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‘The Last Of Us Part 2’ Given ‘M For Mature’ Rating By ESRB

‘The Last Of Us Part 2’ Given ‘M For Mature’ Rating By ESRB

Naughty Dog's much-anticipated The Last of Us Part II, due out on May 29th for PlayStation 4 (presumably it'll be playable on PlayStation 5, too), has received its rating from America's Entertainment Software Rating Board, aka the ESRB. And, surprise surprise, the verdict is M for Mature.

This will not surprise anyone familiar with the game's promotional trailers thus far, which have hardly shied away from showing the gruesome stuff (bringing new meaning to "stop, hammer time"). Nor will it shock anyone who played the first game, released back in 2013 on the PlayStation 3 and subsequently remastered for PS4.

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Looking back at the ESRB's guidelines for The Last of Us, we see the body note that the game contains "strangulations, pistol executions, stabbing attacks", "adult characters being executed at point-blank range", and "decapitations and dismemberment". Yep, yep, and yep. And yet, when I look around the internet I see some people, some players, saying this game is fine for players as young as 10? As a parent, reader, I despair, I truly do.

The Last of Us Part II / Credit: Naughty Dog, Sony Interactive Entertainment
The Last of Us Part II / Credit: Naughty Dog, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Part II will, certainly, feature more of this uncompromised violence. Thick, weighty, ugly violence, which separates itself from so much trivial murder in other games by feeling meaningful. That's one thing I will say, in support of the violence in The Last of Us: right up until the end, where it rather goes off the rails, nobody gets theirs who didn't deserve theirs. It's a fight of life against death, and the player is made to bear responsibility for their actions, throughout.

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The ESRB's M rating is for the game's "blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, sexual content, strong language" and "use of drugs" (which we saw in the game's release date trailer). It remains to be seen where PEGI, the Pan European Game Information board, will land on its own rating - but if it follows the model of the first game, it'll be an 18. Again, no surprise there.

Something of a surprise, maybe, is the inclusion of "nudity" and "sexual content" in Part II - the first time such features have been highlighted in a Naughty Dog game. Some outlets have speculated that this means we'll see some sexy shenanigans - and, yeah, sure, maybe we will. We know that Ellie, who's our main protagonist in Part II, is in a relationship of some kind with a character called Dina - that was shown at E3 2018. So perhaps those two will get to, um, seal the deal? At some stage? Oh good grief, someone erase that line from this piece.

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The Last of Us Part II / Credit: Naughty Dog, Sony Interactive Entertainment
The Last of Us Part II / Credit: Naughty Dog, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Anyway, that'd be nice and everything - but we're also led to believe that Dina dies in Part II, based on what trailers have shown us. That, or some other Very Bad Thing happens to her, which gets Ellie very angry indeed. Now, I've a horrible, horrible feeling that this "nudity" and "sexual content" could have more to do with the unfortunate fate of Dina than any happy fumblings between teenage lovers. We know Part II isn't going to flinch when it comes to awful stuff, so would it be so unlikely for it to stretch to a depiction of sexual assault?

NGL, I hope it doesn't go there. But whatever Ellie sees, in the release date trailer, seemingly in regard to Dina's fate, really has me thinking: yep, she's going to come face to face with a truly atrocious scene. Like, probably a bit like what Ellie went through with David, but more. And I needn't say more. Suitable for 10 year olds, yeah? Nah. Nah.

Featured Image Credit: Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Topics: Playstation, gamingbible, The Last of Us Part 2, The Last Of Us

Mike Diver

Head of Content at GAMINGbible. Former gigs include VICE Gaming, BBC Music, BBC Gaming Show. Author of 'Indie Games: The Complete Introduction to Indie Gaming' (2016), 'How to Be a Professional Gamer' (2016), 'Retro Gaming: A Byte-Sized History of Video Games' (2019). Contact: [email protected]