The United States' Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has explained why Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros' summer blockbuster Batman: Arkham Knight received a mature rating in February 2015.
The anticipated final entry in Rocksteady's Batman trilogy of games has been rated M for Mature due to "Blood, language, suggestive themes and violence".
Going further, their description of the game's content reveals large "pools of blood" at crime scenes after people are shot "on and off camera". They also describe a room in which the player witnesses someone torturing a person on a "bloody operating table."
Intriguingly, they also note that "during the course of the game, players can shoot unarmed characters and a hostage." Given Batman's stance on killing people (he doesn't) then this could be a sign that the player at some point takes over as another character.
That, or when they shoot they do not mean with lethal force, because Batman does regularly use non-lethal rounds. The ability to shoot a hostage does seem to undermine that however.
Rocksteady's Arkham trilogy began with Arkham Asylum in 2009. A sequel – Arkham City – was released in 2011 and a prequel – developed by Warner Bros Montreal – was released in 2013. Arkham Knight is Rocksteady's third and final game in the series, and the first to be released on the PS4 and Xbox One.
Below is the ESRB's full product description...
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.
Batman: Arkham Knight will be released on 2 June for PC, Xbox One and PS4.