Back in February, it was revealed that Batman: Arkham Knight would receive an 'M for Mature' rating from the ESRB. It was a huge surprise, especially considering that the previous games in the series all received 'T for Teen' ratings. While there is plenty of fighting in the games, the series isn't especially violent - so, why the harsh rating all of a sudden?
Rocksteady Games founder Sefton Hill offered up an explanation, stating that the studio "never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind. We never did that in the previous two games...We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell."
It makes sense - the studio didn't want to limit its game by aiming for a specific demographic. Of course, it still begs the question: what's in the game that caused the M rating in the first place?
Well, the ESRB just released its reasoning behind the rating - and, after reading its statement, it starts to make a lot of sense. WARNING: some minor spoilers for Batman: Arkham Knight follow.
It seems that the majority of the report focuses on torture (which already seems extreme by Batman standards) featured in multiple scenes. According to the report, one of the sequences uses the Batmobile itself as a torture device, with the other appearing on a 'bloody operating table' - again, it sounds a lot more violent than any other Batman: Arkham game has ever been.
Strangely enough, the report also mentions a gameplay sequence in which "players can shoot unarmed characters and a hostage." It certainly doesn't sound like something Batman would do, but the series has flirted with other playable characters before...is it possible that players will take over as one of the villains during the course of the game?
The rest of the report is relatively standard: there's some bad language and suggestive signage throughout the environment, but nothing too extreme. Even so, it's hard to imagine that Batman's behind a bloody torture scene and a hostage shooting - just what is Rocksteady up to?
Fans still have some time to wait before they'll get any answers: Batman: Arkham Knight is set for release on June 2.