Dishonored has gotten plenty of press lately, and it just recieved a little more in the form of its ESRB rating. Many games of late have been released with stricter ratings, and Dishonored is no exception – the ESRB just gave it a rating of “MA” for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, and Strong Language.
What does this mean for Dishonored? Personally, I don’t believe it amounts to too much – only that younger players will (perhaps rightfully so in some cases) have a harder time getting their hands on a copy. However, given that Dishonored appears to be marketed towards an older crowd anyways, it hopefully won’t have too much effect on its sales. Mature themes have been a constant in games for the past decade, and oftentimes make for a better and more complex story (The Witcher franchise comes to mind almost immediately in this scenario).
ESRB had this to say on the matter:
This is an action game in which players assume the role of Corvo, a royal bodyguard who has been framed for treason (i.e., assassinating an empress). As players help Corvo exact revenge on those who betrayed him, they can use pistols, crossbows, swords, and grenades to kill human enemies in ranged and melee-style combat. Violence is sometimes accompanied by slow-motion effects and gurgling sounds from Corvo’s victims. Certain weapons result in dismembered limbs, and attacks are accompanied by exaggerated blood-splatter effects. Some environments depict mutilated corpses on the ground or hanging from the ceiling. During one interactive sequence, Corvo brands a restrained man’s cheek with a hot iron; in another, players use electric shocks to interrogate a blindfolded man in a chair. The game depicts some female characters in revealing outfits and includes some sexual/suggestive dialogue (e.g., “Hey sweetheart, you want to play with me? You’re a lot cuter than my regulars,” “This one thinks only of whores,” and “Sell your wife into prostitution, I’m sure I can get you a good price.”). The words “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “a*shole” can also be heard in the game.”