Rated M for Mature…

Posted: November 28, 2014 in Battlefield, Gaming, The Cptains Talk
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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I have been wanting to write about this topic for some time and just never felt the urge to do so until the other day. This happened to go well with a video I wanted to make about a Battlefield 4 player, ANYOLJOE, that I’ve ran into several times while playing, all with the exact same results. What I am wanting to write about is swearing in a military shooter.

There are a number of different views on the topic and you would think it would be pretty straight forward. Most FPS games are rated M and soldiers in real life swear, so case closed. There should be swearing in the game. The issue I have with it though isn’t on the game side of things, but the player side.

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Bad Company 2 was the first Battlefield game I played where there was a server side swear filter setup in chat provided by the developer. It was a feature on be default and it turned any words it thought were curse words into **** instead. There was not a lot of swearing in that title and was actually one of the first Battlefield games that had soldiers give passive communication. A grenade would land near someone and the player would shout and scream automatically. It was nothing bad, just a warning shout. The game was rated M. It did have a single player campaign which did have more cursing as the need called for it.

Then came Battlefield 3. The chat filter was gone as well as soldiers just yelling a warning. Now the soldiers yelled and screamed all kinds of profanities and DICE said it was for “immersions” sake.  Soldiers cuss in real life when they are under fire and we want to bring people more into the game. DICE wanted the single player to be “realistic” and “more gritty” and so cussing was everywhere as well.

When Battlefield 4 was released the soldier cussing was toned down a lot and it is actually a pretty nice balance and not non-stop “shit pushing” as BF3 seemed to have been. The single player was also done well and cursing added where needed for the storyline and sense of urgency.

The problem with that is that the community was used to the Battlefield 3 style cussing and there were many posts about bringing back all that as well as more blood and gore. There were even a few posts to put civilians in the game so they could be shot at. For “realism” sake. None of that was done for Battlefield 4 and the game is still where it is as far as blood and audio queues.

When Battlefield 3 was in beta testing a number of people requested swear filters or ways of toning down the language. People jumped on board as well as attacked the idea and in the end nothing was done. Once Battlefield 4 was going through its testing there was an increase request for both more swearing and a swear filter. It was a “middle of the road” type of configuration, I suppose.

So with the history lesson over I want to show this tweet from Reddit and what prompted me to type this up:

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I wanted to better answer that question of “Why can this happen, yet I get punished for….?” What it comes down to is what is built into the game, that you have no control over, versus what people do in the game. In a video game we cannot control the nudity, the swearing, the blood and violence and so on. That is one of the reasons why we have an ESRB rating on games. Its rated M, so that means there may be something that is of a violent or sexual nature. We, as consumers, have to decide if we are going to accept that in whatever game we are looking at.

An example of “no control over” is the reboot of Thief. I’m a big Thief fan and enjoyed all the games and the newest one was pretty good. Not awesome, but it was fun. It has a mature rating. It was well done overall and not too over the top. There was a level, however, where I had to watch a sex scene in order to get a clue. I had no choice and the game designers made it so I had no choice. There were no filters or any way around it, I had to watch in order to progress in the game. So the game is rated M and I figured there was going to be something like that, because games just have to have that shock factor and gratuitous nudity now.

OK, whatever. I moved on with my life. I’m not scarred because of it. No one else saw it or was hurt by it. I didn’t hire a lawyer to sue or report to the PTA to form a protest campaign. I was mature about it.

The same applies when I play Battlefield and there is cussing in the campaign or in VoIP or in the chat window. It does happen. This is where the control portion falls apart though. In this instance it is spontaneous and crude. It doesn’t help with multiplayer and can be easily controlled by the person causing it. If something is offensive toward me, my only option is to ignore it or turn off chat and/or VoIP. So now any teamwork I wanted to do is gone and I cannot see anyone who texts or requests help in-game. My choice is to ignore it, participate in it, or turn off the features needed to promote teamwork in the game. Nine out of ten times I ignore it. There is a running joke about Xbox players are kids screaming about “doing” a persons mom, its not that different on PC either. It’s a maturity level thing.

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The M rating on a game doesn’t give us the OK to do whatever we want while in-game. The rating is a warning level to tell others that you will see some things that you are going to have to be mature about. It doesn’t mean the game has to be no holds barred brawl every time you play and everyone has the right and privilege to ruin everything for everyone else and to overflow VoIP and text chat with vulgarity. In fact, online play is not and cannot be rated for any game because of the unknown. The developers even mention something about “your online experience may vary.” In the end, the games are supposed to be fun. No one is dying for real and you getting owned is not going to cost you your job or livelihood, unless you’re playing at work and your boss hears your mouth.

Many use games as a way to unwind and get away from the day to day sufferings that many have to endure with real people. Having to deal with immature people online gets just as old as going to work every day. We all paid real money to play this game, not to hear how you didn’t agree with something I did, think I hack, or to hear your slurred words because you drank too much. We are all at different buildings playing the same game and you can cuss and rant and rave and drink and whatever else in your own privacy. There really isn’t a good reason to spill it out everywhere because you feel the rating of a game makes it OK.

So with all that said, here is the ANYOLJOE video I mentioned earlier. They are snipets of their chat and some gameplay until they disconnect:

Wow, wasn’t that fun? It really looked like everyone was having such a good time, especially ANYOLJOE, who was banned at the end by the adminbot for profanity. There was even a moment in the video where they killed me and replied with an “FU”. You can tell that I start to hunt for JOE just to make things worse for them. In the end all the cussing and hackusations did nothing but make some leave and me to step it up a bit more to make it harder. Oh yes, very fun times.

With all this and everything I have had to say, I am really not against cussing in game or by others. It all comes down to quantity and how much anyone has to deal with. For many, cussing is a normal every day thing and most don’t even know they are doing it. It all comes down to control and options. Would it really kill a developer to put in a client side swear filter? Something the user can turn on themselves, if they want. Not something as restrictive as the BC2 filter, but something that is a choice that could be done. That used to be an option in many FPS games back in the day. Now it’s full on gore, nudity, and violence, or you don’t play the game. I want to get some of my family members involved in gaming, but I can’t show them most the games because of things like this.

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So that is my more thorough answer of “Why do I get punished in a game that is so violent?” question. The answer is that there are people out there that are tired of hearing it and don’t want to in their games and other options to remove it are not available, so you have to suffer. If there was a client side filter, that could be turned on and you could say whatever you want, even though its not really necessary.

I was going to type up a bit here about a client side filter and the pros/cons to them and what’s the big deal, but this is getting a bit long, so I will save that for the next topic.

To Be Continued…

Comments
  1. jimykx says:

    Absolutely great article!!!!!
    I definitely have to specialy agree with the part “I want to get some of my family members involved in gaming, but I can’t show them most the games because of things like this.”
    I got some to play Portal 2 with me, and that was a great experience, most of them started thinking about video games in a completely different way they thought before, but when they asked about my other favorite games that I could show them It did make the choice a bit more dificult.

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