For its release in Japan, aspects of The Evil Within have been censored by its publisher in an effort to earn a more acceptable rating from the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization, the country's ESRB equivalent. That doesn't mean Japanese gamers will be left without any way of seeing the game be as gorey its designers intended, thanks to a DLC pack that will be made available to fans who preorder.
Speaking with Famitsu (as translated by Siliconera), ZeniMax Asia general manager Tetsu Takahashi explained that the changes were made in order to avoid a rating that would have restricted its ability to market the horror game. "If we were to make it the same way as the foreign version, it'd be rated CERO Z and we felt that it'd be best to release it the way the creators make it. However, that would limit the sales and advertising, so we'd lose the opportunity to reach out to as many customers possible," he said.
The CERO Z rating is for people ages 18 and up only--effectively the equivalent of the ESRB's Adults Only rating, which is rarely used. The alternative was for publisher Bethesda Softworks (a subsidiary of ZeniMax) to shoot for a CERO D rating, which is recommended for those ages 17 and up--basically an ESRB Mature rating.
And that's exactly what Bethesda has opted to do, though it still plans to offer that CERO Z experience to some. The regular version being released at retail in a censored form will carry a CERO D rating, but those who preorder will receive access to a "Gore mode DLC." This won't be included on the disc itself, but will allow gamers to download content that gives Japanese gamers the uncensored experience that would have warranted a CERO Z ratign.
Takahashi says that modifying the game to earn a CERO D rating "won't have an effect on the game itself." Combined with what he describes as "a vast amount of preorders," this route seemed like a natural option for the company.
It's unclear at this point as to whether this DLC will also be made available to those who don't preorder and, if so, how much it will cost. If the DLC does end up being sold for money, it wouldn't be the first time that mature content was made available as DLC. New copies of The Saboteur famously came with a code enabling nudity; secondhand buyers wanting the same had to buy the DLC on its own.
Fortunately for those of us outside of Japan, we don't need to worry about The Evil Within being censored, but it does raise the question: Would you preorder a game or pay for DLC in order to get all of the mature content the designers intended? Let us know where you stand in the comments below.