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Default Age of Conan - Rating Information @ Official Site

February 6th, 2008, 02:30
The ratings are in and it's nipples for some, beheadings for others. No mention of miniature American flags though.
Since we’ve just gotten our ratings, and since it’s the topic of endless speculation, I can now give you the full and complete story on what you will and won’t see in each “version” of the game.

Please note this isn’t a design decision or something we can reverse. It’s a legal (or as good as legal) requirement to sell the game in that particular territory.

With that said:

The US version is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. If you buy the US version, you will not see nipples.

The German version is rated 18+ by USK. The German version has full gore, but will not have decapitation, dismemberment, and over-the-top type fatalities.

The “elsewhere in Europe” version is rated 18+ by PEGI and is unchanged.

That's what I know and what I can tell you.
More information.

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February 6th, 2008, 02:30
Some of this is being contradicted over at the shack

Some confused coverage out there.
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February 6th, 2008, 06:05
Egad! Not nipples again! When will the assault on the shores of this poor, innocent nation and our blissfully nipple-ignorant children stop!? Thank God there's ratings boards to save us from having to explain such horrible, horrible things to Dick and Jane! Oh my! Did I just say "Dick"? Egad!
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February 6th, 2008, 06:15
Aye, everyone knows nipples are unholy abominations, and we should shield our children's eyes from ever seeing them. No nipples, at all, until they're 18?

What? Babies? What about them?
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February 6th, 2008, 09:26
They're flown in, as you probably know, and raised on Coca Cola. Common knowledge.
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February 6th, 2008, 10:21
This is terrible. I wanted nipples. Now I have to pretend the boobs have nipples on them. I mean, the boobs arent banned, just the nipples. But can you truelly fully appreciate boobs without nipples? I cant, therefore I am upset.

— this just in: I am probably not as retarded as previously assumed!
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February 6th, 2008, 15:02
The German version is rated 18+ by USK. The German version has full gore, but will not have decapitation, dismemberment, and over-the-top type fatalities.
The removal of the above parts is really a shame, because a lot of Age of Conan's artistic expression revolved around those parts. It is what primarily distinguishes it from other MMORPGs and a necessary part of the setting.
It is a deliberate part of the game. Not to entertain but to express something i.e. brutality.

This just makes it even less sympathetic that they chose to censor it in Germany.
Last edited by Asbjoern; February 6th, 2008 at 16:27.
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February 6th, 2008, 15:28
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Aye, everyone knows nipples are unholy abominations, and we should shield our children's eyes from ever seeing them. No nipples, at all, until they're 18?

What? Babies? What about them?
That one is obvious … babies view nipples as purely functional feeding devices. The potential moral objection comes in when they transition from functional to 'frickin' cool'.

That I have no problem with - it is a typical 'parental guidance' thing. But where I run into a problem is when you are worrying about such content in games that are rated M - these are already saying they are intended for people old enough to work and drive and nearly old enough to vote and die for their country … but they are not ready for pixilated digital nipples? Eh?

— Mike
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February 6th, 2008, 15:46
Lol, that was to be expected.

But I find it absurd - on a totally different level.

I sometimes get the impression as if some developers just put in so much that it provokes a reaction - which is childish, imho.

It's like someone saying : "OMG ! It's CENSORED ! w00t ! The devs ROCK ! They left it IN ! Didn't let them influence from those BASTERDS ! Gotta buy it IMMEDIATELY !!!!!!"

On the other hand I see it ten years later: "Rape ? Yawn. Decapitated heads ? Yawn. Bowel torn out ? Yawn. Nothing of this stuff is interesting anymore."


There are a few points I ask myself:

- How much violence must be put in to keep people who buy a game rather for its "artistical expression of violence" still interested ?

- Will this eventually evolve in something like "Dawn of the Dead" ?

- Isn't this in fact double (morale) standards with cutting the one thing and leaving the other thing in ?

- What goes on in the minds of developers who want to push the envelope in putting violence into a game - what goes on in the minds opf developers who really want to put vilence into game anyway ?

- Are non-violent games

a) uncool
b) therefore won't be bought
c) therefore won't provide good sales ?

- Are violent games

a) cool ?
b) therefore WILL be bought - just in case "to let's see what's been cut anyway !" ?
c) will therefore provide good sales ?


Of my theory is right, and violence is "cool - then there's something VERY wrong imho -> and THAT will imho lead to rather more violence in a sociewty because of its "coolness" instead of something else.

This disturbs me.


And as a sidenote: A few days ago I read about a scientific study which says that aggresiveness results in the production of the "happyness hormone" Dopamin …

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 6th, 2008, 21:26
@ Alrik: That dopamine thing is very interesting—lots of interesting points.

Violence is undoubtedly an inescapable part of the human psyche, and there will probably never be a teenager who doesn't say " Cool, he was decapitated?" about a game scene, unless that teenager perhaps has seen and experienced that level of violence in real life.

