Batman: Arkham Knight will be the first entry in Rocksteady Studios' Caped Crusader trilogy to receive an "M for Mature" rating. The developer's previous games, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, each received "T for Teen" ratings.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board has yet to publish its content description for Arkham Knight, so we don't know for sure why the game will be rated M.
Rocksteady founder and Arkham Knight game director Sefton Hill said he was surprised to learn his game would be rated M. This was not his original plan.
"From our point of view, we never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind," he told IGN. "We never did that in the previous two games... We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell."
Hill went on to acknowledge that Arkham Knight receiving an M rating means some younger players might not get to play it. However, he said he wasn't willing to change the story to make it more "mass market."
"I'm not blind to the fact that [the M rating] does mean some fans will miss out," he explained. "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 jepoardize that."
"We're not including gratuitous blood or swearing," he added. "We want to deliver a true end with no compromises, and it takes us to some dark places."
Hill went on to say that Arkham Knight's story will be "more mature" than previous games. Enemies will "fight dirty and take [Batman] to dark places," he said.
The developer also reveals that early in the Arkham Knight development process, Warner Bros. did a ratings analysis on the game and concluded that certain scenes would be likely to cause "issues." Hill received an email informing him that these scenes--which remain a mystery--might need to be cut.
Losing these scenes, which are reportedly central to the game, could have "destroyed" the project, Hill said. However, Hill later got on the phone and spoke with a DC Comics executive who agreed to allow the scenes to stay, though it's unclear if they were altered in any way.