Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

January 15, 2009 -

It's hardly a surprise, but the British Board of Film Classification has officially rated Sega's upcoming Madworld with an 18 certificate.

The BBFC noted that Madworld "contains very strong, stylised, bloody violence."

No edits to the game were required. As GamePolitcs reported last August, Sega was said to be working closely with the BBFC to avoid a ban such as was imposed on Rockstar's controversial Manhunt 2 in 2007.

A British family values group, Mediawatch-UK, has called for a ban on the bloody Wii title.

Madworld is scheduled to launch on March 31st in the U.K. Here in the United States, Madworld is set for March 10th release. The ESRB has not yet issued a rating.

UPDATE: Edge is reporting that Madworld has also been cleared for sale in Australia.


Comments

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

At least I can have somewhere to go as I needed the BBFC to sell Madworld on the Wii in the UK.

If Australia can't have Mardworld because of "no R18+ rating because of one man's opinion" then at least I can go onto Amazon.com and try to get the UK version.

 

But I do wish that I can buy it in Australia, I better pray for a MA15+ rating then.

TBoneTony

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

yeah no sign of a rating for it here yet, groups over here had their "ban the heretic" say about 2 months ago citing that the wii is a family machine, for family people and not for the blood crazed lunatics of the ps3 and 360.  Well it won't be the wii owners saving your arse from the alien hordes and the zombies, i guess they could bowl the wii remote at their temple...

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

I'm looking forward for this game.  I loved No More Heroes for its gameplay (though a bit repetitive).  The art might get on my nerves for a bit, but I love games that focus more on art, humor, and/or story than on reality.  Those games are the best (Psychonauts, No More Heroes, Okami, etc)

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Said a BBFC spokesperson to Edge Online:

“We clearly had no problems with MadWorld. If we had, we wouldn’t have classified it; it’s as simple as that.”

That is why I can't get behind the BBFC.  The numerous pros of that system notwithstanding, no ratings body should ever refuse to rate a game simply because it objects to the game's contents.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

It's the remit they have been given and would be the same no matter who were selected to rate them as we should ALL know by now after years of these stories dredging up the same stale arguments from the same people who fail to listen to the same facts.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

At least they're upfront about it. Let's not forget that they actually asked for cuts in Manhunt 2 (they refused to classify both the cut and uncut versions) and we also need to remember that the 18 certificate is not an anything-goes rating (numerous films are rejected classification).

But at least they are more upfront instead of the sneaky AO (essentially a ban too) rating.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Upfront about it?  Is that your excuse?  So in your eyes, it's okay for a government organization to have the power to ban media it doesn't like as long as they're "upfront about it"?  And what's sneaky about the AO?  Everybody knows the situation.

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

The BBFC is not a government organisation, it is not controlled nor swayed by politicians. And as was the case with Manhunt 2 the decision went to appeal and was decided in the courts. It is a publicly accountable organisation.


They have clearly laid out their position on MadWorld, that's what being upfront is about. The ESRB (or do you like ERSB?) hides behind the AO rating by saying that it's not their fault that AO is a banned rating, yet do nothing to change the situation, when it is their responsibility to the public on how consumers receive content. They provide guidance on ratings, they should also provide information on the AO rating, and as it is still interpreted as a pornographic rating by games companies they should educate the public and companies as to what content is expected in an AO rating and also remove the stereotype that AO means porn.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

"The BBFC is not a government organisation, it is not controlled nor swayed by politicians. And as was the case with Manhunt 2 the decision went to appeal and was decided in the courts. It is a publicly accountable organisation."

Might as well be.  The Video Recording Act, created BY the government, stated that all video entertainment must carry a rating before its release (paraphrasing).  The BBFC was designated as the ONLY authority to issue ratings, again BY the government.  They're goverment-backed, that's the point I was trying to make.  The fact that Rockstar had to go through this whole appeals process to classify the game puts the BBFC on a different level than the ESRB.  And they aren't swayed by politicians?  How do you know?

"The ESRB (or do you like ERSB?) hides behind the AO rating by saying that it's not their fault that AO is a banned rating, yet do nothing to change the situation, when it is their responsibility to the public on how consumers receive content."

Wrong.  They have NO responsibility to the public on what content the public receives.  Their responsibility is to provide reliable information about the content the public DOES receive.  And they say that it isn't their fault because it ISN'T their fault.  I don't see why it should be solely up to them to mop up when they didn't make the mess.

"They provide guidance on ratings, they should also provide information on the AO rating, and as it is still interpreted as a pornographic rating by games companies they should educate the public and companies as to what content is expected in an AO rating and also remove the stereotype that AO means porn."

Because it's sooo hard to look up the ESRB on the net and click on "Ratings".  As far as the stereotype of AO = porn, I suppose they could do a separate rating for games with heavy sexual content, but it's not something they should be obligated to do.

