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Why so serious? ESRB explains Batman: Arkham Knight’s M-rating

Batman Arkham Knight (10)

Spoiler warning: the ESRB isn’t known for keeping secrets, and it might reveal information you don’t want to see.

Batman: Arkham Knight is poised to take the popular interpretation of the Dark Knight’s universe into much darker territory than he has ever gone before. The ESRB surprisingly slapped it with the series’ first M-rating last month, and now it has an explanation as to why.

Bloody torture. A man strapped to a table screaming for his life. Neon lights print the word “nude girls” in Gotham’s red light district, and somebody drops the “G” word. You know… “gobshite,” if that’s even a word let alone an offensive swear. It must be The Penguin showing off his brilliant grasp of the Cockney dialect.

See the full explanation below:

This is an action-adventure game in which players primarily assume the role of Batman as he battles several villains spreading chaos across Gotham City. Players traverse a variety of locations around Gotham while battling thugs, examining crime scenes, and occasionally rescuing hostages. Players engage in melee-style combat using punches, kicks, and gadgets (e.g., batarangs, explosives).

Enemies cry out in pain when struck, and some takedowns are highlighted by brief slow-motion effects and loud impact sounds. 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.

Sounds intense. We’ll find out “why so serious?” on June 2 when Batman: Arkham Knight launches for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

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Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...