Bethesdaan upcoming space role-playing game Starfield got the highest possible maturity rating from the Australian government’s official classification board, but the same board gave the game the lowest rating for sex.
The classification board released its decision on March 15, giving Starfield an R 18+ rating. At the time of writing, neither the North American Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) nor the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) have assigned ratings to Starfield, so it’s not yet clear how controversial the game’s content will be to audiences around the world.
Unlike the North American and European software rating boards, the Australian Government Board also rates film media. The R 18+ rating description on the government’s website indicates that the media is for adults only and retailers may require proof of identity for anyone trying to purchase it. Content that received this rating “may be offensive to a portion of the adult community.”
In addition to drug use, the Australian rating board also marked the Violence category with a red dot in the Strong Impact section, the second most important category of intensity. Both Themes and Language are rated Moderate, while Sex is given the mildest rating of None, indicating that the game does not contain any sexual content. Interestingly, the last category, Nudity, managed to register a bit, receiving a low score of Very Moderate Impact.
This might be a little strange to some, as Starfield seems to be following the pattern set by other Bethesda-controlled series, e.g. The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. While these games do not expose the player to any overtly sexual scenes, the most recent entries include romantic options as well as quests and themes centered around prostitution and femme fatales who lure victims with their sexual appeal. While Starfield seems to have a monumental tree of dialogues with a player make life or death choices As for other characters, not much is known yet about the companions you’ll find while visiting the game’s many planets, or how you’ll be able to interact with them.
Similarly, Fallout allows you to use various fictional drugs to temporarily enhance your physical or mental abilities, but these often come with withdrawal periods that lower your stats for a while, or even addiction that can degrade your character until they become their next fix. . The Elder Scrolls’ Skooma has similar physical stat boosts and addictive mechanics, but most of the gaming community seems to not accept its spread and use.
Installed in release on September 6 exclusive to Xbox Series X|S and PC, we may get more answers from Bethesda regarding the intensity of Starfield’s content at the upcoming Starfield Direct scheduled for June 11th.
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