why not put a sports bra or something on the basic character model?

          • There is one, the titty-texture is a user created skin.
          • by plague3106 ( 71849 )
            Because maybe they want to allow a mod for really skimpy outfits, that a sports bra wouldn't make possible?

            My god, its 2006, why is nudity even an issue in media?
          • Because that's one more layer being rendered. For every character on-screen. Every single frame.

            The first rule of MMORPG is to conserve processing power. That means the code that gets used most often (combat and player body) needs to be as clean as possible.
            • I agree with you, but I'd like to point out that Oblivion is not an MMORPG. That's part of its allure to many people (myself included).
            • "Because that's one more layer being rendered."

              No it isn't. You make the base texture with a painted on "bra" rather than nipples. It isn't an extra layer. This is exactly how the normal "naked" textures in WoW work - the nude textures were user creations for that game as well.
              • Um, yeah. What the hell was I thinking? :)

                Still, that wouldn't have prevented this. As mentioned many other times already, the mod involves pasting a barechested male texture over the female body size. I'm sure the same thing could be done with any of the Resident Evil or Dynasty Warrior titles. Are they all to be relabelled "mature" now?
                • I'm sure the same thing could be done with any of the Resident Evil or Dynasty Warrior titles. Are they all to be relabelled "mature" now?
                  Or how about The Sims?
                  You can remove blurring effect and then all characters are nekkid.
                • Re:Decent underwear (Score:4, Informative)

                  by Feanturi ( 99866 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @09:56PM (#15274786)
                  As mentioned many other times already, the mod involves pasting a barechested male texture over the female body size.

                  Trust me, there is nothing male about textures\characters\imperial\female\upperbodyfemal which is what the nude mesh uses natively, with no modifications at all. The nude mesh simply has to be extracted from the .bsa file the game came with and renamed to replace the non-nude mesh. I am seeing that quite a few people posting to this topic have very different ideas about how this mod is done, so I'll lay it down for you:

                  There is a third-party program called tes4bsa. Its whole job is to unpack the game's art and sound files from the proprietary archive format they are in. That's all it does, it makes no changes to any of the content at all. It is an essential tool for making your own unique copies of objects for a mod you want to do, as you have to be able to browse to the nif file when making a new object. With Morrowind they gave you all the art files unpacked on the second CD. So this tes4bsa merely enables the tradtional means of modding this game, so that it is available again as we modders were used to with MW.

                  1. Download tes4bsa, and put it in the Data folder.

                  2. Run it to unpack the textures archive.

                  3. Navigate to Data\meshes\characters\_male (yes, it doesn't sound like there's females in here, but there are, don't ask me why)

                  4. Delete femaleupperbody.nif and rename femaleupperbodynude.nif to drop the word nude.

                  5. Play the game, find a dead woman (or, um, stalk and kill one) and loot her clothes. See?

                  Note that no textures were modified, or superimposed on anything, or even touched. No hacking out of mesh coordinates to remove the perma-bra that the default female characters actually use in-game. Just unpack the art files, delete one file and rename another. This content is not the result of any user input whatsoever.

                  I wonder if there is a connection: Just as many of us don't RTFA, we also seem to have a propensity for not TTFE (trying the fabulous experiment) before talking about it like we know what's happening. This is not a flame on anyone, just an observation.
          • Re:Decent underwear (Score:3, Informative)

            by Feanturi ( 99866 )
            Then why not put a sports bra or something on the basic character model?

            That is in fact what they did: femaleupperbody.nif is the end product of femaleupperbodynude.nif with a bra mesh permanently welded onto it, with the appropriate texture for the bra mapped to that area. Problem is they forgot to turf the nude one, which was no longer needed when the game was ready to ship. The nude one is not used when they have clothes overtop, as one might think that was why it was there, because of problems with the
    • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:00PM (#15271726) Journal
      Not to be pedantic, (not intentionally), but reason standards aren't obviously consistent is because the ESRB is not the MPAA.

