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> 2006-05-04 - ESRB Madness
stargelman
post May 4 2006, 09:59 AM
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Want to hear something really silly? Ok, here it comes. The ESRB has revoked it's Teen rating for Oblivion and changed it to Mature. Why? Because someone made a mod that used a mesh that was burried somewhere in Oblivion's game files (but never used). This particular mesh is that of a female upper body. Topless. That, and because the level of violence and gore supposedly exceeds what the ESRB had expected.

What does that mean for the average gamer? Well, if you're living in the US and you're younger than 17, and your parents actually care about the ESRB rating, you might find yourself having a difficult time getting this game now. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the only consequence. From Bethesda Softwork's official reaction:

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.

Now perhaps it's just me, but that last sentence sounds as if it was a good reason to worry. What exactly does that mean, prevent "hacking" into Oblivion's art files? And how is this to happen retroactively, after the game has shipped? A clarification on this issue is required, and it should come soon and from someone in charge.

BethSoft's Press Release on ESRB rating change for Oblivion


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Olav
post May 4 2006, 12:52 PM
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Wow. Wonder how many millions Bethesda will loose because of this rating? Hopefully they've already sold the majority of the games already.

Anyway I'm sad to read that this was partially done because of one modder's work. Wonder how he feels now? I must admit I've downloaded that file myself out of curiosity. It has no effect after installing the beta patch though, so apparently Bethesda have removed/overwritten the old 'nude' file.

Not sure why Bethesda claims that there wasn't a nude female character that could be unlocked, since there was. Well not a character, but more detailed upper parts of all females...

Anyway, once again I hope Bethesda will make it through this and still keep working on future products.


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HyPN0
post May 4 2006, 12:55 PM
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QUOTE(stargelman @ May 4 2006, 10:59 AM)
Now perhaps it's just me, but that last sentence sounds as if it was a good reason to worry. What exactly does that mean, prevent "hacking" into Oblivion's art files? And how is this to happen retroactively, after the game has shipped? A clarification on this issue is required, and it should come soon and from someone in charge.

BethSoft's Press Release on ESRB rating change for Oblivion
*


My thought?
I think they said that because of good publicity.I think they will do absolutly nothing.

How can it happen retroactively?
Well they can temper with the patches how they want it.Some patches could actualy disable moders to do some ''hacking'' into Oblivion art files.If something like that happens,then modders would make their own patches that wouldn't lock those files.So it's rather pointles to do so.Modding community is already angry enough that .NIF exporter isn't out,this would just spice things up.I mean they're not gonna dumb down the CS are they!? blink.gif

And all that stuff about ESRB rating is simple....i'll say crap because i'm not alowed to say a stronger word.
Let's take an example:
QUOTE
TEEN
Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

MATURE
Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

Note:Quotes are taken from official ESRB web site.

So let's see:Exposing 13-16 people to crime,blood,and violence is OK,but when it comes to seeing a naked breast...Now THAT'S another story!!!Yeah, like they don't know what's sex at that age.Actualy these younger generations are doing it earlyer and earlyer these days wacko.gif

This could reduce the Elder Scrolls gaming population a LOT,considering how many players are under 17!
I have zero respect to ESRB rating.....
Offcourse this does not apply to me because i'm 20 (so i was told),but it's simply anoying.As i said before,i just hope they won't dumb down the CS and not tie the modders hands.Otherwise,they can kiss their older fans goodbye....

This post has been edited by HyPN0: May 4 2006, 12:58 PM


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stargelman
post May 4 2006, 01:31 PM
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QUOTE(HyPN0 @ May 4 2006, 12:55 PM)
This could reduce the Elder Scrolls gaming population a LOT,considering how many players are under 17!
I have zero respect to ESRB rating.....
Offcourse this does not apply to me because i'm 20 (so i was told),but it's simply anoying.As i said before,i just hope they won't dumb down the CS and not tie the modders hands.Otherwise,they can kiss their older fans goodbye....
*


Of course, that only effects people under 17 in the US.

Concerning dumbing down the CS: not going to happen. And even if they did that, who'd download that crippled version instead of the full one available pretty much everywhere (including here)?


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HyPN0
post May 4 2006, 01:38 PM
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QUOTE(stargelman @ May 4 2006, 02:31 PM)
Of course, that only effects people under 17 in the US.