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

This GP story from the summer of '07 sums up my fealings on the AO rating.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Their letter back to you sums up mine.

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

So, you disagree with my statement that the ESRB's continued use of the AO rating completely circumvents its mission statement?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

No.  It does indeed compromise its mission to enable wise purchasing decisions.  But, it is through no fault of their own.  That's why I get fired up when people want to string up the ESRB because of a situation created by the publishers and retailers.  I agree the situation isn't ideal, but why should the ESRB shoulder all the work required for change?  Because the corporate bigwigs don't want to risk their image and sales?  To me, there just seems to be something morally wrong about that idea.

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

That's the tough thing: no one's really doing anything wrong.  Hypocritical sure, but not wrong.

I agree that the end result of an AO rating is not the ESRB's fault.  Still, the ESRB is failing its mission statement through the continued use of the AO rating and I think it should do something about it.

I also think console manufacturers should license AO games.  Especially when they constantly harp about providing games for all ages.

And retailers?  Well, I think if you sell guns or Cosmopolitan Magazine then you shouldn't have any issue stocking AO games.

Of course, the sticking point is retailers are free to not sell whatever they want and console manufacturers are free to refuse to license any games they want.  Silly as the reason may be.

I think if any change is going to happen, it's going to have to come from the ESRB.  Getting one person (in this case, the ESRB) to do something is feasible.  Getting Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and all the retailers to change their policies is unlikely at best and realistically, probably impossible.

For those reasons, I think the brightest hope for gamers like me - who want developers to be able to make whatever games they want - is the ESRB.

"Why should the ESRB shoulder all the work required for change?"  Because they'd be heroes to game creators and game players everywhere!

Besides, it's the right thing to do.

 

Andrew Eisen

P.S. - Dear Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and retailers.  Nothing's stopping you guys from doing the right thing either.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Fair enough, AE.  You and I are pretty much in agreement over 95% of this whole topic, anyway.  You're a good guy, I don't care what Derovius says about you.

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Lovely job on the juxtaposition there.

A British family values group, Mediawatch-UK, has called for a ban on the bloody Wii title. Madworld is scheduled to launch on March 31st in the U.K.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Thompson is gone. Now we only have Yee and Hillary who want government censorship and bannings on video games.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Hillary wont have time to worry about that in her new role.


Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

No there are still plenty of censor mongers out there.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Like the ESRB?

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

It would of been gorier. If only games could come out unrated like movies and music and books and plays can.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

I wonder what the game would have been like if they hadn't worked with the censor organizations that is the ESRB and BBFC.  Oh well, guess we will never know.  But its really hard to find the desire to defend the gaming industry from those like Yee or Thompson when the industry itself is so quick to hobble themselves in lieu of people like those two.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Haven't you worn through the skin on that drum you keep banging yet?

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Haven't you woken up yet?

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Funnilly enough I have heard conservative christians using similar language to justify their arguments too.  It's usually the last plea in a losing point of view.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Funnilly enough its usually the conservative christians which support the censorship you so love.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

The ESRB doesn't censor anything.  They evaluate the games and issue the rating.  It's not their fault that the AO rating creates a de facto ban.

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

"de facto" Or not to ignore it is beyond naive.  I prefer not to approach this issue with such a head in the sand manner as you seem to be.  The fact remains that if there is a change that a game will get an AO rating the game company in question will castrate itself in pennance.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

My head's not in the sand, I understand perfectly what's going on.  Calling the ESRB a censor group reveals how little you understand the situation, and also paints you as the one who's naive.  I don't really care about the AO rating issue that much, which is not the same thing as pretending it isn't there.  There are so many great games out there, I can't keep up with them.  How much am I really losing by not being able to play AO games?  To me, not that much, and even if I am, I can't miss what I never had.

I find this philosophy is less stressful than running around like Chicken Little yelling, "Waaaahhh, the censorship sky is falling!!!"

It just ticks me off when people want to unconditionally blame the ESRB for the decisions made by the publishers and retailers.

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Sometimes the sky does fall, ask the dinosaurs.  And if someone yells "hey look out", its naieve to stand there like some goob and wait to get clobbered.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

You sound like a conspiracy theorist.  Give me one good reason how the ESRB would directly benefit from deliberately using the AO rating to censor games.  By the way, placating the video game industry critics doesn't qualify as a good reason.

If you can't, your argument is missing that thing we call, "motive".  Auto-fail.

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

"Give me one good reason how the ESRB would directly benefit from deliberately using the AO rating to censor games."

Because they might find some content beyond what they find acceptable for an M rating.  No one ever "benefits" from censorship.  Rather its just a small group of ninnys who think that everyone should share their sensibilities.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

That's a lot of people whose character you're calling into question with no proof.  You're like a kid with a blindfold on, swinging wildly at a pinata that may not exist at all, for all you know.

