Metal Gear Solid V gets rare ESRB 'sexual violence' warning

MGS 5 is the second videogame in ESRB history to receive the warning.

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It might not be a surprise to hear that Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has been given an M rating by the ESRB, but the US regulatory group has also specially warned that some of the game's content features sexual violence.

An ESRB representative told GameSpot that Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is the second game to get the "sexual violence" content descriptor. The first was Animamundi: Dark Alchemist, a visual novel released for the PC back in 2006.

Warning: some Metal Gear Solid V spoilers follow.

The ESRB describes the game's content as featuring "blood and gore, intense violence, sexual violence, and strong language," with its ratings summary giving an indication as to the off-screen events events that warranted the warning.

"This is an action game in which players assume the role of an elite soldier through military missions in Cuba," wrote the ESRB. "Players infiltrate various bases and use pistols, machine guns, and rocket launchers to kill enemy soldiers. Firefights are highlighted by realistic gunfire, slow-motion effects, and large blood-splatter effects. Players can also employ stealth attacks (e.g., choking, knife stabbing from behind) and have the ability kill non-adversary characters/prisoners. One cutscene includes a depiction of blood and gore (e.g., a character's intestines exposed during a dramatic procedure to remove an object). The game includes an audio file in which a female character is sexually assaulted by male characters; while there is no visual depiction, sounds of ripped clothing and struggle can be heard. The words 'f**k' and 'sh*t' are heard in the dialogue."

Though it's not clear which characters are depicted in these scenes, fan speculation on Reddit has suggested that the scantily-clad sniper Quiet could be the victim of these attacks. Following criticism over Quiet's choice of outfit, MGS director Hideo Kojima said there was more than meets the eye to the character.

Discussion

414 comments
AceRoccola
AceRoccola

It's sad that we still treat video games so much more harshly than film and even television. If someone is raped on TV it gets a TV14 rating. If the sounds of an assault are included in a game suddenly it's the end of decency. Blood and gore, exploding intestines, brutal close combat kills? Cool. Let me hurry up and buy this game for my kid! Wait...there is a scantily clad character?? SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE.

SlimeSwayze
SlimeSwayze

My concern here is that Kojima's take on women in games has always been exploitative at best, and at worst women (and violence against them) are fetishized to the the extent that they are barely human.  He has never shown himself to have the storytelling ability, insight, or subtlety to successfully handle serious subject matter.  When you tell stories and you can't get above a childish/adolescent view of the world, there are certain subjects you just shouldn't tackle, and sexual violence is one of them.

dark_rising76
dark_rising76

The audio tape must be pretty bad to give the game that rating. 

tightwad34
tightwad34

There sure as hell isn't going to be anything in a video game that I haven't already seen in the movies, or real life for that matter. It sucks that people's sensitivities can have an effect on what gets put out to the public. People need to realize that this sort of shit, no matter how wrong and vile, is a part of life. Not trying to justify it at all, but it exists and there is no getting rid of it.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I hope to God Kojima handles this appropriately; I felt uncomfortable just reading this article. Do it badly and this could turn nasty for him.

futureops
futureops

Poor watermelon,got drilled.It didn't got squished because it is one badass melon.

Tony Dumbassfindergeneral Canavan
Tony Dumbassfindergeneral Canavan

The watermelon is for if he gets lonely hiding in a foxhole...he just drills a hole in it and bobs your uncle..instant stealth woman i.e doesnt talk.

Tyler Bowen
Tyler Bowen

the watermelon gets raped? Poor watermelon =[

Nasif Arefin
Nasif Arefin

"The words 'f**k' and 'sh*t' are heard in the dialogue." ESRB please.

WR_Platinum
WR_Platinum

The hipocracy of people in the US. Blood violence and gore is acceptable. anything sexual including sexual violence: "For what purpose though?" "It shouldn't be included unless its tasteful"  lol so sexual violence is ok if its "tasteful"? No form of violence is "tasteful". Cut the political correct crap.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith

Because there is a rape scene.... keep rape out of games and you wouldn't have this problem dumbass.

