Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes rated M, gets content warning for sexual violence

Monday, 6 January 2014 23:04 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes has scored a Mature 17+ rating from the ESRB, which is not surprising in itself, but some of the content mentioned in the assessment is.

The ESRB gave the game four content warnings, for blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, and in a first for the franchise, sexual violence.

Normally sexual violence would propel a game straight into the 18+ Adults Only category, but Kojima Productions chose to suggest rather than demonstrate.

“The game includes an audio file in which a female character is sexually assaulted by male characters; while there is no visual depiction, sounds of ripped clothing and struggle can be heard,” the ESRB said.

As for general violence, the game contains “realistic gunfire, slow-motion effects, and large blood-splatter effects”, and use a variety of firearms as well as stealth attacks like choking or stabbing, and the ability to kill non-adversary characters.

“One cutscene includes a depiction of blood and gore (e.g., a character’s intestines exposed during a dramatic procedure to remove an object),” the ESRB added.

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is a prequel to and tutorial for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, which is hundreds of times larger than the taster and going to take its sweet time getting to us due to the demands of next-gen development. Ground Zeroes arrives to curb your impatience in March, on PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Thanks, Destructoid.


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  1. Clupula

    Incoming shitstorm of sanctimonious self-righteousness in 3…2…

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Erthazus

    It’s just an audio file.

    Calm down. It was not rated M because of that.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Ireland Michael

    Having an opinion =/= sanctimonious selfrighteousness

    Scenes like this are fine as long as they’re done right and actually add to the story. Considering Kojima’s track record with female character to date though – with only The Boss and MGS4 Meryl not coming off as exploitative – I don’t see this being the case. Quiet’s visual design alone is enough alarm bells.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. salarta

    This just in, torture of women in video games in ways that don’t happen to men is totally cool if sex isn’t involved. :)

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Ireland Michael

    @4 This just in, salarta loves writing about rape as long as it’s involved men and is a raging hypocrit.

    If torture exists in a story, whether sexual or physical, whether it’s happening to men or women, is acceptable only so long as it actually adds something relevant to the story. The issue is not with censorship. It’s with artistic validity. Shock value sex is just as bad as shock value violence.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. salarta

    And yet shock value violence is what sells as we’ve vividly seen lately, so we may as well stop being so stupidly fussy about shock value sex. :D

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Ireland Michael

    @6 Yeah, damn those torture porn games like Tomb Raider. We should promote games like Rapelay instead. That’d be more up your alley, except that it doesn’t have men being victimised in it.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. salarta

    I play Metal Gear games to get my fill of victimized men, though it’s a little too soft about it! Actually, it’s kind of fascinating to see the kinds of portrayals women support of women compared to what both men and women support of men.

    Oh, and I’ve learned that a great deal of yaoi seems to involve victimizing men, and the majority of yaoi fans I’ve seen are women, which kind of implies women are aching for victimized male characters in fiction.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Clupula

    All I have to say is that the medium of videogames is never going to grow, as long as things like this are a big deal. Movies and books handle this sort of material on a regular basis. When it happens in videogames, everybody gets their panties in a twist.

    Although I must admit I am surprised by Salarta’s arguments here. I was sure he’d be on the same side as you, Michael.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. salarta

    I’ve stopped giving a fuck lately. :) I’m not a woman, so it’s not like I have to deal with what comes next. There are better things to do than this.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Ireland Michael

    @9 salarta’s opinions are about as far removed from mine as they can get. Salarta’s dirty little secret is that the reason he’s so obsessed with this whole female abuse issue is because he gets off on women doing it to men. Don’t believe me? Google his username Its nothing but a giant trail of rape and abuse stories.

    I don’t actually have a problem with sexual content in video games. The only thing I care about is whether it works in the context of the experience. If I want to see breasts hanging out all over the place for no reason, I’ll use the Internet or go to a strip club.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. salarta

    Just to get this out of the way, I find it funny that in one article you can complain about how users are tossing around personal insults and attacks as part of their arguments, then turn around and do it yourself. Kinda hypocritical. :)

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Ireland Michael

    I’m not throwing around personal insults. I’m pointing out facts to illustrate the gross hypocrisy of your arguments.

