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“Mature” Crossover Content in “E”/“Teen” Games Directed Towards a Younger Audience

I’ve thought about this issue for years. I have been made a bit uncomfortable with the idea of having content from mature games crossover into E or T-Rated games, especially when said content was not there at launch.

It’s almost impossible for a huge gaming fan like myself to keep up with as in the industry, I cannot imagine what it’s like for a parent who is not invested in this hobby. Wise parents would be making purchase or permission decisions for what their kids play based on the content that’s in the game, the ESRB, etc. But when a game like Fortnite starts as one experience, but then eventually adds content from Rick and Morty (adult TV show), Predator (adult movie), Borderlands (M-Rated movie), etc., I wonder if that is crossing an invisible line in terms of the trust that was there during the initial purchase or decision.

Fortnite is not the only culprit, by any means. Super Smash Bros. For Wii U added Bayonetta to the mix partway thru vis DLC. Even if younger player didn’t purchase the DLC, they’d be playing against a rather scantily clad woman from an M-rated game that the parents didn’t see as a part of that decision initially. By the time Smash Ultimate on the Switch showed up, Bayonetta was there at launch and a transparent part of that decision. Interestingly, the ESRB rating even reflects this. Both games are a e10+, but Smash for Wii U has the “Mild Suggestive Themes” connotation. Meanwhile, Smash Ultimate just flat out claims “Suggestive Themes,” even though much of the same content is there, including Bayonetta

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The crossover content itself is usually not “mature,” but the idea that it points to content that is much more adult in nature is what concerns me. Doom Guy being a post-launch piece of content for Fall Guys does not make the game instantly a bloody and graphic game (as Doom is), but still, that character was not a part of the initial “deal.”

Fortnite is rated T and a parent may have allowed there 11 year old to play the game after careful consideration. But now that same parent may be upset that the same game has pointed their child to IT/Pennywise, Deadpool, and other pretty harshly Mature-rated content that the same parent would have wanted to steer the kid away from. Can they watch Deadpool in game? No, but that’s not the point. The idea is that at time of purchase/decision, one thing was understood about what was in the game. That changed.

For many, this could be a small deal. Maybe even laughable. I’ve always thought it odd when there were toys on a shelf of a R rated movie or the idea that someone could buy Halo megablox. If the movie or game is not directed to kids, why would the kids product be based on that thing? Easy answer is money, of course. (And for adults, btw, the collectibles and “toys” make all the sense in the world) But at least with those, people know what they are getting. They don’t buy a starter Lego Set and 3 months later learn than free unlockable dlc gave the kid a physical Lego set for the movie 300.

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When it comes to crossover content, I just feel iffy about the idea that someone can buy a E-T game and suddenly be playing as Duke Nukem or something



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