      They're not the same organization, not controlled by the same people, not rating the same media, nothin'. They don't necessarily have the same leadership or employees.

      To consumers, I'm sure, media is media is media, and consistent standards and enforcement should be obvious. But consistent standards and enforcement is not required and in the minds of some might be anti-competetive.

      You expect consistency where there is no reason (other than in your expectations) for there to be any. The only place to enforce that "media-is-media" ratings consistency is government, and that's the LAST thing any sane consumer or producer wants.

      • They're not the same organization, not controlled by the same people, not rating the same media, nothin'. They don't necessarily have the same leadership or employees.

        No, but you'd think that since video game ratings came later they would have based them somewhat off of the other ratings systems that existed at the time, namely the movie ratings system.
    • Parent have accepted that there is merit to movies.
      Video Games are still in the same area as comic books (Clearly aimed at kids, even if they have an adult market), so they had to be rated more strictly. (Because even though the average age for gamers is somewhere in the low 20s, games are for kids. Period.)
    • by rben ( 542324 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:50PM (#15272159) Homepage
      So much worry over kids seeing anatomy possessed by half of the population. It's about time we got over this puritanical BS.

      Face it, any kid with access to the Internet will find a way to view naked women, if he/she so desires. Kids are smart. They have friends with printers. The secret is out, women and girls have different parts than boys do.

      If you want to make sure your kids grow up to be well-adjusted, talk to them and explain things. Make sure they have plenty of parental attention and affection. Tell them they can always come to you and talk about things. Don't let kids learn all about sex from their peers.

      Oh, and teach them that there are more important matters for people to worry about than whether or not electronic models have breasts.
      • I was always wondering, what about commercials in the US ? ( no trolling, genuine question )

        Here in Europe ( France, Belgium at least ) you have tits in almost *every* commercial on TV and at whatever time of the day.

        Tits sell Orange Juice,
        Tits sell shampoo and soap
        Tits sell cars, milk, washing powder, food, ...

        I also wonder why a game becomes M-rated because you *can* see some breast *if* you *patch* the game (and even then, nothing is done to erotise the situation, if you walk naked, nobody even look at y
    • oh you mean like titanic (pg-13) had so little nudity. And my favorite, 16 candles (lots of American pie type nudity in the shower scene) has a pg rating?
    • The real problem is that the ESRB rating was way too low in the first place. M is probably the correct rating for the game, considering it's more violent and gruesome than Halo (which got an M. Then again, I don't really feel Halo deserved an M, since it only shows alien blood.)

      I think the nude texture is just an excuse for the ESRB realizing their mistake in the face of complaints and adjusting the rating to be more accurate. Of course, the real question is how it got a T in the first place... did anyon
      • That's one thing that's always bothered me. Why does making something's blood red automatically raise the rating? Is fake green "blood" splatter less disturbing than fake red "blood" splatter? It's gets even sillier when game makers do a pallate swap on the "blood" to get a lower rating. How is that any less violent?
  • Cruel! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kazzahdrane ( 882423 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @01:57PM (#15271690)
    Do you have any idea how cruel it is to include the word "Fallout" in the story title of an article in the Games section?

    Zonk, expect rabid RPG fans after you for raising their hopes, albeit by accident!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:03PM (#15271754)
    This is as if Snow White gets an R rating because someone splices in a few frames from a porn movie into one reel...
  • Changing the rating (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eleven357 ( 449450 )
    I would figure that the more violent a game was, the higher the rating would be on the game (mature, etc.) I thought violence was worse than a naked body of a woman. What truly is the worst evil? Violence or Naked Women? I think that the ESRB needs to get their priorities straight.
    • by bluemeep ( 669505 ) <bluemeep AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:13PM (#15271854) Homepage
      In America? Naked women. A boob is a thousand times worse than seeing a human being gutted, ripped in half and having both chunks set on fire. Make sense? Not really, but that's the way this country works.
      • by Surt ( 22457 )
        It makes a certain kind of sense if you understand the right viewpoint:
        Sex content => sex crimes against women
        Violent content => violent crime

        Which is worse in this country? According to the stats, sex crimes are far more common than violent crimes (assuming you don't give the violent crime category credit for the violence typically involved in sex crimes).
        • You're right, but I just want to clarify what you're saying so that everyone understands it.