    The other difference is those users that I defend actually *deserve* respect. Every second post you make is about your self-deluded superiority and why everyone else is ignorant and beneath you. You and TheWulf and like clones of each other.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Clupula

    “Ever wonder where penis enlargement spam comes from? Look no further than Africa, Tricell, and one of Excella’s favorite experiments.”

    Whoa. Salarta, you saucy minx, you!

    Not judging. I did a short film few months back filled with nudity, bondage, a male rape, an implied female rape, a castration, and a demon penis…all in three minutes. But still, it does put some context to your polygonal girl fixations.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Ireland Michael

    It certainly does.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. salarta

    Not really, on every count! It’s a lot like saying a woman is a hypocrite for being opposed to fictional characters cheating on each other if she’s been caught cheating herself. The “hypocrisy” would be that since she had no qualms with cheating in her own real life, she has no right to complain about it in fiction. That’s a pretty damn slippery slope, and as I’ve always said, what a person wants in fanfiction, fanart, etc is hardly a sign that it’s what they want to see happen to anyone in real life or a company’s official products. If we started pulling that, Stephen King would have a lot of problems.

    More importantly, it’s been obvious from the start that much of this involves personal insults. You’ve explicitly mentioned content you have said my stories contained (some I remember, some I do not) to suggest I’m a terrible person that doesn’t even deserve to be around other people. Or, if you want something more recent, this article! Where you suggested that Rapelay would “be up [my] alley” when I’ve never suggested wanting to play such games. What does that sort of thing have to do whatsoever with the arguments made?

    Now for the final matter: “superiority.” I hardly think I have all the answers, when I talk with people that are reasonable they often point out things that give me reason to second guess my own views. I’m not better than everyone else. I say and do stupid things that I later regret, and I’m wrong in many cases. But I’m not going to listen to a bunch of holier-than-thou people that seriously think “you didn’t throw your money away to play a game you already know you’ll hate playing just so you can win an argument on the internets” is a legitimate retort against opinions for anything other than gameplay in a time when a person can even go so far as to watch the entire game played by someone else through Youtube.

    I don’t want the “respect” of anyone that looks for excuses to write off legitimate views and then convinces themselves that their way is the only way. Less so now.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Ireland Michael

    Your level of personal delusion is genuinely mind blowing.

    “I don’t want the “respect” of anyone that looks for excuses to write off legitimate views and then convinces themselves that their way is the only way.”

    This statement is genuinely hilarious.

    I honestly don’t know quite how it’s possible for a person to be as unaware of themselves as you are.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Clupula

    Salarta, I, at least, admit to being a pervert and all-around horrible person. Fine with it. Happy with it. Gets me laid.

    You… Own up to your kinks. Just don’t try to hide them behind a mask of self-importance.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. Telepathic.Geometry

    Being a pervert and horrible gets you laid? Really?

    #19 1 year ago
  20. Ireland Michael

    @19 This just in: Women are equally as horrible and perverted as men. More news at 11.

    People are drawn to people like themselves. You just need to look in the right places.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Telepathic.Geometry

    Thanks for the advice on women there. Maybe some day, I too will be able to have sexy sex with teh girlz.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. Ireland Michael

    @21 See now, there’s a dream worth holding on to!

    #22 1 year ago
  23. Telepathic.Geometry


    #23 1 year ago
  24. Darkfield

    @13 ahahaha.. So true, well with a minor difference, Salarta actually participates in the debates, TheWulf just writes his glorified essays and wouldn’t give a crap about any counter arguments. He’s like “I’m expecting all of you to read my massive walls of text but I actually won’t give a flying frak about whatever response you have for it”.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. Clupula

    @24 – You do have a point.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. salarta

    Sorry, but I have to say this.

    @18: But I’m not a horrible person, and neither are you unless you intend to hurt or force yourself on others. That’s not limited to the physical. Kinks aren’t bad in themselves.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. Fin

    Man, ye guys are fucking weird.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. YoungZer0

    I think you all stared way too long into the abyss.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. CaptPierce

    As long as this is handles respectfully and in a mature manner, then I don’t see what’s wrong with this at all. In fact if it is, I will APPLAUD Kojima for being fearless to bring something like this into a videogame.

