The Australian Classification Board has sent over its report, and the adults-only rating for Fable Anniversary apparently has nothing to do with children at all (which is reassuring, right?). The game has been rated R18+ for "Sexual activity related to incentives or rewards" - and it's all to do with the Darkwood Bordello.
It was left out of the original Fable, but this medieval-style brothel, complete with in-game prostitutes, is a location that should be familiar to gamers who played the PC re-release of Fable: The Lost Chapters.
A spokesperson from the Classification Board has confirmed that the game contains "sex related to incentives and rewards", but at the same time, no realistic or explicit depictions of sexual activity, simulated or actual.
Instead, it all hinges on some implicit scenes contained within the bordello's walls.
Option 1: Playing as a man, you can visit Darkwood and pay for sex with a selection of prostitutes - there is an in-game reward once you've paired up with a certain number of them.
Option 2: Choose a female costume from your inventory, accept a job as a "working girl" and "participate in the intimate act of love" with a male NPC named Grope. As a reward, you'll get 1,000 gold.
The report explains how the act unfolds:
If the player selects "yes", Grope responds, "Ah, I'm going to enjoy this!" The screen then turns black, apart from subtitles which accompany Grope's dialogue, as the two characters implicitly engage in sexual activity; "Aren't you a feisty one? ...Mmm, you've done this before, haven't you?" And, with audible huffing and puffing, "Yes. That's it!" and, "Phew, that was quite a workout. I think I need a lie down." Vision then returns and the player's character is depicted standing in his underwear beside Grope who asks, "Where did you learn those moves? Perhaps we could do this again some time..."
Predictably, this scene "exceeds what can be accommodated at the MA15+ classification", which allows implied sexual activity unless it is related to incentives or rewards - like that 1,000 gold. (This is not an exhaustive list of what content earned the R18+ rating, by the way.)
Upon submission, the game received a recommended classification of M, on par with the original Fable and one notch lower than The Lost Chapters. The Board disagreed with this recommendation, acknowledging that while there are adult themes and violence which could be accommodated within a lower classification, that pesky incentive-for-sex has nudged it over the line.
Fable Anniversary is headed to Xbox 360 in early 2014.
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