Concerning dumbing down the CS: not going to happen. And even if they did that, who'd download that crippled version instead of the full one available pretty much everywhere (including here)?
*


Only in the US?Didn't know that.Still a lot of players are Americans smile.gif

Well they can add new features to CS but restrict some older.That would seem the only solution,and frankly it's not a good one.
Again,i think they said it just to get the proper publicity.I mean,what can they do now when the game is actualy out and a lot of teens have bough it?They should have think of this before the game was released.They had full 4 years. dry.gif

This post has been edited by HyPN0: May 4 2006, 01:46 PM


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Foster
post May 4 2006, 02:00 PM
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My concern is that, if they do install some nasty retro-activeness into their patches, it also effects countries that haven't decided to lower the ratings. The UK for example has always had Oblivion at a 15 rating (we have 12, 15 and 18 age ratings) - so that's somewhere in the middle of where the US had it. By doing something all it's proving is that companies care more about what the US thinks than worldwide markets and licencing authorities - granted I can understand why given the size of market/location of the industry etc. - but seriously, you're going to have a situation where any retroactive steps are going to be known about, and people are going to make choices before installing the mods/ buying expansion packs. If that's the case, won't it affect their profits even more than just leaving it be?


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stargelman
post May 4 2006, 02:06 PM
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QUOTE(Foster @ May 4 2006, 02:00 PM)
My concern is that, if they do install some nasty retro-activeness into their patches, it also effects countries that haven't decided to lower the ratings. The UK for example has always had Oblivion at a 15 rating (we have 12, 15 and 18 age ratings) - so that's somewhere in the middle of where the US had it. By doing something all it's proving is that companies care more about what the US thinks than worldwide markets and licencing authorities - granted I can understand why given the size of market/location of the industry etc. - but seriously, you're going to have a situation where any retroactive steps are going to be known about, and people are going to make choices before installing the mods/ buying expansion packs. If that's the case, won't it affect their profits even more than just leaving it be?
*


Nobody can force you to install a patch, so there's probably not really a problem. And I think all they'll do is remove that one mesh. The texture on it looks bad anyway smile.gif

Of course we won't really know until we know.


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HyPN0
post May 4 2006, 02:23 PM
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QUOTE(stargelman @ May 4 2006, 03:06 PM)
Of course we won't really know until we know.
*


Which brings me to another thought......
What's the big deal if it isn't IN the game?I mean it's in meshes(i guess),but it's not used in the game.

Modders would make this anyway.


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Foster
post May 4 2006, 04:52 PM
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QUOTE(stargelman @ May 4 2006, 02:06 PM)
Nobody can force you to install a patch, so there's probably not really a problem.


Nothing to stop them putting the patch on any expansion packs...


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Khajiit Overlord Rainer
post May 4 2006, 05:17 PM
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Rainer wonders if the Modders will just make a new mod for it anyway...

But Rainer is rather uninformed when it comes to modding.


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Nottheking
post May 4 2006, 11:52 PM
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Two words: publicity stunt.

To be honest, I'm suprised that the ESRB didn't pay heed to the violence level until now; keep in mind that it *IS* the violence, and not the potential for a "nude mod" that were the purpose of the "M" rating, as the Xbox 360 recieved it as well, though it was well stressed that such a "nude mod" would be impossible for the Xbox 360. Also note that the PC version recieved an additional "nudity" descriptor, while the Xbox 360 version did not.

As for the violence, I'm in favor of the newer rating for it. As I've stated before, the fuss over the "topless models," (which, as we should know, were mentioned to be in the PC version LONG before the game went gold) appears to be simply a "publicity stunt." The ESRB apparently erred in rating Oblivion the first time arround, and rather than simply say "we didn't pay close enough attention to the violence," rather, they decided to focus on the issue of the "nude model."

As for BethSoft's comments, they're nothing to worry about, I'd say. Chances are slim to none that they'll actually do anything harmful to modders, other than potentially patching the model out of the game. That was largely a "cover your (spotted owl)" action on the part of BethSoft. They likely had such a move planned out.

As for removing the "topless model" from the game, nothing'll stop people from re-adding it, or perhaps simply adding a better done version of it. (as I've come to understand, the one included in the game's materials of of low quality)

P.S. This forum needs a :spotted owl: emoticon, (almost) as much as the wizard ones.
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FoolishOwl
post May 5 2006, 01:34 AM
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Wasn't there some comment by the developers that they wouldn't include some "mature" themes in the game, in order to avoid getting an "M" label, and therefore losing sales? If I understand correctly, some major chain stores, like Target, won't carry "M" rated games at all.

I agree that the last sentence of the public statement from Bethesda is the most troubling part. The censors and their weird priorities are always a pain, but it's disheartening that Bethesda might go out of its way to accomodate them.
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ThePerson98
post May 5 2006, 03:26 AM
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So, that means morrowind should be rated M? I mean, people made nude mods for that. Better bodies simply has an option when installing for nude or not. So if you have to go do research and do a bunch of manual game modding to get nudity.

ESRB makes no sense.