          Here are the ideas you have to accept as fact for this to make sense.

          1. People who are exposed (via tv, movies, video games, etc.) to violent content are more likely to commit violent crimes.
          2. People that are exposed to nudity are more likely to commit sex crimes, or behave in other sexual ways that are seen as deviant to the norm and thus, a problem for society.
          3. It's more important to stop sex crimes and deviancy th
      • by Slime-dogg ( 120473 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:27PM (#15272507) Journal
        The worst form of evil is an erection caused by the sight of a nipple on a breast. This is far more evil, for instance, than an erection caused by seeing human beings ripped in half, and having both chunks set on fire.
      • Actually they said that scenes of torture and the blood and gore content where also higher than the submitter claimed.
        I don't understand the flack over this. The game isn't banned it's rating was just changed. Those ratings are voluntary and are not enforced by law.
        It isn't even like alcohol and cigarettes. A store can choose to sell pretty much any game to anyone. No will get fined or go to jail for it.
        It's not like they are banning it.
        Unlike here [] or here h []
    • What truly is the worst evil? Violence or Naked Women?
      Honestly, it's Violence towards Naked Women.

      Obviously it depends on the context, but on the whole, you can stir up some trouble by mixing women (clothed or not) and violence.

      Take a game, replace all the killable Monsters/Nazis/bad guys with women and watch the fury boil over.
      • Eh, lots of games have female antagonists. Even in Return to Castle Wolfensten there were those leather wearing female SS troops that were probably the hardest enemy to deal with in the game. Lots of times they're even scantily clad.

        Of course if their butt or a nipple were showing, then it'd be mass outrage from the very vocal minorty who always complain about this stuff.
  • Locked out content? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AgentDib ( 931969 )
    This is pretty interesting. The ESRB does not refute Bethesda's claims that the violence and gore was exactly what they had detailed, so this makes the violence and gore rationale an initial oversight by the ESRB and not a fault of Bethesda.

    However, if the nude female images were present and simply "locked out" by Bethesda then we have pretty much the same story as the Hot Coffee incident. IMO the ESRB exists solely to enable parents to feel more confident about buying games for their children, and the id
    • "Honestly, are either of these incidents really that different than if Nintendo were to implement nude characters in super mario bros 3 that was unlocked through an a-b-a-b-a-a-a code?"

      You don't get through the 'lockout' by entering a code, you get 'through' it by downloading a mod from the internet for that exact purpose. And that mod could of just as easily include new meshes/textures of nude body parts as 'unlock' the texture in oblivion (the texture is used for layering so that the armor will actually
    • Honestly, are either of these incidents really that different than if Nintendo were to implement nude characters in super mario bros 3 that was unlocked through an a-b-a-b-a-a-a code?

      Back in the day there was a game for Genesis (I forget the name) that had a code that let you see brief nudity. It was by Naughty Dog, and if you held down certain buttons as the Genesis was turned on, the Naughty Dog logo would be replaced by a picture of a topless woman. Pixelated cartoon boobs at their finest. That si
    • The ESRB rated Metroid as E. Is this E material: r onosu-2.png [] ?

      The ESRB also rated Super Metroid as E. Is this E either: usfront1.gif [] ?

      If you want to say "oh, but those are only on for a few seconds", I say so what? You can see them over and over if you want. Sure, they aren't M rated by any stretch of the imagination, but they're ok anyone 6 or older? If they were looking through the lens of today, I'
  • by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:13PM (#15271849)
    TV commercials around here at least after 10pm have been featuring a lot more sultry "friend finder" commercials on broadcast TV, and lightly censored 'girls gone wild' commercials on basic cable.

