GDC 2008: Sexual Content In Games "Terrifies" Developers
With all the fallout over sexual content in video games these days, the ignorant must certainly believe the industry is run by sex-starved, ultra-hedonistic, poorly adjusted "man-teens." But according to Brenda Brathwaite's speech at her "Hentai, Hardcore, and Hotties" during the GDC, it's actually quite the opposite.
Brathwaite, founder of the International Game Developers Association's sex special interest group, developers are "terrified of putting sex in games in case they get the AO rating, which is the kiss of death." She admits this is a perfectly rational fear, what with most retail stores refusing to stock "Adults Only" titles; this problem became abundantly clear last year when Rockstar's Manhunt 2 got slapped with the AO rating. They were forced to return to the editing room and resubmit for the "M" (Mature) rating; otherwise, the game would never have seen the light of day in most places.
On the other hand, Brathwaite says the rating system is stopping developers from making educational sex titles because it would automatically get the AO rating. Hence, no developer or publisher would be willing to make the financial risk. Some of you may be thinking about the much-publicized sex scene in Mass Effect, which garnered plenty of criticism late last year. However, as most gamers already know, the scenes in question (girl-on-girl intimacy), are a far cry from something X-rated, and aren't even in the same league as "torture-porn" movies. Brathwaite agrees, and says the content "didn't offer anything near a hardcore experience." As she said-
"Why is that not OK? Why is that not alright? If we don't have any sex in games at all, we're going to end up with just those happy Disney games."
Our sentiments exactly. But because the mainstream public will apparently never believe games are for anybody over the age of 10, sexual content will always be taboo. Oh, and she did make mention of that sex scene in God of War: Chains of Olympus, and she had to laugh: "If you were watching that on TV, you know with that kind of the vase wobbling on the table stuff, that would barely be a 13. Come on, that's almost Happy Days stuff." Gee...I believe I said something very, very similar in last weekend's Week In Review. See what we're saying?
2/20/2008 Ben Dutka