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The Last of Us Part II to Contain Nudity and Sexual Content

The Last of Us Part II

The ESRB has given The Last of Us Part II an M for Mature rating, partly due to nudity and “sexual content.”

The official website for the game has now updated to include the ESRB’s age rating of M for Mature. This recommends the game is suitable for those 17 years or older. The content warning also includes:

  • Blood and Gore
  • Intense Violence
  • Nudity
  • Sexual Content
  • Strong Language
  • Use of Drugs

It should be noted the ESRB categorizes Sexual Content, Sexual Themes, Sexual Violence, Strong Sexual Content, and Suggestive Themes all differently.

The game’s prequel The Last of Us and its Remastered edition contained Sexual Themes (“References to sex or sexuality“), and its DLC The Last of Us: Left Behind contained Suggestive Themes (“Mild provocative references or materials”). While The Last of Us Part II is not listed on the ESRB website, the game’s official website shows the game will have Sexual Content.

“Sexual Content” is defined as “Non-explicit depictions of sexual behavior, possibly including partial nudity” by the ESRB. Strong Sexual Content would be “Explicit and/or frequent depictions of sexual behavior, possibly including nudity.”

When The Last of Us Part II gameplay trailer was shown during E3 2018, some were critical of main character Ellie being shown in a lesbian romance with another character. Concerns rose due to the character’s age (though it was later confirmed she would be 19), or using LGBT sexuality to deflect from criticism.

It also came at a time when many Japanese anime-styled games had their sexual content censored. It was later revealed that Sony introduced a policy to censor such content even at the “source” with developers in Japan. Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Asia President Atsushi Morita would later explain this censorship was to meet global standards.

Some felt it was hypocritical that The Last of Us Part II would likely show romance and possibly sexual scenes in a western developed game with realistic characters (which some felt were “ugly”), when Japanese games with anime characters were treated with such revulsion by Sony.

The criticism from all sides appear to stem from whether the sexuality or sexual scenes were depicted in a way to be romantic, artistic, or to titillate. Something that could be interpreted differently to different players, and that developers could create and implement to varying degrees of effectiveness.

With it seemingly being confirmed the game will have Sexual Content, what exactly will be shown? Will it be artistic? Will it show something some may consider more “explicit” than other anime games that had been censored? Will it be well done?

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!

The Last of Us Part II launches May 29th for PlayStation 4

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Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.