Europe's justice and security commissioner Franco Frattini has written a letter to European government officials about violent video games and their availability to minors, calling out the PlayStation 2 survival horror title Rule of Rose
as one of particular concern.
According to a Reuters report, Frattini is asking for the topic to be discussed by interior and justice ministers when the groups meet next month in Brussels, and then as part of a meeting with the game industry itself in early 2007.
Frattini noted in his letter that he was "shocked" by PS2 title Rule of Rose
's "obscene cruelty and brutality." The Punchline-created game, which is published by Atlus in the U.S. (where it is rated M for Mature) and will debut via 505 Game Street in Europe next week (where it is rated 18+ by PEGI), tells the tale of a young girl named Jennifer who through a series of circumstances becomes involved with a group of devious children who torment both her and her canine companion.
Because of this, Frattini has called for a dialog between both government and video game industry representatives concerning the moderation of video game content as a means to "explore the usefulness of and necessity for a voluntary code of conduct on the production of interactive games for children."
In addition, Frattini has also urged the European Union to examine the established rules for video game labeling and sale to minors - though it appears that Rule Of Rose
's 18+ PEGI rating makes it unavailable to minors in Europe. According to the report, though, the commissioner's goal is not to prohibit the sale of games deemed inappropriate for minors, but rather to encourage the game industry itself to "exercise self-restraint" concerning the games it produces.
"These types of "recreational games" are dreadful examples for our children and may provoke or encourage violence or bully(ing) behaviour ... or suggest this is a normal behaviour," wrote Frattini, possibly alluding to the recent furor surrounding Rockstar's controversial title Bully
, which was renamed
as as Canis Canem Edit
in the UK.
Earlier this year, Gamasutra conducted an interview with the game's developers
regarding Rule Of Rose
's content, during which they explained of the title's themes: "We wanted to depict the darker side of children. Not really dark, per se, but if you really think about kids, they aren't really afraid of the same things that adults are, and often aren't aware of the consequences. Something that may seem benign to them may seem wrong or frightening to adults, but it's really just a form of innocence."