Batman: Arkham Knight has received an "M for Mature" rating from the ESRB, according to Rocksteady. The previous iterations of the Arkham franchise received a "T" for teen ratings. Founder of Rocksteady, Sefton Hill, mentioned that the rating had indeed surprised him as they have not made the game with a rating in mind just like they did with their previous games, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City.
The rating serves as an ensurance that no compromises will be made to the maturity of the content and the story of Batman: Arkham Knight,
and that certain themes could be too deep and mature for younger audiences. It is unfortunate that younger fans could miss out on the third and final part of Rocksteady's trilogy, but it would also be a shame for the developers to alter or gimp the original vision they had for Batman: Arkham Knight, to accommodate certain age restricted themes.
Sefton Hill explained in his own words,
"I'm not blind to the fact that [the M rating] does mean some fans will miss out... 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."
"From our point of view, we never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind. We never did that in the previous two games... We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell. In terms of creating the story, with such strong characters, sometimes they lead you in interesting directions. They lead you because you know who they are and you build the world around that."
He further added,
"As the end of the trilogy, we have every villain in Gotham working together to destroy Batman,"
"It's unavoidable that some bad stuff is going to happen. But that doesn't mean we changed our approach. We're not including gratuitous blood or swearing. We want to deliver a true end with no compromises, and it takes us to some dark places."
Batman: Arkham Knight will feature mature themes and emotional depth.
It seems clear that as Sefton Hill explained, the rating does not reflect on the extreme violence or mature language present in the game, but rather on mature themes and overall nature of the story and presentation. Personally I find this extremely encouraging that we will finally receive a mature Batman story with enough emotional depth, that could potentially have a very strong impact on its delivery and overall impact.
Batman: Arkham Knight is stated for a June 2nd release for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms. We will bring you any information prior to its release as it becomes available.