DC may usually be considered the lighter, less mature of the two major superhero comic book companies, but there's no denying that Batman has always been on the darker side. The recent Christopher Nolan trilogy of films capitalized on the character's dark side and offered movie-goers a much more gritty experience than they had been getting from the competition at Marvel. The darkness of the comics and the Nolan films has definitely been an influence on the Rocksteady Arkham series and it seems like the upcoming console and PC adventure with Batman will be the darkest yet.
After a series of disappointing delays last fall, we are finally approaching the June release date (check out the Limited Edition bundle) of Batman: Arkham Knight. During an interview with IGN, Rocksteady founder and Arkham Knight game director Sefton Hill revealed that the game will be released with an M rating, unlike the previous two installments (Arkham Asylum and Arkham City), which were both rated T for Teen.
Details on why the game made the jump to M won't be available until the Entertainment Software Rating Board publishes its content description of the game, but Hill had the following to say about the decision to not tone down the graphic content:
"From our point of view, we never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind. We never did that in the previous two games... We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell."
Hill went on to explain that the team wasn't aiming for an M rating, but they aren't going to back down and change any content to earn a lower rating either. The game will definitely take a hit in sales by creating a roadblock for younger gamers to buy Arkham Knight, but Rocksteady isn't willing to compromise its vision just to create a more mass market product. Considering the lengthy delay the game already suffered, going back and revising content doesn't seem like a realistic option anyway.
"I'm not blind to the fact that [the M rating] does mean some fans will miss out... I don't want to be oblivious to that fact. It would have been wrong to water down the game and deliver a story we didn't believe in to keep the game 'mass market' or enable it for more people. We feel that's the wrong way to go about it. We said we love the story and we don't want to jeopardize that."
Although some portion of the target audience may be left out in the cold by the Mature rating, there's no denying that the somewhat controversial rating can also help the game by generating extra buzz. The success of the Nolan films have definitely proven that there is a large demographic that wants to see darker superhero stories and perhaps Arkham Knight holds the next great, gruesome Batman tale. Despite disappointment over the delays, the game's stellar trailers and promise that it will be the most realistic Batman simulator to date, already have fans dying to get a hold of the final chapter in the trilogy.
Do you think that Rocksteady is making a mistake by reducing the number of consumers who are allowed to purchase the game? Do you think a more severe rating will make the game more appealing to some gamers? Let us know in the comments.
Batman: Arkham Knight is set to release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on June 2, 2015.