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.
Grumpy: Wankers! ...I am just absolutely flabbergasted about the ESRB. They're a bunch of bleepwads sitting in Washington.
Grumpy: ...they get publishers to pull video footage. They assisted in getting the Fallout 3 ads taken out of Washington because some dumb bleepwit... on a bus got upset that they were showing images of decimated Washington...
Shane: Never watched a movie before!
Grumpy: Exactly. It's a futuristic, post-apocalyptic game. I am so sick of this nanny state... they are not a government organization. They are a body made up of unqualified nincompoops... unfortunately, they're taking the nanny state to the nth degree... They make the FCC look like a bunch of broad-minded, non-censorship individuals... It sucks that Bethesda had to pull all this Fallout 3 stuff, because it was bleeping good media...
Grumpy: ...nobody could get at it. But because some little toe-rag at ESRB decides to get pissed off about something, all that good work is gone... Good job, Bethesda. It sucks that they have to kowtow to the ESRB...
Shane: I hate the ESRB... The week before that we had gotten an exclusive on a trailer... suddenly we get a call... and the publisher is telling us to take it down because of the ESRB... The ESRB can only regulate media that the publishers send us. Anything that we create in-house, as GameTrailers, they can't touch... we'll make our own violent-as-hell trailer that they can't do anything about. So we did. We put it up, it was huge... then we get a call from publisher X [who said] "...the ESRB is putting pressure on us and so that bleep is going to run downhill to where we can't work with you guys unless you do what the ESRB says" ...they are like the frickin' Mafia... These people have totally gone like a frickin' power trip...
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