LEIPZIG, Germany--A prominent developer has blasted the American Entertainment Software Rating Board, saying he thinks its ratings system "absolutely bizarre."
Julian Eggebrecht, the president of Factor 5, came to that opinion while trying to get a T for Teen rating for his company's forthcoming dragon fighter, Lair for the PlayStation 3. In order to do this, the San Rafael, California-based studio went through a process with the ESRB over "weeks and months," where it tweaked every bit of the game that the ratings body wanted it to.
Eggebrecht said, "You can set up to 5,000 people on fire, and they run around and scream, and that's fine because there's no blood." The executive was not impressed with the games rating system in the US and called it "problematic." He added, "It's a flat-out bizarre system, and I think it has no relation to what is happening in other media." He gave examples of violent movies such as Bonnie and Clyde, Natural Born Killers, and A Clockwork Orange.
Eggebrecht outlined how he and his colleagues across the Atlantic were "very concerned" that Manhunt 2 was banned in the UK by the British Board of Film Classification. "An outright banning cannot happen [in the US], " he told the delegates at the conference, "That Manhunt 2 got banned in the UK... It's a very scary development."
He said that he understood that the problem with the game, although he hadn't played it himself, was that because the gamer played as the protagonist, who during the game commits a series of gruesome murders, the player would be identifying with him in an "even more satisfying way" than Stanley Kubrick or Anthony Burgess would have envisaged with A Clockwork Orange. However, "People want to push the envelope and push the artistic impressions and the artistic content of games. If they're allowed to do it in movies, why aren't they allowed to do it in games?"
Eggebrecht also says that he wants to see more sex in games. He told the audience, "Games do not have sex and there is something wrong with that because it says essentially that games are what children play."