Bethesda frustrated by differing censorship laws

With Fallout 3 being subjected to special censorship in Australia so it may appease that country’s ridiculous government, Bethesda’s Pete Hines has discussed how frustrating it can be to tackle the various censorship laws around the world. With standards differing from country to country, it can be difficult to keep track of who allows what and what needs to be altered where, as the game’s project manager explains:

“The frustrating thing for us is that the standards and rules can be so varied across territories, that we work with five or six ratings agencies and each one has different ‘hot buttons’.”

In one place nudity is a big deal but violence is fine, and in another place drugs are a problem but nudity is fine.

I guess that’s the way of the world – not every country is the same. You’re not aiming at one target, you’re aiming at six different ones, worrying about how each one will feel about different things.

We just go through and make the game that we want to make. We have our eyes wide open, mindful of the things that could be flagged up and how we’re going to resolve them if that becomes a problem.”

Of course, it’s a shame that games have to be censored at all, and I think that the very fact that some countries allow what others ban is proof that allowing them in the first place isn’t really that big of a deal. So, America won’t allow you to say f*ck on most of its networks — it hardly makes that country safer to live in than England, where televised swearing is very common. 

Censorship, it is stupid. Thus ends the philosophy lesson.

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James Stephanie Sterling
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