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

People are saying that it should be in the game to deal with 'adult' content. For what purpose though? Is it necessary or relevant to the story? Or are they just being exploitative and using this for attention? I don't want developers to go anywhere near rape if its just so they can go 'see games can include this too!' Who needs it? That's just cheap exploitation. Give the embarrassing way that games handle sex scenes I'd hate to see how they'd deal with rape. 

You have to wonder why they would include this and the deliberately undressed Quiet model after everything that has been said about misogyny and sexism in the last 12 months. After all of that, and as tired as some are hearing about it, this happens. It seems very deliberate to me. 

Another thing: people are saying that oh films include it and no one bats an eye. There aren't too many mainstream films that would include a rape scene today. Decades ago they would have included it but not now if you actually want a PG13 rating and people to see your film in America. That said, films in the independent market can include extremities like sexual violence because the filmmakers know it'll catch the eye of the mainstream media and generate more interest in their work... 

Stefan Darmanin
Stefan Darmanin

Question.... Why does that man have a watermelon in his hands? xD

Colter Knox
Colter Knox

What a crock of zealots. Bring it. Matters no bit. As long as @hideoisgod is at helm it matters not to me. @foxengine on @ps4 yes please

mikemaj82
mikemaj82

We can thank Night Trap for the creation of the ESRB. heh.

LJNkickstarter
LJNkickstarter

NOw i wanted this game even more! Curse you Kojima hehe:)

Michael D
Michael D

whats the other game that got this warning?

Scorch_22
Scorch_22

There's that screenshot with that mysterious melon again.

Patohua1
Patohua1

Well, there goes any chance of me playing this game. I refuse to support any media with sexually violent content because that would just make me part of the problem. Sexual violence has no place in media, whether it be music, movies, or games.

Stephen Stolicker
Stephen Stolicker

a bunch of over protective moms who want the world to raise their kids for them, while simultaneously trying to keep their kids "protected" from the world.

vackillers
vackillers

So here we go around running around this bullshit again are we? So its perfectly alright for movies to some absolutely wacky shit like the Human Centipede / Saw / with various other rape scenes that are extremely explicit but when a game doesn't anything remotely close to that it gets the fucking hammer brought down?  Something should be done about this shit its so tiresome and ridiculous that games get targeted for absolutely everything in todays culture and society when you say RAP videos singing about doing bitches in alleyways and raping some hoes and the psychopathic shows like the Following that are extremely disturbed but thats all okay.. how dare a video game do anything remotely close to realism right?


ESRB has it listed as mature with clear indications whats in the game fucking game, what more do they want?

dysonlu
dysonlu

lol as if ratings matter.  I've seen in stores 12yo kids buying games like CoD, or rather their dad is buying it for them.


This changes little in terms of MGS's target audience.

Heydar Zobeydi
Heydar Zobeydi

don't worry, trust kojima, if he likes the new voice , so will we

Jev Renton
Jev Renton

and you know what? parents are still going to ignore it.

bk2fut
bk2fut

@AceRoccola I think that's a bit of an exaggeration. Back to the Future has "rape" (technically) but it's handled in a mild/non-graphic way. The manner in which the sexual assault unfolded in this game horrified me, I would give it an 16+ (EU rating system) or 15 (UK rating) as it's depiction is an ultra-realistic one. Also TV14 is the American rating system and I find the ratings nuts....Family Guy is always a 15 in the EU (if not 18), The TV series Hannibal is an 18 rating (episode 1 might be rated 15) (and I found it unreal to see TV14 for it in the US in many episodes).

So in my view, I think it's a shame the US treats TV and Film so lightly in their age ratings.

bk2fut
bk2fut

@dark_rising76 It turned my stomach.

A young girl is crying, while we hear a man tell another prisoner to do things to her...it's sick and is handled poorly with little contribution to the story (other than to make the player vilify the bad guy more...which is not needed, should have been done more gradually (so give hints, or reveal the villains vices slowly) in TPP....over the course of various missions for example)

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@WR_Platinum  I wouldn't say it's about making violence "tasteful", I'd say it's more about making it pertinent. 

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

@WR_Platinum Well please tell us, what would be the point of including a rape in the game? You seem to know so well. 

