The title says it all. I find myself wondering what kind of ESRB rating this game can expect. It seems to fall into a kind of puzzling gray-area for reasons which I will discuss shortly.
On the United Kingdom version of the Assassin's Creed website, they say that they expect a rating of "16+" from the PEGI (the insititution responsible for rating games in Europe). In my experience, the "16+" rating is comparable to a "Teen" rating here in the United States.
I'd like your opinions on this subject. But first, some thoughts of my own.
Below are the themes most often responsible for a "Mature" rating:
I don't see much opportunity for sexual content in this game. It takes place in ancient times, an era in which sex was not glorified like it is today. Sex happened, of course, but it wasn't the currency and obsession of the age. Besides, I don't think Altair has the time in his busy comings-and-goings to take off his cloak and wrist blade to "lay with" some Middle-Eastern maiden. Sex has no place in this game.
The language in Assassin's Creed will be of the dialect of the time. Besides not being English, I'm sure their language won't include the same crass profanities that ours has. I don't think we can expect warriors in the year 1191 will be spewing F- and S-words when charging into battle. Not gonna happen.
I can certainly see how "The Powers That Be" might become uptight about a game based upon killing. Altair is a trained assassin, after all. But it's not the kind of bloody, frivolous and senseless carnage that has come to define the "Mature" rating. Yeah, it's killing. But if the trailer footage is any indication, it's clean, realistic in blood "output," and realistic. Altair treats each of his victims with respect, instead of contempt. I don't think Altair's gonna be cleaving off any heads (or other extremities) with his wrist blade.
So there you have it, some of my thoughts on this topic. And don't mistake me for the pacifist-type, either. I can accept and understand blood and violence in a Mature-rated game IF IT's REALISTIC.
Instead, my point is: If Ubisoft stives for realism, and keeps in mind the historical period in which the game takes place, and doesn't purposefully disrupt the game with needless sexual content, there's no real reason that this game won't be rated "Teen." I saw more heinous violence in "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion," and that game was rated "Teen" when it came out.
So the floor's open to you good folks. I don't want to hear the tired bickering between "Teen" and "Mature" enthusiasts. I don't want to hear which rating you think is better. Rather, let's have an intelligent discussion about Rating and how it relates to Assassin's Creed.
Assassin's Creed is a truly new and unique style of game. There really hasn't ever been anything quite like it, and I'm curious about how the ESRB will handle it.
Ubisoft has the power to make this game truly classy in its approach to portraying a fascinating era of history and handling the violence with both maturity and discretion.
I know that on other game forums, game developers sometimes stop in to add their two-cents. It'd be great to hear some similar input from the Developers on this site. (Hint... hint...)