In every job, you will run into a situation where you can't please everybody.  Does that automatically mean the people you couldn't please should question your integrity?

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

So you are saying that I should welcome censorship because it might "please" other people?  No, I'm not going to do that.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

If you were to judge the ESRB by some of the comments on this site and elsewhere, you would think the ESRB banned and censored more games than Germany, Australia and China combined.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

I know, some of us are as reactionary and dense as the very critics we condemn.

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

If the content had to be censored, chances are they could probably use the censors they threw in for the trailer i saw.  Even though I hated the fact that it was being censored, I thought it was still cool.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

So by keeping the ESRB in the loop for the game's content, thereby ensuring that they won't get popped with any surprises when it comes time to release the game, they're ruining the game?

Speaking as someone in the game industry, the more up-front you are about a game's content, the less likely you are to have to change things. The ESRB in particular only asks that all of a game's questionable content be disclosed. If it isn't, and the ESRB discovers that you withheld information, then it is extremely likely that your game will get changed, not the rating. That's just how they operate.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

"So by keeping the ESRB in the loop for the game's content, thereby ensuring that they won't get popped with any surprises when it comes time to release the game, they're ruining the game?"

Yes

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

Unfortunately, that's not how the industry works. I'll say it again, "the more up-front you are about a game's content, the less likely you are to have to change things."

Feel free to boycott everything with an ESRB rating, though.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

So the industry is doing Thompson's job for him.  Lovely.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

I find it puzzling that you are complaining about censorship in a game that hasn't been censored. I mean, I see where you're coming from; nobody likes censorship. But it doesn't apply to Madworld at all, since its yet to be threatened with an AO rating. Accurately labeling a game's content is not censorship.

And when all else fails, bring up Jack Thompson. The Godwin's Law of the gaming world!

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

And how do you know it hasn't been censored?  Them "working with" the ESRB and BBFC sort of implies that they stuck within whatever rigid paradigm given to them by those two organizations.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

You have no proof that it HAS been censored, aside from guilt by association (not a very compelling argument). "Working with" is not "censorship"; ALL console developers "work with" the ESRB. You kinda have to. It doesn't imply anything except that the ESRB is aware of exactly how violent the game is going to be. It has not been threatened with an AO rating.

Do you know how the ESRB works? You send them a DVD with a highlight reel of the most objectionable material in your game, and a checklist indicating which descriptors are the most appropriate. The length is usually about 10 minutes, tops. The ESRB gives you a rating, and assuming that you were honest about what your game contains, you don't have to change anything. Pretty much full creative freedom.

There is no "rigid paradigm" or secret plot to rig the system. Publishers who run afoul of the AO rating generally do so because they don't play by the rules.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

It seems that it is yourself who doesn't understand how the ESRB works.  Your explanation convinently forgot what happens if the ESRB assigns the AO rating.  In that case the testicle-free game company completely murders whatever artistic vision they have for the game and neuter themselves in hopes of getting an M rating.

That doesn't sound like creative freedom to me.  But hey, we should just put out thumbs in our ears and let ourselves play the victim to a ratings industry with underhanded censorship power and a gutless industry.  Sounds like a pretty insipid "trifecta" to me.

 

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

I'm actually pretty familiar with how the ESRB works. I've done a few submission packages for them at various publishers. But hey, you must know much more than me, what with your vast industry experience. As I said earlier (you ignored it, or missed it): the AO rating is usually only assigned when publishers don't fully disclose a game's violent and sexual content. When they're up front about a game's content, the ESRB essentially gives them the benefit of the doubt and they can do whatever they like, as long as the content matches the description given to the ESRB. If you claim "Suggestive Sexual Themes" and it's discovered that your game contains bare titties after it's released, chances are you're getting an AO sticker as a penalty (and a steep fine). If you claim "Partial Nudity" and those titties show up, you get to keep your M rating.

Seriously. That's how it works. You can conjure up as many theories about how the ESRB is ruining the gaming industry as you like... the rest of us will be enjoying all the great games on the market while you hyperventilate in front of your computer screen.

The problem with the AO rating is not with the ESRB, but with the console manufacturers: Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft are the ones preventing these games from getting to retail.

As for "artistic vision"... most games that run the risk of an AO rating probably aren't in any danger of being considered art.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

So you are going with head in the sand then?  Very well.  The rest of us are going to do our best to fight back against ESRB censorship.

Also: The neon filters that Rockstar put on Manhunt 2 to castrate themselves to get an M rating fucking make me physically ill.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

You do that. Lemme know how your one-man campaign against the ESRB works out.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

The content would have been the same. You're just believing the PR from SEGA.

Re: Madworld Rated 18 for British Market

So SEGA's PR department makes claims to make people NOT want to play thier games?  Uh, well I guess that would explain why they no longer have a console.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

 
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