Because modern life and the rules of society restrict us (hopefully) from expressing violence up close and personal, I think expressing it within non-psychotic, non-voyeuristic limits, in video games is completely acceptable, because it's a fantasy. However I also think at some point a line does have to be drawn between ghoulishness for it's own titillating aspects, and realistic combat situations.

Does a high level of violence in games equate to coolness and does that make people want to be cool by being violent? I don't think so—I think the people who have that type of mentality will be violent anyway. In other words, the people use the games, the games don't create the people.

Is a lack of violence uncool?
Not in many situations, puzzle, adventure, etc—but violence usually exemplifies conflict, and conflict resolved = winning. As long as you have that tie up, its hard to make a 'cool' game that is totally violence-free outside those genres.

I think many times the violence is stylized and formulaic, and the whole core of rpg leveling systems built on killing rats and "evil" entities is a legitimization of violence that allows people to express frustration and anger in a venue where it is harmless to others.

Just some thoughts.

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February 7th, 2008, 02:04
I mostly asgree with you, magerette (some very good points posted), but yet I'm the type of person whi just cannot understand why someone would like to play an "aggressive character" at all … Well, sometimes I *do* understand it (when I'm frustrated myself ), but on the other hand i just don't understand why there are so few games (especially RPGs) with no combat in it.

There even is a whole genre almost entirely focused on battle: RTS. Or TBS.
(Except from the "building" sub-genre of it.)

I mean … Few, very few developers try an attempt on something full with dialogues and text like PS:T.

There must be a reason why nobody does it. Develops games with lots of text.

Instead, there's "action" - thought to appeal to people.

And, well, I realize that I've been asking this again and again … And never found answers that satisfied me.


The other point that really worries me is the underlying structure: I still believe that we "learn" through games - ways of dealing with things.

And again I realize that I've been wondering about this quite a long time, but never found answewrs that satisfied me, again.

In a way, I'm just frustrated that only ONE direction of the development of games is taken - and no others. Because most of the people say "it wouldn't sell".

Why have a "clone army" of Action-RPGs; I'd far rather see a "PS:T clone army" - well, not exactly an army, but many, many more of these games.

It's liker adventure games dying out. No-one bothered., No-one developed them anymore. Adventures were dead.

And why ? Because LucasArts said in Europe were no customers for that genre anymore ? To which all other developing companies followed ?

Or is it just easier to develop a mindless hack & slash clickfest (sorry that I'm so harsh) than a an artistical and story wise challenging game ?

Is there no-one anymore able to develop demanding, story-intensive games ?


There must be a reason that there are so few adventure games and so many action games.

And I strongly believe that these reasons can be found on a meta-level: The way and the structures and decisions behind devreloping games. The way developers, marketing-guys, accountants think about making games, games themselves, and even more importantly, about US.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 7th, 2008, 02:39
Alrik wrote:
Or is it just easier to develop a mindless hack & slash clickfest (sorry that I'm so harsh) than a an artistical and story wise challenging game ?

Is there no-one anymore able to develop demanding, story-intensive games ?
If you're talking about action rpgs, yes it's easier to develop them but imo they are fading out in favor of other influences, FPS in particular, which I don't think cost a whole lot less to develop—but sell a lot more. This is what the market is supporting right now, but it's not all bad. I think the indie market will pick up the slack and provide the games you are looking for, if the market in turn supports them.


Well Alrik, I'd discuss this with you further, but we are derailing this thread from it's true focus—nipples or no nipples.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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February 7th, 2008, 03:26
In a game featuring decapitation and dismemberment, it's probably for the best if nipples keep a low profile (ouch!).

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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February 7th, 2008, 14:28
@magerette: Okay.

@all:

Another thought that just arrived in my brain :

"We want to provoke the strongest reactions - nothing more !"

This discussion is in a way the best marketing they could have.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 10th, 2008, 23:02
I had a thought today.

Of a thought pattern.

It goes like this:

Violence = Mature
Cozyness = Immature

I think this would explain quite a LOT of things, for example "western" RPGs often being so dark (in both theme & graphics).

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 11th, 2008, 12:38
If you're talking about action rpgs, yes it's easier to develop them but imo they are fading out in favor of other influences, FPS in particular, which I don't think cost a whole lot less to develop—but sell a lot more. This is what the market is supporting right now, but it's not all bad. I think the indie market will pick up the slack and provide the games you are looking for, if the market in turn supports them.
Genres don't necessarily come with lower production costs, and action RPGs are definitely not implicitly cheaper or "easier to make".

Sure, some genres TEND to be relatively low-cost, like turn-based wargames or modest adventure games, because they require relatively few hands to make, but it's not necessarily so.

I can promise you that games like Diablo 2, Titan Quest, and Hellgate London were NOT cheap to make.

You also mention FPS games as not costing a lot to make, which is also a very bad assumption. You need only look towards Crysis and Call of Duty 4 to realise that we're not talking small potatoes.