    Far more offensive than pixellated boobies. Hell, the kids are likely on the internet in the first place to find out about the hack. If kids aren't already corrupted by all of the boobies [and worse!] on the internet, some scantly clad model isn't going to harm them.
  • by JensR ( 12975 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:13PM (#15271852) Homepage
    I can't believe they intentionally put in a topless model. What I expect is this: The model was intended to be rendered together with a separate model covering the top, like additional pieces of armour that they want to run physics on, or a bra that they want to have changeable. By swapping the model with another one that doesn't have these additional features you see the base model. Sorry, but to emphasise it: We (=game developers) can't take responsibility for data files we didn't create, or for modifications to the game code that change object behaviour. So what about this disclaimer: Game Experience may change when using 3rd party modifications ? I mean, there is already the disclaimer Game Experience may change during online play, because nobody can control what other players in an online game say or do.
    • I think thats a bit rash (I'm a game developer too.) If the content is in there (ie, fully rendered nipples), even if it should never be seen during normal program flow, I think the rating should take that into account. If its unlockable, it will eventually be accessible to the world at large.

      The bigger issue at play here is why is everybody such a fucking prude. Its womans breasts, for crying out loud, what a freaking repressed society. Games should be rated for violence, and graphic sex, but boobies that
      • I'm thinking if you have a charecter model with a fully rendered nipple sticking out of each breast, you likely are going for the sex appeal, not accuracy. If it isn't going to be seen, why waste time rendering it? Or at least why even show the discoloration? No, the ESRB isn't being prudish. They're just sticking to their decisions.
      • As I understand it, Oblivion doesn't have "fully rendered nipples", it has odd-looking breasts with bumps that look right once you add clothing. Also the content is no more "unlockable" than adding a third-party naked skin is "unlockable". You can't get to the content through game play. Once you include "hings you can do by changing game files", anything is possible.
    • My understanding is it's the male bare chested texture laid on the female mesh.
    • If the model was just there for the shape/physics of things that go over it (bras, armor, whatever), why couldn't it just be all-white? I'm guessing that an all-white female form wouldn't spark much outrage, it'd be just like a store mannequin. You don't need to see the color of nipples when you're deciding how armor will fit over something. (And yes, some store mannequins have "nipples" - but they're not painted!)

      (I think it's silly to slap an M rating on something for breasts - but I also think that in

      • Like the post just north of yours mentioned, they're male nipples. Since skin is skin, female nipples are to be hidden, and male nipples are to be seen, they just used the same texture for both sexes. Hence the lack of, well, lack of nipples.
      • If the model was just there for the shape/physics of things that go over it (bras, armor, whatever), why couldn't it just be all-white?
        My understanding is that it is designed so that different clothing, with different lines, which exposes different parts of it can be layered on top of the nude form, instead of making the visible skin part of the clothing.
        • Ahh, that makes sense. Though they could still make it all flesh-colored with no nipples. Although if the post below is correct and someone used a male skin to fake a nude female... That's just beyond anyone's control and would be ridiculous for the ESRB to use for a rating.
  • And I hope it erodes the ratings systems. If Oblivion gets an M rating for this nonsense, forget about what it means for Bethesda for a minute and think about what it says about the M rating? It sure changes the way I look at M rated games. Will this just shift all of the ratings up a level? If it does, then how much will these ratings mean to people if a game based on Sesame Street gets bumped up to a Teen rating because it depicts Oscar as homeless (or some better analogy that I can't think of, but yo
  • by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:22PM (#15271920) Journal
    The next thing you know they will want to change any game where you can install custom skins to an 'M' rating simply because someone can download a custom model and have naked women everywhere. What I love throughout all this is that it isn't about violence (despite what the ESRB said) and solely about some "sexually explicit" content that by default is not accessible in the game. I guess I never realized how horribly ugly the female human form is...

