David Cage has been vocal about trying to push the envelope of emotional storytelling in games, but the Quantic Dream developer's latest work may be pushing a different sort of envelope. As reported by Kotaku, a Reddit poster claimed to have discovered a debug menu in Beyond: Two Souls that allows users to choose alternate camera angles, including one for the game's shower scene that reveals a detailed nude version of the game's main character, who was based on Ellen Page.
That doesn't sit well with Sony, which has asked multiple sites to pull down their coverage of the incident. Cinema Blend reportedly received a pulldown request from Sony Computer Entertainment America, while Eskimo Press received a similar message from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.
As a representative explained to Cinema Blend, "The images are from an illegally hacked console and is very damaging for Ellen Page. It's not actually her body. I would really appreciate if you can take the story down to end the cycle of discussion around this."
While the game's overt nudity isn't accessible through the course of normal gameplay, such distinctions haven't meant much to the Entertainment Software Rating Board ever since the hidden "Hot Coffee" sex minigame in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was discovered by hackers in 2005. That was enough reason for the ESRB to rescind the game's M for Mature rating and assign it an AO for Adults Only, prompting Take-Two to stop selling that version of the game. At the time, Take-Two trimmed its full-year sales forecast by more than $1.25 billion, attributing the hit specifically to the game's re-rating.
Take-Two ran afoul of the ESRB again the next year with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. When a third-party PC mod for the original game allowed users to play with topless women using art assets already in the code, the ESRB bumped that game's rating from a T for Teen to an M for Mature . The ESRB said that re-rating was made partly because of that nude skin, and partly because the title was more violent than it had originally considered. Take-Two insisted that it had made a full disclosure of the objectionable violent content in the game during the ratings process.
In both the San Andreas and Oblivion situations, the BBFC (whose game ratings have since been replaced by PEGI) stood by its original ratings of the game. Currently, Beyond: Two Souls carries a PEGI 16 rating, and an ESRB M for Mature rating. GamesIndustry International has reached out to Sony, the ESRB, and PEGI regarding the issue.