Sep 20, 2011

Posted by in News | 5 Comments

ESRB Says: T for TOR!

Those sneaky folks down at the ESRB finally got around to rating Star Warsâ„¢: The Old Republicâ„¢, giving it a “T” for Teen.

For those that don’t know, the ESRB is the Entertainment Software Rating Board in the United States. It is a “non-profit, self-regulatory body” that is there to “empower consumers, especially parents, to make informed decisions” about video games, i.e. if some game has too much graphic (or awesome!) content for children. Many gamers often see the ESRB as a silly entity, but it performs a pretty important function: it has allowed video games to avoid some of the nastier allegations leveled at the industry (a la Jack Thompson, Carole Lieberman, etc), precisely because it’s self-regulated. By voluntarily accepting a ratings system, it adds an element of responsibility to the video game industry.

Why cover this? Well, aside from my job at Ask a Jedi essentially being to over-analyze anything and everything, it’s important for the longevity of any MMO to get a “favorable rating.” Too low and you risk putting the more mature gamers off, but too mature and you end up eliminating some of the younger crowd through parental restriction.

Keep the plundering and pillaging to a minimum!

So what does T for Teen mean? I’ve included the actual rating here, which includes the following description: “Blood and Gore, Mild Language, Sexual Themes, Violence.”

To quickly run down what each means:

  • Blood and Gore: – includes some dismemberment, which is of course a staple in lightsaber combat.
  • Mild Language: – some mild curse words, but nothing your mother would get too uptight about.
  • Sexual Themes: – Shake those go-go boots! Suggestive, but nothing even resembling Mass Effects mostly-clothed bed romps.
  • Violence: – It’s not a puzzle game. Except, of course, for puzzle bosses. This isn’t Hello Kitty Online!

So to recap: Violence is in, mild potty mouths, some sexually suggestive things (it’s Bioware, there are romance options), and possible dismemberment, which for the purists is perhaps the more exciting option. This probably ends up in the sweet spot of the rating system, although most MMOs seem to fall in the “T” area. Left out, perhaps, is the Alcohol portion – what this means for the cantina lifestyle, I cannot say.

What do you think of the rating?

  1. Any chance that it isn’t a bad idea to read into this and surmise that the game must be really close to release? How could it not get its rating if it really isn’t close?

    • Well, ideally it’s indicative of a release date coming soon. The ESRB has to have the game for 30 days before they’ll issue a rating on it, which means that they are going through the hoops to get the game released.

      I didn’t want to add even more speculative fuel to the fire. :)

      And as we all know: Holiday 2011

    • Sheol Satansfaust says:

      Sounds reasonable. In Germany SW:TOR is also rated 12+ by USK (German self-monitoring of entertainment software) and Amazon Germany posted (erroneously?) 21st of October when I pre-ordered SW:TOR at the end of July whilst that release date changed to “unknown” on their page. But back to topic: The rating seems to fit and was expected. Since Episode I-III, SW is no longer the legacy of my generation (40+), so we will see how many youngsters with their need to express themselves ingame in their inherent way will enter the game (The Barrens inc). I hope it will be possible to leave chat channels ;)
      But – I’M SO EXCITED!

  2. I think “T” is a fair rating. I don’t think it should go as far and “M” by any means. However I think they may be pushing the limits of the Teen rating, by what I’ve heard. heh. I think it’s a completely reasonable rating though.

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  1. Teen ESRB rating | Swtor Life - [...] was reported two days ago, by various fansites, that Star Wars: The Old Republic received Teen rating from ESRB.…

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