The ESRB board has given The Last of Us Part 2 a “M” for “Mature” rating. This isn’t surprising, since the original game held a “M” rating as well. What is surprising though is what specific things this rating covers. According to new information on The Last of Us Part 2’s official website, the title is rated for “blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, sexual content, strong language [and] use of drugs.”
Blood and gore, violence and strong language are all things we saw in the original The Last of Us. After all, surviving infected and fellow survivors requires you to get your hands dirty frequently. There will inevitably be curses uttered as a clicker runs straight for you. Joel and Ellie’s world is brutal and unforgiving. The addition of “drug use” is new but not surprising. One of the trailers for the game shows Dinah and Ellie sharing a joint.
It’s the inclusion of “nudity” and “sexual content” that is of particular interest. Naughty Dog has always skirted around sexual content in their games through slow cutaways or innuendo. In fact, this will be the first Naughty Dog title to ever hold a rating for “sexual content.” It lends credence to Naughty Dog’s claims that The Last of Us Part 2 will be their most mature narrative yet. It also makes you wonder if the studio can pull off what no gaming studio before it has done. Can Naughty Dog create a sex scene that doesn’t come off as extremely uncomfortable and cringey? We’ll have to wait until May 29 to find out.
In the meantime, parents may want to start looking for someone to watch their kids when May 29th hits. This is definitely not a game I would want to explain to them.