Gory Details Explain Batman Arkham Knight's Mature Rating

Mild spoilers: ESRB lists reasons for giving the Arkham series its first adult classification.

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Mild profanity and scenes of torture found in Batman: Arkham Knight have been cited by a ratings board as two of many reasons why the game will be the first in the series to receive a Mature (UK 18) rating.

Rocksteady Studios, the London-based developer of predecessors Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, appear to have crafted a darker tone for its third project.

The relevant information, found below, is blacked out as it qualifies as a mild spoiler. There are no revelations with regards to the narrative, but some in-game actions will characterize the extent of Batman's use of force. There are also some descriptions of scenarios, albeit with characters' names removed.

According to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board:

"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."

Rocksteady founder and Arkham Knight game director Sefton Hill recently said he was surprised to learn his game would be rated M. This was not his original plan.

"From our point of view, we never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind," he said.

"We never did that in the previous two games... We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell."

The developer also explained that early in the Arkham Knight development process, Warner Bros conducted a ratings analysis on the game and concluded that certain scenes would be likely to cause "issues." Hill received an email informing him that these scenes--which remain a mystery--might need to be cut.

Losing these scenes, which are reportedly central to the game, could have "destroyed" the project, Hill said. However, Hill later got on the phone and spoke with a DC Comics executive who agreed to allow the scenes to stay, though it's unclear if they were altered in any way.

Originally intended to be released in 2014, Batman Arkham Knight's release date has been delayed again, this time to June 23. The game is coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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