—-

About violence.

I agree there are cases where developers use violence for the sake of violence, for the sake of being "cool" or popular.

However, in this case of Conan, the world is known for its brutality and violence. Not to have a very heavy dose of violence would be like removing elves from Middle Earth - it's just wrong.

Whether you like playing aggressive characters or not, the world is violent and in my opinion, the digital representation should be as close to the spirit of the world as possible. Maybe I'm too much of a purist, but if they elect to base their game on an established fictional world, they should stick to what's there.

Of course, it seems to me that it's what they've tried to do, but are simply not allowed because of various censoring laws. Thank god I live in a country where we get to make our own decisons.

That's just me.
Last edited by DArtagnan; February 11th, 2008 at 12:47.
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February 11th, 2008, 14:01
I agree with D'Artagnan. If you want to do a Picasso exhibition you can't say: "Ooh, I don't like the cubic things. I think I'll leave them out". Nor can you advertise a Mozart concert and then only play Bach, Haydn and Beethoven.

Robert E. Howard created Conan and in his work, the women, weak or strong, were all pretty scantily clad and Conan himself was a violent warrior. This is how the Conan world IS. No matter how many good intentions you may have or how many psychological arguments you put forth you can't change the fact that if you remove either element you have already started creating your Picasso exhibition without the cubism works.

You want to attract customers to your cinema complex with the fancy THX label? Fine go ahead … but if your facilities don't match the criteria specified in the THX certification notes, then you can't have it. Why is the Conan label any different?

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February 11th, 2008, 16:13
Conan has captured the flag!

Can't say I'm impressed with a capture the flag pvp thing going on in Hyboria.
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February 11th, 2008, 17:34
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Genres don't necessarily come with lower production costs, and action RPGs are definitely not implicitly cheaper or "easier to make".

Sure, some genres TEND to be relatively low-cost, like turn-based wargames or modest adventure games, because they require relatively few hands to make, but it's not necessarily so.

I can promise you that games like Diablo 2, Titan Quest, and Hellgate London were NOT cheap to make.

You also mention FPS games as not costing a lot to make, which is also a very bad assumption. You need only look towards Crysis and Call of Duty 4 to realise that we're not talking small potatoes.
You're quite right, D'Artagnan. I didn't state that very well. I didn't mean to imply that AAA arpgs or FPS games were cheap to make, just perhaps cheaper than the dialogue and story intensive rpgs that Alrik was referring to where writing branching text options, scripting complicated NPC interactions, alternate paths and endings and so forth, takes more time and people, and hence costs more.

Obviously a lot depends on the specific game. The Chosen, say, with a smaller dev team can be made for a lot less than NWN2 and looks and plays as well or better technically, while Eschalon undoubtedly cost less to make than Hellgate but looks and plays at a far less sophisticated technical level. It appears to be a money thing to me.

My remark about FPS was meant to read "don't cost any less to make than arpgs but are selling better." Sorry for the ambiguous phrasing. I'm not in disagreement with your points at all.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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February 11th, 2008, 21:11
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
You're quite right, D'Artagnan. I didn't state that very well. I didn't mean to imply that AAA arpgs or FPS games were cheap to make, just perhaps cheaper than the dialogue and story intensive rpgs that Alrik was referring to where writing branching text options, scripting complicated NPC interactions, alternate paths and endings and so forth, takes more time and people, and hence costs more.

Obviously a lot depends on the specific game. The Chosen, say, with a smaller dev team can be made for a lot less than NWN2 and looks and plays as well or better technically, while Eschalon undoubtedly cost less to make than Hellgate but looks and plays at a far less sophisticated technical level. It appears to be a money thing to me.

My remark about FPS was meant to read "don't cost any less to make than arpgs but are selling better." Sorry for the ambiguous phrasing. I'm not in disagreement with your points at all.
Naturally, you're right about involved and technically advanced RPGs taking long to develop and requiring significant funds to produce, though I'd say it also depends on where it's produced. I don't know the facts, but I'd be willing to believe that The Witcher - for instance - was cheaper than something like Diablo 2 (adjusting for the time of release) - but required a ton of man-hours to develop.

Then again, Diablo 2 took Blizzard (even then not a small company) 3.5 years to develop and even though it's not exactly sophisticated in terms of NPC interaction or story depth, it's shock full of content - primarily in form of a ton of art, sound, and things of that nature. Also, Blizzard take pride in working on a product until it's very polished and balanced (though D2 might just be the least polished/balanced game they ever made), and those extra 6 months of fine-tuning and testing that they like to do can't be a pushover in any way.

However, I understand what you're saying and I agree that in some ways, most action RPGs are less involved, I'd just say that AAA titles of the genre take a relatively comparable amount of work to any of the big sophisticated CRPGs.

In any case, I think we understand each other, so no need to waste more thread space on it
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