    While not necessarily right (and maybe not on point), it is absurd to think that the difference between 'T' and 'M' is going to make a difference in who buys these games. Now, the kids (I actually do not know any kids who play ES IV) just have to get their parents, who have shown total disregard for what their children are doing (see complaints about movie, television and game ratings...and the recent "myspace scare"), will blatantly ignore the ratings and purchase it anyway.

    I would love to see some game makers stop using the ESRB all-together. Like the MPAA movie rating system, it is completely voluntary and even if a few places won't carry an un-rated game, I am sure plenty of legitimate video game retailers will be more then glad to sell such a game. Unfortunately, this probably will not happen because I would imagine that some of the larger retailers would be the ones refusing.
    • Again - a subtle difference. The game SHIPPED with the skin, it was just a matter of renaming the file. I have no problem with the ESRBs descision here... it was undisclosed content (it was on the distribution media). I would have a HUGE problem is someone completely reskinned a game, and based on content that the publisher has NO control over - the game was re-rated...
    • "I would love to see some game makers stop using the ESRB all-together."

      Bad idea. We have the ESRB to stave off the government from creating their own regulatory body.

      Game should be rated M anyway -- it's got a lot of gore in it.
  • It's been said on a gaming forum I frequent that the content in question is in fact the texture for a bare *male* chest (complete with the standard-issue male nipples), which when intentionally misapplied to the female model via this mod results in a somewhat believable representation of a topless female.

    Any truth to this? If so, it pretty much confirms the idiocy of the ESRB with regard to this whole situation.
    • Having bothered to hack this up myself (before someone made a download available), I can say that the texture is named 'textures\characters\imperial\female\upperbodyfem a le.dss'. There's no chance it was just a male texture placed on a female body.

      On top of that, it's also a model with this texture attached to it, though this does also claim it's male, erroneously. 'meshes\characters\_male\femaleupperbody.nif'.

      This was not done by accident, and is not a hack to apply a male texture to a female body.

      I beli
    • Yep. If you actually poke around for a pic, you'll see that the nipples are too far down and to the outside of the breasts to be believable. Plus they aren't darkened, the way nipples are portrayed in most media. They definitely look like guy nipples on a girl's body.

      I agree with someone further up who said that it really doesn't matter if this mesh was in the game originially or not. If you have to download a mod that extracts files from the locked-out portion of the game and renames them to put them i
  • From Romero's blog: "What's the point of this all this? That modders are now screwing up the industry they're supposed to be helping."

    Change the old slogan to "John Romero is going to... bitch." He really seems to have missed the entire point of the issue, seeming to place blame on modders in general. Rather surprising, considering where he might be had "Doom" not been moddable and therefore immortal.

    • I figured another slashdotter would comment on that part of Romero's post.

      Modders are not screwing the industry; if anything is in this case, (and I really think the whole thing is being blown out of proportion) it's the fact that a depiction of female anatomy which the majority of users will never see is enough to warrant a change in rating. It. Is. A. Nipple. Jesus.

      Neither are modders under any obligation to "help the industry". Game studios may well release data in the hope that mods will help their

    • I'd mod you up if I wasn't going to respond. He goes on to say that all the game files will be encrypted. Yet another area he doesn't understand. This guy truly is non technical, and Carmack really was the brains, huh? Where does he think the symmetric decryption key will be? Maybe in the .exe? And if you obfuscate that using a fuzzer, then you just have to go get it from memory once it gets used.

      That is not how game designers will respond, anyhow. It makes their development much harder for no real payba
  • Sorry Dr Seuss, but we have to rate your new book M for sexual content, seems that some kid can go get a picture if a topless women, tape it in your book, and be exposed to nudity.
  • So... (Score:3, Funny)

    by jasen666 ( 88727 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:41PM (#15272074)
    If I create a patch that makes Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck naked in a Disney game, will the ESRB re-label that game as "M" and force Disney to pull it off the shelves?
    ESRB are morons.
  • by Herkum01 ( 592704 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:43PM (#15272083)
    If I use Photoshop to give our our president a giant bare of woho's will they slap GW Bush with a mature rating?
  • Oh no (Score:3, Funny)

    by Konster ( 252488 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:52PM (#15272181)
    Naked human beings in non-sexual settings in a video game.

