There was a big stir recently after it became known that Batman: Arkham Knight was going to be the first M rating for the series. We didn't learn too much as to why, except for the fact that it was to keep the integrity of the story intact.
Well, the ESRB (via IGN) have now published their findings and vaguely highlighted the offensive content. There are some allusions to mild spoilers in the breakdown, but they are pretty unspecific. Still, proceed at your own caution.
As I suspected, there is a scene of torture in the game which probably tipped it over the edge into the M rating. It takes place on a bloody operating table, but I can't quite figure out which villain's MO that is. Could Hugo Strange come back? I don't know. It could be anyone I suppose.
There is another interesting thing of note. The findings state that there is a section where players can "shoot unarmed characters and a hostage." That doesn't sound very Batman like. Could that mean, we might end up playing as another character at some point? Worth thinking about.
Here is the full break down.
This is an action-adventure game in which players primarily assume the role of Batman as he battles several villains spreading chaos across Gotham City. Players traverse a variety of locations around Gotham while battling thugs, examining crime scenes, and occasionally rescuing hostages. Players engage in melee-style combat using punches, kicks, and gadgets (e.g., batarangs, explosives). Enemies cry out in pain when struck, and some takedowns are highlighted by brief slow-motion effects and loud impact sounds.
Some sequences allow players to use tank-like vehicles with machine gun turrets and rockets to shoot enemies; a vehicle's wheels are also used to torture an enemy in one sequence. Cutscenes depict characters getting shot (on and off camera) while restrained or unarmed.
Large bloodstains/pools of blood appear in crime scenes and in the aftermath of violent acts; one room depicts a person torturing a character on a bloody operating table. During the course of the game, players can shoot unarmed characters and a hostage. Neon signs in a red-light district read "live nude girls" and "XXX." The words "b*tch," "gobsh*te," and "a*s" appear in the dialogue.
Can we all agree we're happy to see "gobsh*te" in there? Good.