    However, the way he dressed up a female character in the game seems to imply otherwise, and he’s not been shy of some innuendos or just outright dropping the ball on his messages. Hopefully it’s the former.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. Clupula

    @29 – You know, maybe that female character is dressed like that in the game because she is the one who has been sexually assaulted, and those are the only clothes she has left.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. YoungZer0

    @30: I still think her skin is active camouflage. You see in the trailer black ink around her eyes simply disappearing.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. Darkfield

    Yeah me too YZ.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. Clupula

    @31 – That’s entirely possible too. I’m sure it’ll be one of the two.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. absolutezero

    Whatever it is I’m sure its not going to just dust away all the complaints like Koj seems to think it will.

    #34 1 year ago
  35. YoungZer0

    @34: Of course not, but then again, his games are full of character like that.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. Ireland Michael

    @30 That would be an utterly terrible and exploitative excuse, especially after the remarks Kojima and co. made about deliberately making her “erotic” for the purpose of cosplay. The games are set across multiple military bases, for fuck sake.

    She’s near naked because she’s female. It’s that bloody simple. Kojima is a self confessed otaku. This creepy female fetishism has existed in the franchise since MGS1.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. YoungZer0


    “especially after the remarks Kojima and co. made about deliberately making her “erotic” for the purpose of cosplay.”

    First time I’m hearing that. Do you have a source for that? Sounds like a conspiracy theory.

    #37 1 year ago
  38. Ireland Michael

    @37 It’s not a conspiracy at all. It was posted on this very site.

    One of the guys at Kojima Productions stated that Kojima had asked for “erotic” designs for Quiet. After a huge uproar about the fact, Kojima came out and said it was a “mistranslation”, then spent a paragraph stating how he totally meant sexy but totally not sexy in an exploitative way. Of course.

    This information is easily Googled if you want to seek it out.

    It’s a tasteless and exploitative design created to appeal to an ever growing otaku mindset, which has really gotten it’s teeth into Japanese media in recent years. Victimised sexuality. Just look at Paz in Peace Walker for an even worse example.

    #38 1 year ago
  39. Gekidami

    Making a character sexy is exploitative now? Jesus, what happened to the world?

    #39 1 year ago
  40. YoungZer0

    @38: “that they had cosplayers in mind with the design.”

    That could mean something else though, like the fact that a lot of cosplayers purposefully choose to make their outfits less of a replica and more of a sexy adaptation.

    Having said that however, I do agree with you. I don’t think it’s exploitive, as those characters are fictional. But I do think that MGS has gotten pretty tasteless and morally questionable with ever game they’ve released starting with the first one.

    Dating an underaged girl is kind of … weird and I don’t understand why so many people who usually speak out against such things don’t seem to have problem with that. Why ignore something this obvious if you have a problem with a game like Tomb Raider?

    X-Raying woman to see their underwear is also weird when they are basically lying there defenseless and hurt.

    #40 1 year ago
  41. Ireland Michael

    @39 That is not even remotely what I said.

    I said the “sexy” design of *this* particular character is exploitative. Not only does she not have a voice to express herself with, and not only is she going to be the victim of male aggression, but she is almost completely naked in a setting that makes no sense to dress that way, with a cast of fully clothed and completely decked out men.

    @40 “Dating an underaged girl is kind of … weird and I don’t understand why so many people who usually speak out against such things don’t seem to have problem with that. Why ignore something this obvious if you have a problem with a game like Tomb Raider?”

    Two words

    Confirmation bias.

    A lot of people believe only what supports their personal preferences. Someone who likes MGS will accept it because it’s MGS, and will do whatever they can to justify the exception. They focus solely on the things that help support their argument, and deliberately ignore or attempt to undermine any argument that might prove them wrong.

    Salarta is probably the most transparent example of this particular fallacy.

    #41 1 year ago
  42. YoungZer0

    @41: Oh I was just playing ignorant. I know what Confirmation bias is. Couldn’t help myself but take a stab at this double standard.

    #42 1 year ago
  43. Ireland Michael

    @42 I think this is appropriate (and overdue):

    These people telling blinding dismissing the critique against Quiet would be the first people who would complain if this actually ended up being a thing in the game.

    Heck, even if you put Snake in just tight shorts as his main design for the game (for the sake of a gender appropriate design) people would still flip out. It would “be ridiculous”. It would “look stupid”. It “wouldn’t make sense in the setting”.