    Oh no. The end of our civilization is near.

    And it won't be because of topless toons in some video game.

  • by SloppyElvis ( 450156 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:55PM (#15272211)
    This topic is getting a bit tired, but the fact that this "retort" misses the greater issue is compelling.

    1) Play Oblivion for 1 hour, you'll find zombies with their guts hanging out. The player is rewarded for bashing them MANY MANY times as they spray blood all over the walls. I don't see how Bethesda could have "hid" this from the ratings board - it shows up within minutes of play.

    2) Talk to the various characters in the first town in the game, and you'll find out there's a "secret" guild that will let you in if you MURDER someone. In fact, you are very often rewarded for criminal activity in Oblivion. Going to jail is REQUIRED to complete at least one of the quests in the game (probably more, I don't know).

    3) A nipple shows up in a downloadable mod, and OMG! change the rating to "Mature".

    This isn't about Oblivion being rated "M", it's about the reason provided for the change. "More gore than initially disclosed" is ridiculous, because the game is chock full of gore and it's central to the gameplay itself. When the ESRB initially reviewed the game, did they even play it? My take is that Oblivion probably should've been rated "M" from the start. The game contains mature subject matter and it was no secret, plain and simple.

    Are American Teens exposed to graphic violence through other means? Yes, certainly.

    Are young children? I am reading the classic book, Farmer Boy, of the famed Little House on the Prarie series to my Kindergartner. In this book, the "older boys" in the school house gain reputation for "thrashing" teachers into submission with their fists. The replacement teacher is heralded for subdueing his attackers with a whip.

    Does that make it a "good thing"(TM)? Nope. (see also: "Shikata ga nai")

    Can a Teen process violence in entertainment and separate such depictions from the morality requisite to be a good citizen? Yes. "Mortal Combat" was a popular morality target in my teenage years, yet I never attempted a "Finishing Move" on any of my schoolmates, and I've grown up to be a good citizen by most accounts.

    Can responsible, involved parents allow their brood to slash video game foes for fun? Yes. I enjoy such entertainment, and I'm sure my young'uns will too. Human beings are violent (see also: "history of civilization"). It'll be my decision to make concerning their maturity approaching such subject matter.

    If my teen sees a booby, will all my hard parenting work unravel? God, I hope not. That would surely mean I'd done a terrible job educating my own on the birds and the bees. Believe it or not, I'd rather my kids look at boobies than bash skulls. Interest in sex is not unnatural (see also: "World Population").

    ESRB claims the change is due to a lack of disclosure. Under normal circumstances, that would be an acceptable reason in my mind. However, the gratuitous and obvious violence in Oblivion calls into question the criteria by which the game was rated IN THE FIRST PLACE. The ESRB lacks credibility, and this debacle won't help that issue, that is certain.
    • I havn't gone through the process in a while, but I am pretty sure the ESRB does not play the games. It is up to the developer to send the "most offensive" game footage for viewing (Via VCR or DVD) - so if that footage was omitted or gameplay added at the last minute they would not have seen it. If you consider how long it can take to play a game I doubt they have the resources to play through all the games that are submitted each year.
      • I didn't know that.

        It would be interesting to see the actual submission footage. It seems pretty clear that Bethesda wants to stay out of the fray on this political issue, so I doubt they'd leak it, but it would shed light on all of this for sure.

