Stellar Blade Just Received An R-18 Rating In Its Native Korea
13.02.2024 - 14:17
Stellar Blade just earned an unusual distinction prior to release.
As reported by Insider Gaming, the game just received an R-18 rating in its native North Korea. The Korea’s Game Management Committee specifically referred to its nudity and excessive violence as the reasons for the rating.
The Korean agency does not give a fuller explanation for the rating. However, the cultural context in the region may be a partial explanation. The Korean video game industry primarily caters to a young male market, in contrast to how games around the world are finding a bigger audience among women. This may or may not reflect on the broader conservative South Korean society, but that conservative quality is certainly a factor as well.
As a result, as we have seen, Korean games commonly depict attractive women, in games like Crimson Desert and Lies of P, but Korean players can be incredibly sensitive against negative portrayals of men, especially when female characters are involved. Last year’s MapleStory finger gesture controversy, which would have been dismissed in a week in the West, led to game publisher Nexon giving a public apology, and deleting content in their games.
Within this context, the Korea’s Game Management Committee may be harsher than other countries and regions when it comes to rating content. To make a comparison, sports game Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Scarlet, which was published on PlayStation 5 and the Nintendo Switch, and prominently features young women in swimsuits as playable characters, received a CERO D rating in Japan. That’s a 17 rating, meaning it just about skirts around getting a full R 18 rating, but Team Ninja and Tecmo Koei managed to do it.
The rating certainly raises certain questions, if there is more adult content in Stellar Blade than we have seen from the previews from the game’s developer, Shift Up, as well as its publisher, which is actually Sony. Shift Up and Sony did seem to invite controversy when their developers talked about emphasizing lead character Eve’s bottom in their production. And Sony have made games which just about skirt the topic of sex themselves, so this really isn’t as crazy as it sounds. But it may not be the best choice for Sony or Shift Up.
While there are certainly games that have seen success catering to the sexualized depiction of women, there are broader tastes among gamers, especially as gamers themselves have gotten older. For example, games which explore father – daughter relationships, such as The Last Of Us, became popular for precisely those themes.
Ultimately, it’s more likely that Stellar Blade will get a rating at R 18 or above, which may limit the titles’ potential audience. Assuming that Sony isn’t looking at this as a replacement for one