Batman is going to go to some dark places when Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Knight comes out on June 2nd 2015, so much so that the game is the first entry in the Arkham series that will be rated M.
While the ESRB has yet to give a reason why for the M rating, the news did come as a surprise to Rocksteady founder and Arkham Knight director Sefton Hill, “From our point of view, we never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind,” he said in an interview with IGN. “We never did that in the previous two games… We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell.”
“I’m not blind to the fact that [the M rating] does mean some fans will miss out,” he explained further. “I don’t want to be oblivious to that fact. It would have been wrong to water down the game and deliver a story we didn’t believe in to keep the game ‘mass market’ or enable it for more people. We feel that’s the wrong way to go about it. We said we love the story and we don’t want to jeopardize that.”
Hill continued to say that they have not included a gratuitous amount of blood or swearing, however the team “want to deliver a true end with no compromises, and it takes us to some dark places.” Early in development, Warner Bros did test the game to see if any parts of the game would cause issues, in which Hill received an email stating that these scenes may need to be cut.
Hill insisted that losing these scenes, which are reportedly central to the game, could have “destroyed” the project. After a conversation with an un-named DC Comics executive, the scenes were allowed to stay in the game however it is unclear if they were unaltered.
Given the long history of dark stories for the Dark Knight, most coming from classic arcs like The Dark Knight Returns, The Killing Joke, and even 2012’s Death of the Family arch, it’s hard to guess what Rocksteady has in stores for us.