Final Fantasy XVI Reportedly Earns Mature Rating with Sex, Violence, Torture, Hate Crimes

Nathan Birch
Final Fantasy XVI

We’ve known for a while that Final Fantasy XVI will be edgier than past entries in the series, earning a provisional 18 rating from PEGI and almost certainly an M rating from the ESRB (although they haven’t actually handed out a ruling yet). Well, now the Brazilian ratings board has issued Final Fantasy XVI at 16+ rating (which would translate to 18 or M in most of the rest of the world) and provided an in-depth description of all the objectionable content in the game. Warning, some may consider the following information a SPOILER so proceed no further if you want to go into FF16 completely fresh.

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So, it seems Square Enix really isn’t holding back with Final Fantasy XVI, as the Brazilian Rating System warns about violence, blood, torture, sex scenes, partial nudity, and drug use. There’s also some content that may court wider controversy, including hate crimes and what may be an attempted rape or sexual coercion. The classification board provided this handy list of all the potentially-offensive stuff in FF16 with an age-appropriateness label attached to each (the following translations were provided by Google, so forgive any awkward phrasing).

  • Violence with weapons (10)
  • Sex appeal (12)
  • Violent acts (12)
  • Illegal drug use (12)
  • Descriptions of violence (12)
  • Sexual innuendo (12)
  • Bodily injury (12)
  • Foul language (12)
  • Sexual language (12)
  • Veiled nudity (12)
  • Presence of blood (12)
  • Victim suffering (12)
  • Eroticism (14)
  • Stigma / prejudice (14)
  • Intentional killing (14)
  • Nudity (14)
  • Prostitution (14)
  • Sexual intercourse (14)
  • Hate crimes (16)
  • Rape/sexual harassment (16)
  • Suicide (16)
  • Torture (16)
  • Gratuitous violence/trivialization of violence (16)

Here are some of the aggravating circumstances that caused them to judge certain things more heavily. In particular, it seems the Brazilian authorities weren’t happy about the fact that a lot of the bloodshed in the game is being carried out by child or teenage characters.

  • Violence with weapons, violent act, presence of blood, intentional killing, torture and suffering of the victims are aggravated by both frequency and inappropriate content with children or adolescents
  • Consumption of licit drugs aggravated by frequency
  • Prostitution and language with sexual content aggravated by frequency
  • Stigma or prejudice and hate crime are aggravated due to inappropriate content with children or adolescents

Meanwhile, here are some of the mitigating factors that caused the ratings board not to go quite so hard on other content.

  • Rape or sexual coercion is mitigated because it’s only attempted
  • Sexual intercourse mitigated by scene composition
  • Some violent content mitigated by scene composition

We’ve come a long way from the innocent sprites of yesteryear, but according to producer Naoki Yoshida Final Fantasy XVI’s mature content isn’t just there for titillation, but serves a more adult story

“When trying to tell a story with difficult adult themes, these ratings can end up becoming somewhat of a hindrance. And you find yourself changing things that you wanted to do in the game based on that rating. You wanted to show something, but because you have this certain rating that you need to go to, you need to move the camera away. And that ends up making the entire experience feel a little bit cheaper. And so, this time, to make sure that we could tell the story that we wanted in the way that we wanted to, we decided to pursue a mature rating in most of the regions that will be releasing the game.”

Final Fantasy XVI is slated to hit PS5 in summer of 2023. Rumor has it, June 22 may be the release date, but that’s unconfirmed.

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