Watch_Dogs’ Strong Sexual Content, Moral Choices and Topless Ladies Aplenty Revealed by New ESRB Rating (Mild Spoilers)

on April 14, 2014 8:00 AM

Today the ESRB finally published a new rating for Ubisoft’s upcoming Watch_Dogs, that will hit the shelves for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PS3 on May 27th while the Wii U version is supposed to hit in the fall.

Quite obviously the game received a “M for Mature” rating, and the blurb explains the reason with some quite raunchy details. Interestingly enough the rating is also different (and more detailed) from the old one published several months ago, meaning that probably some of the game’s content was tweaked during the additional time granted by the delay:

This is third-person shooter/action game in which players assume the role of Aiden Pearce, a hacker trying to find an evil mastermind. Players use pistols, machine guns, assault rifles, and explosives to kill various human enemies (e.g., criminals, police officers). When close to an enemy, players are able to shoot them in the head or knock them out with a black jack. Players have the ability to kill captives after (mostly) off-screen interrogations. Cutscenes depict further instances of violence (e.g., a man stabbed in the neck and shot multiple times). Combat is highlighted by cries of pain, blood-splatter effects, and realistic gunfire. The game includes several depictions of topless female characters. One prolonged scene depicts a topless women standing in a bedroom; another sequence depicts close-ups of topless women sitting down. The game also includes a few instances of sexual activity, including an obscured depiction of masturbation; a woman performing fellatio on a man; and a man thrusting against a woman from behind—camera angles obscure the sex act and no nudity is shown. During the course of the game, the central character is sometimes consumes large amounts of alcohol (the screen turns blurry); one sequence depicts characters using needles to inject themselves with drugs. The words “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “a*shole” can be heard in the dialogue.

The official descriptors are the following:

Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol.

It’s interesting to notice that those are also different from the original descriptors that were cited as Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language.

The passage from “Sexual Content” to “Strong Sexual Content,” from “Partial Nudity” to “Nudity” and from “Drug Reference” to “Use of Drugs” seems to indicate that the adult themes have been ramped up in the meanwhile.

The old rating has since been removed from the ESRB listings, but has been immortalized in an old article on PlayStation Lifestyle if you want to compare.

Looks like those that don’t care for sexual content and nudity in their games may want to look elsewhere this time around, but we already knew that Watch_Dogs tackled some pretty mature content. The ability to kill or spare captives after an interrogation is definitely something that has the potential to ruffle some feathers.

We’ll have to stand by and see if the usual pundits will pounce. Personally, I can’t wait to play the game (not because of this, mind you, but just because it looks and sounds awesome so far).

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.
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