We already knew Rocksteady was upping the game when we found out last month that Batman: Arkham Knight had been rated Mature by US ratings board the ESRB, but now we know why. While the third in the Rocksteady trilogy still contains plenty of ‘battling thugs, examining crime scenes, and occasionally rescuing hostages’ according to the ratings info, there are also cut-scenes depicting characters getting shot, ‘large pools’ of O-negative at crime scenes and ‘a person torturing a character on a bloody operating table’. Violence is nothing new for the series but - if it wasn’t obvious enough from the recent Scarecrow starring trailer - Gotham is clearly getting serious in the absence of its darkly comic relief.
Especially interesting (disturbing) is the fact that ‘players can shoot unarmed characters and a hostage’. It’s unlikely that this means Batman has finally decided to join the NRA but the potential to shoot unarmed characters might stem from all those nasty looking Batmobile upgrades we saw last year at E3. Those ‘non-lethal’ rounds looked pretty lethal from where we were sitting, not to mention destructive.
More intriguing though is the nasty potential to shoot an unarmed hostage. This sounds like a literal Batman nightmare which could either suggest a fantasy sequence involving some of Scarecrow’s favourite hell inducing gas or taking control of a character with far less morals than the caped crusader. Add in some swearing and the clear addition of Gotham’s red light district and we’ve got a mature rating on our hands.
See the full ESRB ratings information below:
“This is an action-adventure game in which players primarily assume the role of Batman as he battles several villains spreading chaos across Gotham City. Players traverse a variety of locations around Gotham while battling thugs, examining crime scenes, and occasionally rescuing hostages. Players engage in melee-style combat using punches, kicks, and gadgets (e.g., batarangs, explosives). Enemies cry out in pain when struck, and some takedowns are highlighted by brief slow-motion effects and loud impact sounds. Some sequences allow players to use tank-like vehicles with machine gun turrets and rockets to shoot enemies; a vehicle's wheels are also used to torture an enemy in one sequence. Cutscenes depict characters getting shot (on and off camera) while restrained or unarmed. Large bloodstains/pools of blood appear in crime scenes and in the aftermath of violent acts; one room depicts a person torturing a character on a bloody operating table. During the course of the game, players can shoot unarmed characters and a hostage. Neon signs in a red-light district read “live nude girls” and “XXX.” The words “b*tch,” “gobsh*te,” and “a*s” appear in the dialogue.”