        The resource problem is an interesting one. I'd wager that if they enlisted "general public reviewers" to preview the games prior to release they'd get an army of volunteers who'd do it just to get early copies of games. I realize software is generally not ready
  • Astounding (Score:4, Funny)

    by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:55PM (#15272223)
    pull all of the current stock of the game to relabel

    Congratulations. Short of airdropping copies of the game over each major american city, there is no other possible action that would ensure people previously fence-sitting on the original version of the game will go through considerable effort to obtain a "real" copy.
  • HYPOCRACY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frobozz0 ( 247160 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:05PM (#15272309)
    You can hack and slash defenseless citizens, steal your way to financial independance, and support demon-like creatures to enslave mankind.

    Seeing a pair of tits seems a bit trivial, yes?

    To the hypocrites at the ESRB who seem to think violence is fine and nudity is a crime... rethink your policies, and rethink your hidden agendas. Nudity is not sex, which could be misconstrued as a mature theme. Every female on the planet has a vagina and breasts. Every male has a penis. These are anatomical features. Science. Fact. They are not the subversive agendas being pushed by conservatives to have us back in the social dark ages.

    I am a player of Oblivion and I don't think for a second that any of the fantasy provided by this game is not enough for a 13 year old to grasp. By rating it mature, we're taking a modification to a game and making a big mountain out of a mole hill.

    Let's boil this down, folks. I'd be much more worried about my 12 year old kid murding all the townfolk, supporting the daedric lords, playing out their virtual life as a vampric character. Not that there is anything wrong with the fantasy of any of those, but I'd want to make sure they understood the difference.
  • is that the ESRB has to convene and decide to have an extra rating modifier of some sort to not only describe the game as shipped, but to have a rating for "possible modification" and for "online gameplay".

    Statements of this sort already exist in a small sentence on most online games, where they'll state "Online Gameplay Experience May Be Different" or something (I don't recall the exact wording.) But the point is that ESRB would be much more effective with something like this.

    I don't think developer
  • Having played the game for a while now I don't understand how this game was given a teen rating in the first place. The graphic nature of the violent content warranted the M rating from the beginning. Bethesda was apparently up front with the ESRB on how graphic the violence was in the game. So this is just the ESRB trying to cover its' ass.

    As a parent this is the kind of game that I would want to know my teen was playing. I probably would not mind them playing it, but I would want to talk to them abo

  • by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:21PM (#15272435) Homepage Journal
    "Today we stike a blow against those who would allow our children to expose themselves to pornography. By requiring labotomys for all children at the age of 2, we can finally prevent them from being victims of the exploitation industry known as Media, not only will this step prevent them from being able to access pornography via brain implants or on the Internet, it will prevent them from content that describes nudity or violence, or comprehending adult language. While the previous eyeball removing and castration programs proved insufficent, we believe this is the ultimate solution to the problem of child exploitation."

    "Children, we are not doing this 'to' you, we are doing it 'for' you."
  • by SloppyElvis ( 450156 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:22PM (#15272455)
    Best quote from TFA: "the current rating system is drastically flawed and here is yet another reason why we need legislation to assist parents and protect children" [California Assemblyman Leland Yee].

    That is exactly what I need for my kids, the US Gov't writing some helpful laws to this end. Perhaps they could help by also removing those extremely violent newscasts on the cable and network news outlets. The newspapers too. They are FILLED with reports of violence and war that are to the detriment of my children. Can you believe the SCHOOL in my hometown also teaches children about sometimes very gruesome and unsettling violence in history class, and I need laws to stop this from harming them. I can't do it all!

    A good law to draft would be to transport all of my children to some sort of government educational facility, where they can learn to serve their country by putting down the violent people of the world through judicious use of lethal force. In this Utopian society, there would be no sex, because it is "dirty" and "very bad", and the law would provide men in jack boots to catch the teens "in the backseat trying to pick her locks", and they could "send them back to mother in a cardboard box".

    I need help with the music out there these days too. Everyone knows the only good use for so-called "Heavy Metal" music is in psychological warfare.

    As for games, we need wholesome, morality-based games. America's Army could teach my kids about responsible engagement, for instance. In that game, everyone plays as Americans! They only shoot "terrorist-looking" people, the way it should be.

