Outside the US, rating boards that handle video games are usually more governmental, as opposed to the ESRB here. As such, their ratings carry government permission, that it’s the government’s view of a game and what is or is not allowed. Such rating boards have the power to demand changes to games or outright refuse to let them be sold.
Australia has a notoriously strict rating board when it comes to video games, so it’s something of a surprise when Press Start, an Australian game site, reported recently that Cyberpunk 2077 would be released uncensored and unedited. It has received an R18+ rating (roughly equivalent to an NC-17 film rating here in the US) for “high impact themes, sex, violence, and references to sexual violence.” Given the significant amount of violence seen just in demos, as well as the thoroughly exhausting character creation system, which will be letting players customize their character literally down to their genitals, this marks an unusual entry for Australian gaming.
The same report also indicated that while the game will be uncensored in Australia, it will not be so lucky in Japan. Japanese standards of censorship have long been recognized as draconian for games and other media being produced within the country. It is to be expected that they would be applying those same standards to games being imported into it as well. The proposed changes are reported as follows:
- Added underwear to naked male/female characters
- Some sexually explicit content will be revised
- Selective revision of dismembered limbs and exposed viscera
- Revision or removal of billboards and graffiti shaped as genitals
CD Projekt RED has not made any specific comments regarding what changes, if any, will be made for particular regions or per individual rating boards so far. We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.