Sega Working Closely With ESRB On Ultra-Violent ‘MadWorld,’ Japanese Release May Not Happen

“MadWorld” is one of the most anticipated third-party Wii games and perhaps the most violent. Though sporting a black-and-white aesthetic, there’s plenty of blood.

At the first day of Nintendo’s fall summit in San Francisco, a pair of Sega representatives showed me an updated build of “Mad World” and described how they’re handling the game’s violent nature.

Sega is working closely with the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to ensure the game receives just an M rating, they told me. The ESRB receives new builds on a regular basis and Sega notes their feedback. Sega wants them to feel “part of the process” of developing “MadWorld” and isn’t looking to surprise them.

And even though Japan-based Platinum Games is developing “MadWorld,” Sega isn’t sure “MadWorld” will show up in its native territory. Sega will not be showing the game at next week’s Tokyo Game Show, and any Japanese release will be evaluated after “MadWorld” is released here in March 2009.

This also applies to other violence-sensitive countries, specifically Australia and Germany. Those markets could see “Mad World,” but it’s not part of Sega’s strategy right now. If “MadWorld” is a success, it might happen, but the concern right now is making it a western hit and ensuring its violence remains gory — but within an M rating.

But don’t let the ESRB’s involvement make you nervous; “MadWorld” is plenty violent right now. It looks like “Sin City” was bathed in a bucket of blood.

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