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DoomedOne
post May 5 2006, 04:13 AM
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The girls of oblivion aren't good looking enough for me to give a crap about seeing them without their undies.

My 2 cents.


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HyPN0
post May 5 2006, 11:12 AM
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QUOTE(ThePerson98 @ May 5 2006, 04:26 AM)
So, that means morrowind should be rated M? I mean, people made nude mods for that. Better bodies simply has an option when installing for nude or not. So if you have to go do research and do a bunch of manual game modding to get nudity.

ESRB makes no sense.
*


The disucsion is not about the mod.In meshes that came with the game,there were some nude ones.and more importantly '' Bethesda is taking steps to ensure that modders can not continue to hack into Oblivion’s art archives to create partially nude figures''.How are they gonna do this?Modders are consered can they continua modding.I think absolutly nothing will happen.
QUOTE(DoomedOne @ May 5 2006, 05:13 AM)
The girls of oblivion aren't good looking enough for me to give a crap about seeing them without their undies.

My 2 cents.
*


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Duncan Frost
post May 5 2006, 11:53 AM
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This is stupid.. it's like the Hot Coffee mod for San Andreas...
Like, pretty much every game has a nude mod of some sort. Jedi Outcast, Jedi Academy, San Andreas, Vice City, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, hell, even Halo has some. So should we ban every game that can have nude content? No! Let's petition it.

This post has been edited by Duncan Frost: May 5 2006, 11:55 AM


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Akul
post May 6 2006, 11:32 PM
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At least they didn't get the Adult Only rating as San Andreas did.

BTW, in Europe it was alredy M.
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Ibis
post May 9 2006, 12:55 AM
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I had read about the Nude Upper Body Female option a few days after getting the game at the official forums. It didn't require a modder to make the option available - you could choose it for yourself if you wanted it by editing your .ini file. I also read that it was ugly though, so I didn't look further into it.


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Nottheking
post May 9 2006, 08:18 PM
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QUOTE(FoolishOwl @ May 4 2006, 08:34 PM)
Wasn't there some comment by the developers that they wouldn't include some "mature" themes in the game, in order to avoid getting an "M" label, and therefore losing sales? If I understand correctly, some major chain stores, like Target, won't carry "M" rated games at all.

I agree that the last sentence of the public statement from Bethesda is the most troubling part. The censors and their weird priorities are always a pain, but it's disheartening that Bethesda might go out of its way to accomodate them.
*


Actually, although I don't remember the proper quotes right off of the top of my head, (they are in the site's "dev quotes" section, though) BethSoft's take on the rating Oblivion would get, boiled down, came to:

"We're making the game how we feel it should; we don't really care which rating it gets, though there are some things we aren't including because we feel they don't belong. (like nudity)"
QUOTE(ThePerson98 @ May 4 2006, 10:26 PM)
So, that means morrowind should be rated M? I mean, people made nude mods for that. Better bodies simply has an option when installing for nude or not. So if you have to go do research and do a bunch of manual game modding to get nudity.

ESRB makes no sense.
*


No, there's a very clear line here; Oblivion actually has a toppless model included in the PC data files; Morrowind did not. The ESRB did change their guidelines to include content that was "hidden" in such a way. They do not count "second-market" content, like in Better Bodies, but they count content included in the original game, regardless of whether it's normally accessible, and, in fact, regardless of whether someone makes a mod to "unlock" it. Of course, if no one makes a mod to grant access to it, it's kinda hard for most people (and reviewers) to know that it's there...

QUOTE(Duncan Frost @ May 5 2006, 06:53 AM)
This is stupid.. it's like the Hot Coffee mod for San Andreas...
Like, pretty much every game has a nude mod of some sort. Jedi Outcast, Jedi Academy, San Andreas, Vice City, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, hell, even Halo has some. So should we ban every game that can have nude content? No! Let's petition it.
*


You're missing the difference here, between a "nude mod" and a "access mod." As I recall, of those, only GTA: San Andreas (not even Vice City) actually had nude content included in the base game. The ESRB apparently rates games based on all included content, regardless of whether there's access to it or not. They don't monitor mods, hence why the games that simply had "nude mods" made for them were not re-rated.

QUOTE(Akul @ May 6 2006, 06:32 PM)
At least they didn't get the Adult Only rating as San Andreas did.

BTW, in Europe it was alredy M.
*


Well, keep in mind that "nudity" is only worthy of an "M" rating. Actual sex scenes are what's needed for an "AO" game.

As for the European rating, which system? As I understand, the UK's system (BBFC, or something like that) actually has rated the game "14" since its release, and hasn't changed it. I think PEGI (what most of continental Europe does, such as France, and I believe Germany as well) rated it at "16" their closes equivalent to "M" from the start.
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