Ratings board PEGI has defended the award of a 12 certificate to Ubisoft's adult party game We Dare, pointing out that although the marketing campaign has centred on titillation and suggestive themes, the game itself is fairly mild.
A trailer released for the title last month leaves little doubt as to the intended adult audience for the game, a stance which Ubisoft openly embraces.
"We Dare is intended for a mature audience and Ubisoft created its marketing campaign accordingly," the French publisher told Cubed3.
"The PEGI ratings system is decided upon by a pan-European body and the rating for this game was bestowed by the independent PEGI board. Ubisoft has added a 'Parental Discretion Advised' sticker to the game in order to ensure that parents are informed of the potential sensitive nature of the game content."
PEGI's response to enquiries from the blog were less forthright, claiming that it had to judge suitability based on content, not context, and also alluding to varying standards within the borders of its Europe-wide constituency.
"Since PEGI is a Pan European system, the questionnaire is designed to meet varying cultural standards in all the member states. So for example, mild violence may not be a very shocking element in your country, but the swearwords in some games may be," read a PEGI statement.
"PEGI does not take into account the context of a game when rating it, we only look at the contents of the game. [We Dare] has been rated as a PEGI 12 because it contains mild swearing, minor assault on a human-like character and words/activities that amount to obvious sexual innuendo, explicit sexual descriptions or images and sexual posturing."
Whilst the rating raises an interesting issue over intent vs content, the UK press have pounced upon the story as an example of lax content controls in videogame sales, with The Sun claiming that the game is marketing sexual content directly to 12 year olds.
Interestingly, Ubisoft has completely ruled out a US release for the game, even to the point of region-restricting the YouTube advertisements for the game to European territories.
The UK is currently awaiting a ruling on the nature of PEGI's ratings, a decision which has been delayed until further notice.