    And offensive movies should be re-cut. Take the terrific job done on "Brazil" (the love endures all ending). That movie was a real downer before some fine studio exec had it corrected.
  • by misleb ( 129952 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:30PM (#15272538)
    Seriously, small children not only see breasts every day, they often SUCK on them! What exactly are we protecting children from by censoring nudity (breasts in this case)? Now, censoring gratuitous sex I can almost understand, but simple nudity? Come on.

  • According to the article, Bethesda does not deny that "mature" content was on the disks. From the ESRB:

    "When we brought the topless female images to Bethesda Softworks' attention, they confirmed that the art file existed in a fully rendered form in the code on the game disc."

    That is to say, the ESRB has been consistent about judging the content within the game itself, not the content added by modders. This is consistent with the stance taken on Grand Theft Auto. The issue at present is should conte

    • That is to say, the ESRB has been consistent about judging the content within the game itself, not the content added by modders.

      Consistently stupid. If it requires a modification to the game files, and is not accessible via gameplay, the experience is not part of the game as delivered. If you let your children play games on computers where they have access to change the installed files, well, you open it up to both rearranging existing content to change, substantially, the experience and to third-party

  • by Aero ( 98829 ) <erwin71m@gmail. c o m> on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:56PM (#15272831)
    One of the extras on the Shrek DVD has someone talking about how they did it for that movie, because it made the movement of clothing over the characters' bodies as they moved more realistic. So somewhere in the depths of Dreamworks's render farm, there's a nude Princess Fiona mesh. (And a nude Shrek, and Farquaad, but only go there if that's what floats your boat...)

    It's only a matter of time before most 3D models use the same technique, because the technology is there and it does make things look better. So what's a developer to do? The nude character mesh has to be stored somewhere in order to get the clothing overlaid onto it.

    If it were up to me, I'd slap little pasties on the female nipples reading "THANX ESRB". Heck, put 'em on the male nipples too, just to be Fair'n'Balanced.

    The real solution is for America to get over itself. A teenager will see more pokey nipples in the clothing stores flanking Gameslop in the mall, and with a lot less effort, than in half a dozen videogames. (When the heck did mannequins all get pokey nipples, by the way? I stopped going to malls for the last few years of my first marriage, and when I started up again a couple of years ago, all the female mannequins had been molded in very cold rooms, if you know what I mean...)
  • I have heard conflicting accounts about this nude mesh. Some people insist that it is only accessible via a third-party modification (via adding a third-party created nude texture and mesh to replace the original files created by Bethesda). Other information indicates that the mesh is in the game's data directory, but in order to see it in the game you need to rename the file or something. Still other information indicates that there are separate meshes for underclothing and the body, which means that if
    • Both, actually.

      There's the shipped male-torso-with-nipple that is used on female bodies but covered with a bra. All that's needed to use this one is replace the bra texture with nothing; so, it's in the game, but it's not actually meant for female bodies (it's got everything in the wrong places).

      Then, other modders have reskinned the female torso to make "proper" breasts. This requires installing a mod to override the textures.
    • Its the male skin. Which was ment to be topless. You can remove the bra and put it on the female model.
  • Anyone remember Giants: Citizen Kabuto? The Sea Reapers were female merwomen and in the overseas version they were topless. In the american version there was an added texture which censored it- but you just have to delete this file and suddenly there's nipples.
  • Personally, (Score:3, Funny)

    by Gannoc ( 210256 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @04:16PM (#15272999)

    I need horrific violence _and_ exposed nipples to really jerk off properly. .. ..

    Help me?

  • If you look at your guy, you've nowhere to carry all that stuff that you see when you open your inventory. There's only one possible place for all that stuff could be stashed, and given the frequency with which other characters put stuff in your or pull stuff out of you, I'm sure that's the real reason the game gets a 'M' rating.

    Besides with all the corpses and stuff that goes *splat* when you kill it, it'd probably give kids under 10 nightmares to play it anyway. So really the ESRB is not only completely

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!