Warner's upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight looks to be the most violent in the series to date.
IGN reports that the fourth instalment in the series is the first to be given an M (Mature) rating by US board the ESRB. Previous games have been rated T (Teen).
"From our point of view, we never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind,” Rocksteady founder and game director Sefton Hill said. We never did that in the previous two games... We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell.
"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.
Themes are more mature to some extent. At the same time it's balanced as it's always been. This isn't the case of stripped back Batman. 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."
Hill did admit, however, that early in the game's development publisher Warner flagged up some scenes after a ratings analysis that it believed could cause issues”. Fortunately for Hill the scenes were not removed.
"I was really freaked out because the solution was to lose the scenes," Hill confessed. "But they were key scenes! We couldn't lose them! I got the email. I'm freaked out. I thought this was going to destroy the game, everything I'm passionate about... I was building myself up for this big argument. I didn't get much sleep.”
Batman: Arkham Knight is due out on PS4, Xbox One and PC on June 2nd.