ESRB: 'Dead Island' Box Art Too Inappropriate for North America

Dead Island Box Art

Since the release of a rather graphic trailer in February this year, Dead Island has certainly had its fair share of buzz.

While the hype may have died down a little in recent weeks - hype is often followed by a splash of controversy. The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) have decided it necessary to censor the original box art for Dead Island in North America because of the corpse/zombie that is shown hanging from a tree on the cover.

The North American cover will now feature a more zombie looking figure that is alive (kind of) - as well as, more importantly, not hanging from a rope. However, the in-game logo will remain the same, according to IGN.

The ESRB released the following statement:

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.

dead island box art

The move will have zero effect on the gameplay for Dead Island, but it's sure to upset some folks who think that the ESRB is perhaps a tad over-sensitive. Their reasoning behind censoring the box art is to clearly prevent insulting retailers who may offended by the hanging figure - and subsequently wouldn't carry the title (which is bad for business).

This isn't the first time the ESRB has enforced changes to box art, they censored the box art for Valve's Left for Dead 2 back in 2009 - because of missing fingers on the mauled hand.

left for dead 2 box art uncensored

This could be good news, in a way, as the fact that the ESRB has stepped in could mean that Deep Silver is almost ready to give an official release date for the “first-person zombie-slasher/action-RPG,” as it is described by developer Techland. Before games go gold, the ESRB has to play through and rate them - so it could be the case that the team is clearing the final obstacle in any game's development process.

We certainly hope this is the case, the trailer for Dead Island was striking, both visually and emotionally, and despite some lackluster screen images, we can't wait to explore the island of Banoi, the setting for Dead Island and see if the game can live up to the huge expectations that the trailer has given.

What do you think about the decision to change the box art: over sensitive or sensible? Are you still looking forward to Dead Island? Let us know in the comments.

Dead Island is scheduled for release in 2011 on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

Source: IGN

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