Hey, would you look at that! Conan Exiles is in the news again because of nudity! It brings me back to the good old days when I first started writing for Cheat Code Central. It was at that point that I talked about the hilarity of the dong slider in Conan Exiles, and later about the initiation of certain hitboxes in the game. Now we're talking about Conan Exiles not because of the nudity, but rather the censorship of said nudity.
Conan Exiles has been in early access since January and has enjoyed marked success. Especially with the PC versions of the game, where people are taking advantage of all the hilarity that its nakedness brings. All of the naughty bits' physics continue to amuse. It would seem that too much of a good thing is still the ESRB's motto in the United States. Conan Exiles is moving to the Xbox One Game Preview program as the developer proclaimed “phase two” of early access begins. This first Xbox One version of Conan Exiles brings about a very specific change.
As anyone who has read any of my previous works on the subject or who has followed anything about Conan Exiles will understand, birthday suits are possible in the game. You can explore the world and attempt to survive completely naked. The problem now is that the American Xbox One version will not allow this. The issue lies within the ESRB. In America, Conan Exiles had to be given an “M” for mature rating, which wouldn't allow for full nudity. The European PEGI system gave Conan Exiles an 18+ rating, which meant the full nakedness could be on display.
For full nudity to be allowed in the U.S., the ESRB would have had to give Conan Exiles a rating more serious than mature, which would have limited the commercial audience willing to buy it right out of the gate. Seeing as how the video game industry is still an industry that revolves around making money, it makes sense that the Conan Exiles developers would change the rating in an attempt to sell more copies of the game. The fact that it even needed to be changed at all however, is where I take offense.
Conan Exiles on the Xbox One Game Preview program will have upper body nudity. This, for the most part, is still not allowed in the U.S. Outside of nude beaches or private properties, you're not going to see female nipples. There are social movements being made to allow this, but it's still not the norm. In some places in Europe, this is much less of a social stigma. Just like men can have their nipples free to toast in the sun, so can women. Conan Exiles follows the “free the nipple” approach by allowing women to run topless, but that's where the fun ends.
Rather than the unclothed nether regions that exist in the European version of Conan Exiles, the American will show them wearing underwear. We all know and understand that you can see these characters without their lingerie in the PC version of the game already. Why censor this now? It's already well past the point where people could have reasonably said, “Oh, wait now! I didn't know they were showing such unclean images in this game!” It's been around for months, and people have been talking about it almost nonstop at various points in the game's short history. It's not like ratings companies didn't know this was a thing.
To set the rating as such that people on consoles cannot experience the full thing in the U.S. is just plain stupid. The PC version of the game already has the option to be clothed or unclothed. Just leave that option in on the American console version, and people can decide if they want to look at unmentionables or not. A more universal outlook on nudity really needs to be reached worldwide. It's unfair and silly that some countries will allow uncensored versions of Conan Exiles, while others will not.
If you can't handle the waist down nudity, just don't play the game. There are plenty more of us that are “mature” enough that we can handle seeing such things. I say mature with quotations, because you can bet that we're still going to dangle balls over the faces of dead bodies. We're going to watch voluminous ta-tas bounce up and down with every single pace. When all is said and done, we'll still enjoy all these hilarious antics within our own homes. We're not going to parade them in front of your children that you're still trying to protect, or play in front of people that we don't know generally speaking.
We live in an era where everything is viewable on the Internet, and the human body is absolutely no secret. Why are we continuing to censor it in video games, rather than normalizing it. You're going to see your own genitalia and (generally speaking) a reasonable amount of those from the other gender. So just get used to the idea that they're going to be around as an option in video games. Yes, there should be options to remove it if it's not your thing, but let it be. Let it exist. It's natural in reality, so let it be natural in video games as well.