The few times Geralt of Rivia ditches his clothes in The Witcher 3, he either wears dingy undergarments or is cleverly obscured by objects in the environment. Given that there are characters who appear at least partially nude in the title, it’s a wonder why more of the White Wolf isn’t on display. Apparently, it has something to do with strict guidelines from ratings boards around the globe. These guidelines, according to CD Projekt RED, prohibit developers from allowing players to assume control of a fully nude character.
German website GameStar notes that CDPR devs recently participated in a MonstersAndExplosions (MAX) Twitch livestream. During the stream, and in speaking with the publication, said devs revealed why Geralt never… shows more of himself. The finer details are likely lost in translation, but Quest Designer Philipp Weber explained ratings board restrictions vary from country to country. PR spokesperson Fabian Mario Doehla echoed this sentiment, divulging the following in a translation via PCGamesN, “I can only say it from past projects: The moment you have (active) control, it is always evaluated differently.”
Entertainment Software Self-Regulation (Germany’s ratings board), for example, is especially a stickler about this notion. According to GameStar, CDPR Community Manager Carolin Wendt confirmed as much. The developer’s translated explanation is as follows: “The moment players act, the action is assigned a higher role and accordingly there is a greater risk of impairment.” Interestingly, PCGamesN notes that Wendt’s use of “impairment” allegedly references “the psychological development of young people,” which is protected under German law and the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation organization.
To a degree, then, nudity seems to primarily be a concern for player-characters. For instance, GameStar further claims the German ratings board has criteria in place to determine whether the player or an NPC will appear nude. At the very least, this explains why some Witcher characters, mostly women, are more expressive with their nakedness than Geralt. With this in mind, despite a recent ratings leak suggesting “intense sexual” content, players probably won’t see V letting it all hang out in Cyberpunk 2077 this September.
That still doesn’t explain Metal Gear Solid 2′s naked flipping Raiden, however.