Rod Fergusson, head of Gears of War 4 developer The Coalition, has confirmed the upcoming sequel will feature a gore and explicit language filter – as previous games in the series did – and described the content that will be censored.
Fergusson highlighted the challenges the studio faced in figuring out what swear words to cut out, considering there isn’t an industry standard for video games.
“Gore is important for obvious reasons and swearing too. I think the tricky part for us is, and it’s been one of the funny things about the mature language flag, is that there’s no standard, so we’ve had to set the bar,” he explained.
“There’s no George Carlin seven words or whatever and there’s no radio standard that changes or that we can look to and say ‘Hey, from a video game perspective how do we go from whatever mature language to non-mature language.’ There is no standard, so we’ve had to make the call.”
The Coalition’s approach has been to remove the harder swear words, instead of simply bleeping them out.
“Generally what we tend to do is take the hardest of the hard off because we just didn’t want to over-bleepify our game. I tend to look at radio and go a little bit further than that, so generally anything around the word f**k tends to stay turned off.
“I tend to keep the s**ts,” he continued. “I tend to keep the b**ch, I tend to keep the goddammits just because it speaks to the characters and the thing they’re in. We just sort of focus on the hardest of the hard. So when you turn the mature language off, you’re basically not going to hear the word f**k anymore.”
Fergusson said the main reason for this was to protect any children that may be watching or in the same area as someone playing Gears of War 4. He also acknowledged disparity between the way explicit language and nudity are treated in media and by parents.
“One of the things I got was a person playing, and there’s a kid in the room. It wasn’t that the kid was playing, just walking by and daddy was playing the game or mommy is and the here’s, you know, ‘motherf**ker, oh damn.’ We tend to be a hypocritical lot for language and sex and violence. I’m 100 percent that way.
“My son is now 14 but when he was 12 I would see there’s a PG-13 movie and look up what it was for, is it sex, language, or violence? Oh it’s for language and violence, let’s go watch it. But if a boob is shown once, ‘Oh hell no’ you’re not watching that. It’s that kind of thing.”
Gears of War 4’s story follows Marcus Fenix’s son and two other new characters. It takes place over the span of 24 hours. Although a release date has not been announced, a Gears of War 4 multiplayer beta on Xbox One is scheduled to start on April 18.
To get in on that date, you need to play Gears of War Ultimate Edition on Xbox One or PC by April 11. Beta tokens will begin to be sent out on April 18, though Microsoft didn’t say who will get codes first or how long it may take for all codes to go out. After the “early access” period ends on April 24, all Xbox Live Gold members can play through May 1.