    #43 1 year ago
  44. Fin



    #44 1 year ago
  45. Ireland Michael

    @44 The people saying that complaints about Quiet’s design are invalid whining are the same people who would have a meltdown if Snake was made to look the same way.

    #45 1 year ago
  46. Gekidami

    If Snake was dressed as a women, perhaps. But thats just bizarre. But if say, Snake spent most of the game shirtless, in shorts. Honestly, no one would give a fuck. To my understanding a lot of MGS5 takes place in a desert, light outfits are hardly going to bend your mind in terms of usefulness. Like i said, its tasteless, but not a big deal.

    Speaking of which, i’m also wondering if any of these concerns cropped up in regards to your darling Bayonetta?

    #46 1 year ago
  47. Fin



    I wouldn’t have a problem – if the female characters look ridiculous, so should the male ones. Equality innit.

    #47 1 year ago
  48. Fin


    Do you really, honestly think that sexualised woman is the same as a shirtless man? Really?

    I love the argument of “it’s realistic” btw.

    #48 1 year ago
  49. Ireland Michael

    @48 A light outfit in that kind of setting would kill you, whether from the freezing cold temperatures at night, the blistering heat on exposed skin during the day, or potential sandstorms that would rip your skins to shreds.

    If Snake was wearing nothing but boxers for the whole game, male gamers *would* go nuts. Heck, let’s just give him a speedo for that extra level of sexiness. Needs to be equal, right?

    Bayonetta is not meant to be taken seriously. This is.

    #49 1 year ago
  50. Fin


    I think my main problem is that that girl was a sniper.



    #50 1 year ago
  51. Gekidami

    Games, MGS in particular, are “realistic” now? Did anyone think to tell Konami?

    “Do you really, honestly think that sexualised woman is the same as a shirtless man? Really?”
    That really depends on the source. In a game like this, where i’d assume 85% of the people buying it are male? Nah. In something like the Twilight movies were i’d guess 85% of the viewers are female? Yep.

    Games arent a democracy, their a capitalist venture. Characters are designed to appeal to the target demographic.

    “Bayonetta is not meant to be taken seriously. This is.”
    That excuse is way too easy. Her design is still meant to give men boners, the marketing is still designed to give men boners. Its only satire when theres a message at the end against what is being shown, the message in Bayonetta is “Look at her tight ass in this tight outfit”.

    Sorry but they’re exactly the same.

    #51 1 year ago
  52. Ireland Michael

    @51 Yes, but Twilight is generally considered terrible for that very reason – because the characters are vapid and one dimensional and don’t stand up to any sort of reasonable analysis.

    They can target whatever demographic they like. We’re still going to call it out on its bullshitery if we think it’s terrible.

    If you think this is entirely about demographic, then you essentially forfeit any right to complain about any game based on its target demographic in the future. Such as Call of Duty.

    “Her design is still meant to give men boners, the marketing is still designed to give men boners.”

    I would be extremely concerned about any man who gets a boner from Bayonetta. Her design is so overagerated that the only thing I think is how ridiculous the whole thing is. It’s weird and funny, and utterly ludicrous, but I sure as hell never found it sexy.

    You don’t go to a comedy and then complain because it wasn’t serious enough.

    #52 1 year ago
  53. Fin


    Dude, you were the one that brought up the hot climate.
    Why’d you make the comparison, if you’ve just said they’re not the same? I’m confused.

    “Characters are designed to appeal to the target demographic.”

    Absolutely no argument there. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to move away from a frat-boy/basement-dweller/neck-beard mindset with -SHOCK- female characters that aren’t dressed like a swimsuit catalogue.

    The fact that there’s an argument about the character at all (and not a grim acceptance that yeah, it’s a bit ridiculous) shows how this industry, and its followers, aren’t close to being mature.

    #53 1 year ago
  54. Ireland Michael

    @53 Especially considering that the franchise has done respectable female characters in the past

    Though unfortunately not as many as they’ve done really badly.

