When Fable hit the original Xbox back in 2004, the game was recommended for mature audiences in Australia, due to medium level animated violence. Now, nearly 10 years later, Fable: Anniversary has been given an R18+ classification - despite simply being an HD remastered version of the same game. The reason? "Sexual activity related to incentives or rewards".
The Australian M classification is a non-age-restricted rating that signifies content of "moderate impact", recommended to teenagers aged 15 years and over. The Australian R18+ rating is restricted to adult gamers aged 18 and over, featuring "high impact" content. While the game classification guidelines have been adjusted somewhat over the past decade, we don't think there's enough reason for a game to jump two classifications without raising a few eyebrows.
We are waiting on a response from the Classification Board, hoping they can shed some light on just what this sexual activity is, and how it fits into the game. Fable fans are wondering if the new rating is tied to the fact that characters can pair up and have children, through an implied in-game sexual relationship.
No judgement here on whether children really are an "incentive or reward", but if that really is the reason for the R18+ rating, it seems a bit of a stretch.
Fable Anniversary is set for release in February 2014.
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Jimmy the Geek