ESRB Comments on Dead Island Box Art Change

March 23, 2011 -

Earlier this week, we reported on an IGN story that the ESRB had shot down publisher Deep Silver’s first box art submission for its upcoming zombie title, Dead Island.  An alternate, ESRB approved version of the cover swapped out the silhouette of a hanging man with that of a shambling zombie.  IGN has updated its original story with comments from the ESRB:

“The video game industry has set guidelines about the types of content that are appropriate in advertising and marketing materials, which includes game box art. According to those guidelines the depiction in the logo was not compliant.

We never censor or dictate in any way what type of content can be included within a game. However, a game's marketing materials are seen by an audience that is much broader than that which actually purchases the game itself, so we enforce industry-adopted guidelines as to what is suitable for inclusion in these materials.”

Checking out the ESRB’s website, it would appear that the original art did indeed run afoul of those guidelines.  Here’s the pertinent bit from the ratings board’s examples of “content that publishers should avoid when creating qualifying advertising” (emphasis ours).

“Repeated blows or gun shots inflicted upon people/creatures, violent blows to the head, guns/weapons pointed at head, impaling, exploding body parts, guns/weapons pointed toward reader/audience, depictions of fatal injuries and/or suicide, strangulation/choking, inflicting wounds with swords/knives, kicks to the groin”

In similar news, the ESRB recently worked with Tecmo to ensure that the North American release of Dead or Alive Dimensions sported a cover that complied with its Advertising Review Council guidelines.  Kasumi, the game's cover girl, now shows a bit less leg.  Check out the difference over at aussie-nintendo.

[Disclosure: I freelance for IGN.]

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: ESRB Comments on Dead Island Box Art Change

I figured it had to do something with the man hanging from the tree.

As for the DoA Dimensions change mentioned in this article its seems like a pointless change since all they did was move her skirt up 2 inches.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: ESRB Comments on Dead Island Box Art Change

A boxart containing every single one of those prohibited depictions would probably be the best boxart ever.

Re: ESRB Comments on Dead Island Box Art Change

What about those ads for MGS4 where Snake apparently offs himself?

Hell, what about a Hangman game?

Re: ESRB Comments on Dead Island Box Art Change

If I'm remembering the ad correctly, there's no depiction of suicide.  Also, that may have been a Japanese ad that wouldn't have been approved by the ESRB.

What about a Hangman game?  What does that have to do with anything?  There's a DSi hangman game rated by the ESRB called Extreme Hangman but the art appears to follow the guidelines:

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ESRB Comments on Dead Island Box Art Change

They don't dictate, but they expect compliance?

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

Re: ESRB Comments on Dead Island Box Art Change

So Dead Space's dismembered floating arm was ok?

Re: ESRB Comments on Dead Island Box Art Change

Well, it wasnt exploding

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There are only 10 types of people in this world, people who know binary and people who don't.

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There are only 10 types of people in this world, people who know binary and people who don't.

Re: ESRB Comments on Dead Island Box Art Change

I remember going as far back as Grade one, my teachers having us play the hang man game; drawing out the noose on the black board, and the hanging stick figure as we got letters wrong. It didn't feel inappropriate and nothing wrong ever came of it.

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