‘Destiny’ Gets Rated T for Teen By ESRB

Published 11 months ago by

Destiny - Hunter with revolver

If there’s a blockbuster first-person shooter coming out, gamers are going to be quick to assume that it’ll be rated M for Mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board — better known by its acronym ESRB. This board has been rating video games ever since 1994 after the original Mortal Kombat made its way onto the scene and appalled parents and politicians with its overtly violent nature.

While the aforementioned Mortal Kombat is a prime example of what equates to a Mature rating by the ESRB, a game that many assumed would receive a similar label, Destiny, will apparently be rated T for Teen.

Ditching the traditional man-on-man warfare that many consumers get up in arms about, Destiny instead focusses largely on pitting players against aliens of various origins in a bid to level up, unlock new equipment, and become the hero that Earth so desperately needs. Admittedly, the competitive multiplayer found within The Crucible makes it possible for humans to immediately make other players hit their expiration date, but when the animation for such an action is less ‘blood’ and more ‘floating into the air while evaporating’, it’s easy to see how the game scored a T for Teen rating.

Polygon reached out to Bungie to see how it felt about the rating, to which the company replied that, while the intention was never to turn down the content of its vision to meet a particular rating, the focus of the game is largely “bright, hopeful, and adventurous” to begin with.

“We’ve always set out to make games that lots of players can enjoy, and to build experiences that matter to people. For Destiny, we didn’t aggressively pursue one rating over another, though. We constructed foundational pillars that have guided development from start to finish. We wanted our worlds to be a place people felt good about spending time in. We wanted our worlds to be worthy of heroes.”

“For us that meant Destiny would never be reprehensible, but rather bright, hopeful, and adventurous. That’s a world that resonates with us, and we hope it resonates with gamers, too.”

Destiny combat screenshot

Given that there’s no intense violence, tobacco, drugs, or gambling found within the game, it’s easy to see why the ESRB gave Destiny the exact same rating as it did to the likes of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros.. Despite the fact that drawing that parallel makes the ESRB’s decision seem a little odd, Bungie’s comments make it sound as if the developer never intended to tell a dark and gritty story — although the fact that a faction known as ‘The Darkness’ is attempting to destroy mankind sounds pretty harsh.

Regardless, Destiny is a $500 million investment for Activison, and while it may not have banked on a teen rating, it’s good news for the publisher because the title can now find its way into the hands of even more gamers. That said, Activision’s other blockbuster franchise, Call of Duty, has never had a problem falling into the possession of a younger demographic.

What do you think of Destiny‘s T for Teen rating? Let us know in the comment below!


Destiny will be launching on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on September 9, 2014.

Follow Riley on Twitter @TheRileyLittle.

Source: Polygon

TAGS: Activision, Bungie, Destiny, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

  • bio

    That is surprising. Only because the same people who rated this game T thought elder scrolls online should be M. When it comes down to it… Does it even matter what the ESRB says any more?

  • Shalkowski

    Ratings don’t really matter umless you’re a game like Mortal Kombat. I honestly thought Halo should’ve been T too.

  • Nuvendil

    The main issue with the rating system is the words themselves cause confusion on the purpose. The game rating system is about appropriateness but the words “Everyone,” “teen,” and “Mature” suggest a target demographic. Think about movies: “Parental Guidance,” “Parental Guidance for people under 13,” and “Restricted” all portray the idea of appropriateness. But for some reason they have gaming setup with misleading terms. You can tell a story or have gameplay and design more oriented towards an older and more mature audience and the game not be rated M (the entire Xeno series for example, Metroid Prime trilogy, many Legend of Zelda games). You can also have a completely immature game get an M rating due to boobs, sex, profanity, etc (most of the GTA series, Ride to Hell, Saints Row). M means nothing in terms of maturity, it’s all about appropriateness. That’s why you have apparent oddities like Smash being the same rating as Destiny.

  • macghost

    Excellent move for marketing. I was surprised learning of this decision to make allow the game to be RATED-T. Nonetheless this is honestly a smart move. Think about the revenues.If it was RATED-M of course it would sell, young and adult demographics; example, Call of duty.
    On the other-hand, with this being a headline name especially coming from the studios of Bungie/Activision,it well have NO CHOICE but to sell to all demographics. Imagine how many kids the age 9-15 whose parents did not let them get COD GHOST or HALO 4 due to being RATED-M. Now when the kids ask for destiny the parents cant say no due to the rating.
    In result, possibly increasing revenue from sells by 25%-50% easily.

  • Cooper Anderson

    I’m kinda surprised at the rating considering the rating of the halo franchise which never made real sense to me.