GameTrailers, by way of video podcast "Invisible Walls," has ripped the ESRB to shreds following the forced removal of Fallout 3 content from the site. Using the kind of language that has killed elderly women, editor-in-chief Shane Satterfield and co-star "Grumpy" criticized the way in which the ESRB has handled the promotion for Bethesda's latest game, likening their activities to those of the Mafia.
GamePolitics handily transcribed some of the show comments, which you can read after the jump. You can also listen to the full thing, which kicks in after around the 26-minute mark. The basic story, however, is that the ESRB ordered the removal of Bethesda's material from GT, which obviously hacked them off. In response, GameTrailers made its own violent Fallout 3 video, which the ESRB had no jurisdiction over. However, the ESRB allegedly retaliated by forcing the publisher to ask GT to take it down, under the threat that GT and that publisher might not be able to work together in the future.
Naturally, this has disgusted the GameTrailers crew and if this is how it went down, who can blame them? The ESRB seems to be going the way of the BBFC -- flaunting power for the sake of it and protecting its own dignity rather than the needs of game makers. From the sounds of it, the ratings board went above and beyond both its duty and its jurisdiction, seemingly just to make a point.
The ESRB is now in a convenient position where it has become the standard for the industry, and as such, can act how it pleases. Absolute power, however, corrupts absolutely. While its job is a necessary one, things like this breed nothing but contempt between the board and the industry it claims to serve. Whoever was in charge of this rather bizarre and unnecessary Fallout 3 situation might want to reconsider whether they want to work for a ratings board, or the Chinese government.