Hatred hasn’t been a title to shy away from controversy. The massacre simulator recently got taken off Steam Greenlight. It was however reinstated a day later Gabe Newell, Valve’s managing director.
Nevertheless, the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the organisation charged with the rating of games in North America, slapped the game with an AO rating- Adults Only. This rating is a rare occurrence, and an AO-rating is described by ESBR as “suitable for ages 18 and up for prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content, and/or real money gambling.”
Well, I’m not quite convinced why Hatred got AO rating while it lacks any sexual content, but it’s still some kind of achievement to have the second game in history getting AO rating for violence and harsh language only.
Even if this violence isn’t really that bad and this harsh language is not overused. The guy from ESRB (by the way – very nice, polite and cooperative one) told me it’s all about ‘the context’ which people they’re testing gameplay video on will see.
Which is understandable, as major gaming console manufacturers- Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo- have a strict policy of disallowing any AO-rated content to exist on their platforms. But in all honesty we don’t see the the ESRB changing their minds about this one, especially in North America where the wounds of certain mall / school massacres still run deep.