Ghosthunter54
Ghosthunter54

@Patohua1 It doesn't matter to you how they portray it? I mean, sexual violence does happen. But it doesn't change your opinion if the game is condemning it or condoning it by how it happens in the game?

crix01
crix01

@vackillers Those movies are not for kids, neither is this game. It's just a warning, the game is not banned.

fizzy-wo
fizzy-wo

@vackillers Like I said to another dude's post, it's because of the "games are for kids" bullshit mostly our parents' generation and older are always spewing. Remember the controversy over when Lara Croft was getting slapped around in the Tomb Raider reboot from last year? Same bullshit. It's completely ridiculous.

TriggerManX97
TriggerManX97

@dysonlu Right, but to my knowledge at least, there were no Rape Scenes in any of the CoD games, hell not even Grand Theft Auto the most controversial game series of all time has never included a rape scene, and the problem isn't the fact that a rape scene is going to be in the game, it is about how the scene may be portrayed in a possibly distasteful way.

WR_Platinum
WR_Platinum

@biggest_loser Since you perhaps are part of the development team, let me answer your question with the form of another question: 


Please tell us what would be the point of not including rape in the game?


Since you seem to know so much I would like you to clarify it, but please, something that doesn't include the typical political correctness, because it is hypocritical.

dysonlu
dysonlu

Yeah but your reply has nothing to do with my comment.

WR_Platinum
WR_Platinum

@biggest_loser Again, your facts are just opinions based off of culture, doesn't mean its factual. You placed MW2 as an example, the game didn't get banned and the franchise currently continues to sell its titles, the same applies to Mass Effect, the media won't shut down anything, nor will they do it with MGSV.


Going back into history, back in 1992, Mortal Kombat brought outrage to parents with its intense violence, it was all over the news and parents were not approving of such games, it led to the creation of the ESRB and its rating system.

Guess what happend over 20 years later? intense violence and gore is ok! Hell, even cursing is now the norm when it used to be looked down upon on back in the 90's. 


Now does this mean its right or appropriate? Not really, but its now part of today's society. if you think extreme violence is perfectly fine, but a small portion of sexual violence is borderline not acceptable, then you are just like any other hypocrite who are just sensitive about the subject.



biggest_loser
biggest_loser

@WR_Platinum @biggest_loser  My facts are the hysteria of the right wing media and bringing more negative unwanted attention to the industry.

Mass Effect, Modern Warfare 2. All those games took heat. Look up: "FOX NEWS Mass Effect Sex Debate". 

What are your facts? A hypothetical? "It'll happen one day!" That still doesn't make it right or appropriate. 

(I had to rewrite my response since GS deleted the comment or it was pending approval for a video link I put in).  

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

@WR_Platinum @biggest_loser My facts are how hysterical the right wing media can be and the amount of negative attention they draw to games. Mass Effect anyone? MW2?

What are your facts? A hypothetical. Oh it'll be included in a game one day! Well that doesn't make it a) appropriate b) necessary or c) tasteful


Keep it out of our games. We don't need it. 

A reminder to everyone about the GRAPHIC SEX in Mass Effect!! 

http://youtu.be/PKzF173GqTU

WR_Platinum
WR_Platinum

@biggest_loser  Other game may have not executed it well, but that does not mean that it will never happen in games.You don't have solid facts on the table beside your own personal thoughts and opinions. I just asked you to not include political correctness. lol

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

@WR_Platinum @biggest_loser

Thank you for acknowledge my input on the development team. 

Games are generally terrible with representing anything to do with sex in a tasteful way, so what are the odds that they're actually going to use rape as a theme in the story and not just for exploitation and attention grabbing? That would be in extremely poor taste and bring more unwanted negative attention to the industry by the likes of Fox News, Anita Sarkeesian and any other conservative nutjobs. 

 I have my doubts about whether its there for any reason other than to shock us. Given the way that online communities also the word rape as a throwaway insult to one another without looking at its seriousness, we're not ready to explore it as a medium either. On a personal level, I find it an uncomfortable subject and don't want to burdened by it when playing games as well.