While all previous Batman Arkham games were rated T for Teen, Rocksteady confirmed to IGN that Batman Arkham Knight is rated M for Mature — a fact that the ESRB confirms, citing blood, language, suggestive themes, and violence as content descriptors.
Discussing the rating with IGN, Game Director Sefton Hill admitted they were surprised by the decision:
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.
Although “every villain in Gotham” is working together to destroy Batman and “some bad stuff is going to happen,” Hill adds that there won’t be gratuitous blood or swearing. They just want to deliver “a true end with no compromises, and it takes us to some dark places.”
Hill is aware that this rating means some fans will miss out on playing the game, but doing otherwise would have changed their original vision:
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.
Batman Arkham Knight launches for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 2.