    #54 1 year ago
  55. Darkfield

    @Fin realism:

    #55 1 year ago
  56. Gekidami

    There a difference between making sense and being realistic, light clothing in the heat makes sense, its not a massive contradiction of logic. Taking into account: “freezing cold temperatures at night, the blistering heat on exposed skin during the day, or potential sandstorms that would rip your skins to shreds.”

    Konami arent making a sim, they dont care about that stuff.

    “You don’t go to a comedy and then complain because it wasn’t serious enough.”
    Special pleading. Ok we get it. You love Bayonetta, but hate MGS. Moving on…

    “The fact that there’s an argument about the character at all (and not a grim acceptance that yeah, it’s a bit ridiculous) shows how this industry, and its followers, aren’t close to being mature.”
    Its shows that mentalities have changed. But like i said its tasteless, but hardly some great travesty.

    #56 1 year ago
  57. Ireland Michael

    “There a difference between making sense and being realistic, light clothing in the heat makes sense,.”

    Not in a desert it bloody well doesn’t. Especially when the only one that is just happens to be female.

    “Special pleading. Ok we get it. You love Bayonetta, but hate MGS. Moving on…”

    I have bought and played every single Metal Gear game ever made (including spinoffs) from start to finish on every difficulty level. I’ve collected every dog tag in 2 and every frog and camo in 3. I’ve finished MGS1 at least seven times, and own a mint copy of Twin Snakes. I own every special edition of the games. I own *multiple* copies of the HD Collection. And I know the lore of the entire franchise from top to bottom, bar nothing.

    Try harder.

    #57 1 year ago
  58. Gekidami


    Showing that you’ve grown a serious disdain for this franchise isnt very hard. I dont see what you having played all of the previous games has to do with anything. I’ve played all of the RE games. Still think everything after RE4 has sucked and that the franchise has become horrible trash. I guess thats a paradox by your logic though.

    #58 1 year ago
  59. Erthazus

    Are you nuts guys?

    This is a game about war and war crimes. Of course there will be sexual violence because this shit happens. This is the main reason of this game. It will explain these atrocious war crimes.

    and I’m sure Kojima will explain Quiet’s character in the future. We don’t have enough info on her so it was really a mistake showing off her right now.

    Also, woman can carry sniper rifles.

    She was one of the best snipers in Red Army as a fact. And in fact 2000 female soldies were in Red Army as a snipers.

    and it has nothing to do with this. Because the game had just AUDIO LOG with sexual violence and that’s it.

    #59 1 year ago
  60. salarta

    @59: I agree, honestly I think the best thing Kojima could’ve done was never reveal Quiet at all if possible, let the player get their very first impression of her when they finally play the game.

    People are accustomed to sex appeal being used to sell games, and in this case, I think any ideas Kojima might have for using Quiet’s design as part of commentary on the state of the video game industry and society’s views of women are all undermined by people being extremely touchy about how sex is handled with women. The recent Bond films are a pretty good example; the women in Skyfall were presented as less capable compared to the men, and I can’t say too much since it may still count as spoilers, but female characters sent into subservient roles or being harassed and the cause of a terrorism plot while the men “suffer for their mistakes” or “clean up their messes” says a fair bit. Yet since sex appeal wasn’t the instigator in each case, it gets a pass. Whether or not sex plays a role appears to be the only criteria for whether or not something counts as sexist.

    #60 1 year ago
  61. Fin

    Sorry bros, I wasn’t being serious with the girl sniper thing, I was satirising the “women shouldn’t be included cos it’s not realistic to have them in fighting a war” argument.

    #61 1 year ago
  62. fihar

    I actually get that you’re being sarcastic.
    What’s actually surprising is Erth completely missing it.

    Still, regarding one of the character designs, isn’t MGS known for featuring ridiculously outlandish plot with equally outlandish characters?
    I mean, when the series had characters as ridiculous as Vamp and Psycho Mantis and his MGS3 counterparts surely it isn’t all that surprising that Kojima jumped the shark and went all-out in his pursuit of outlandishness?

    Not that I think the design is actually okay but we had an article a few months ago about a developer stating that people can’t expect every bloody game out there to make a statement abous society’s flawed views on sexual attractiveness.
    The article was about one of the female characters in WoW if I’m not mistaken.

    #62 1 year ago
  63. Legendaryboss

    That escalated quickly! Wasn’t expecting it to be honest.

    #63 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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