We previously reported on the Street Fighter V censorship debacle, when senior product manager Matt Dahlgren explained the reason for the change in R. Mika’s taunts was in order to keep the games Teen rating, and retain the game’s “family friendly” image.
The answer didn’t seem to satisfy many fans as they weren’t convinced that it even made sense, or if the series has ever been considered “family friendly.”
Now, a recent investigation done by independent journalist William Usher seems to shine some more light on the situation, but unfortunately doesn’t clarify it entirely. When asking the ESRB if the game was at risk of being rated M (for mature), the representative had this to say:
“After receiving a final rating submission for Street Fighter V and based on the content depicted in the game and overall context, ESRB assigned a T (Teen) rating with content descriptors that include Mild Language, Suggestive Themes And Violence.”
This statement doesn’t necessarily give too much insight, as the initial rating could have been very different. However, the representative did share some more insight, explaining how games have a pre-review process to determine a games rating.
“ESRB provides an informal pre-review process, which is open to all developers and publishers who submit their game for a rating. ESRB does not tell developers and publishers what to put in a game, but we do provide general guidance regarding content that would most likely result in a more restrictive rating. It is then up to the developer to decide how to proceed. Given the confidential nature of this process, ESRB does not elaborate or provide details about which games nor the content that may have been pre-reviewed.“
That being said, there’s no evidence showing that the change was made independent of the ESRB rating. The official rating for Street Fighter V was given on November 4th, with the first footage of the censored taunt being made public on November 7th.
It is quite possible that the change was made between the end of the second beta and the official rating of the game, so it could have been made to coincide with the game’s teen rating.
While this doesn’t exactly clear things up entirely – we’ll keep you guys posted if anything new comes out.