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Twin Blades pulled from Marketplace over concerns about mature content

Twin Blades, an Xbox Live game from Press Start Studio, recently disappeared from the Marketplace. We contacted the developer to find out what happened, and the news is not great.

A PSP Minis port of Twin Blades was recently rated 'M' (Mature) by the ESRB. The Windows Phone 7 version of the game never received an ESRB rating. Microsoft has a 'no mature content' policy for Xbox Live games on Windows Phone 7. Because the ESRB decided the PSP version of Twin Blades is too gory for teens (it is fairly bloody, with the zombie decapitations and such), Microsoft pulled the game from the WP7 Marketplace. Twin Blades was never available on the Marketplace in Germany, where more violent games are almost universally banned.

Will Twin Blades return to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace? Press Start Studios is working on a solution with Microsoft to bring the game back, but no decision has been made yet so they can't say when it will come back.

We're disappointed at Twin Blades' loss as it was one of the meatier Xbox Live launch titles on Windows Phone 7. It featured lots of levels, weapons, a lovely gothic visual theme, and a surprisingly mature story. Oh, and plenty of violence against cartoonish zombies.

Will the tale of a gun and scythe-toting nun waging war against the undead return in watered down form? One has to question why mature Xbox Live titles are prohibited on Windows Phone 7 when a child would be incapable of even purchasing a Windows Phone 7 device. It seems Microsoft is trying to protect children from a platform that is almost exclusively available to adults. The iPhone version of Twin Blades, meanwhile, is still available for purchase.

We'll update when Twin Blades' final fate has been decided. In the meantime, people who already bought the game should absolutely not delete it from their mobile devices as it can't be redownloaded.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

20 Comments
  • Rediculous. Why is Microsoft doing this? There are Parental Controls built into the Xbox platform, why isn't this carried over to the Xbox Live tile? There needs to be a resolution to this problem. Twin Blades is one of the great games on the Marketplace. Errr.. was on the Marketplace.
  • dont fret, mango has hints of parental controls and ratings, so the game ill be back, if not, before then.
  • so what happens when we update our phones? Will we lose twin blades?
  • so sad i really wanted to play this when i get my HTC HD 7 on Monday.Oh well on the brightside we have Angry Birds coming to WP7 confirmed by ROVIO in an interview with pocket-lint.com, I hope it will be a Xbox live title love getting achievements for my gamertag
  • This is not good. No Mature titles at all? Slap a Mature content label on the thing and let us adults have our games. My hopes for a gore filled form of GOW for wp7 have been utterly crushed. sheesh........
  • Maybe they pulled it to rerate it and so any parental controls can now take effect?
  • Sad. I was thinking about buying this game earlier today. Guess Microsoft decided for me, for the time being.
  • so if I delete it, do I get my money back?
  • You have to remember this is America, The United States... where people / parents sue because they're incapable of parenting and want the Government and companies like Microsoft to do the parenting for them. The Paul the author said a child wouldn't be able to buy a WP7 device... But, tell that to a judge or a lawyer when they show you pictures and video kids with iPads, iphones, wp7, xbox, ps3, etc... Parents will by there kids anything. I personal saw a kid 7-10yo with an ipad. In which belonged to her covered in kiddie stickers.
  • Even still, the fact that anyone with an iPod/iPad (which doesn't need a contract) can buy Twin Blades but a cell phone purchased by an adult and (usually) for an adult can't buy it is just silly. If notorious Apple doesn't object to the game, I don't think Microsoft should either.
  • true but I think Microsoft is siding with caution. they have an up hill battle to get back in the mobile game. They don't need any lawsuits or bad press about allowing violent/mature content. Kids are pretty clever i'm betting a lot of wp7 kid owners have a parents credit card attached. They just bought there kid a new phone them wanting to spend $2-4 every week or two would seem like nothing.personally I would like for parents to stop bitching and suing every time there kid does something wrong. I agree and disagree with MS but understand. MS is always the bad guy no matter what (3rd party makes a crappy program with memory leaks, and its MS' fault). I think over time MS will relax some of the restrictions but really right now that can't afford any bad press and its better to just remove the app and not play the will Apple has it card in court/press.
  • @nrfitchett4 -- To answer your question on updates, updates won't be like WM6 where you have to re-flash (therefore lose everything) but after update your phone will be exactly the same (except with the update) so no you won't lose the game.. at least this is how I understand the process will work.
  • ps- I have my "Truth or Dare" game (LmOffice = publisher) get rejected initially because one of the Dares had the word "penis" so it was considered Mature content.. I argued that was excessive but eventually was told to remove it or it will never be approved.. I can understand not allowing "X" rated content but it seems a little ridiculous to censor "R" rated content like this. I think if you're allowed to use the Netflix app to download R-rated movies like Saw that show people cutting off their limbs and Eminem Mature songs from Zune marketplace that talk about killing and other things then I don't see how the word "penis" or a game that has some blood content gets pulled *sigh* for double standards :/
  • I can not believe this. This is an absolute outrage. You say you are going to treat WP7 as your mobile console and then you say you can't have M rated games on it? Your flagship titles on Xbox 360 are Gears of War, Halo, Call of Duty. All rated M. Ugh this is so disappointing! I hadn't downloaded twin blades yet either...
  • Really? I didn't buy twin blades, but I didn't know that MS banned "M" rated content. Maybe this is why we never saw the long-promised SplignerCell: Conviction game?
  • This is just a dumb and lazy move by MS. I love my WP, but one of the main reasons I bought it was for gaming on the go. Twin Blades was one of my favorites on the platform and, because I was switching out from a defective handset, I was not able to re-download it. I guess there goes my $3.Even Apple is letting games like this on its platform (and worse - see EA's Dead Space for iOS). But even worse than that is the HUGE double standard. I can watch more death, sex, depravity and violence via Netflix than Twin Blades could ever dream of. And don't get me started on IE. But I seriously doubt that MS is going to hardwire in controls that gimp what can be viewed in the browser and I can attest that they haven't restricted Netflix to PG-13 and below.I am both an adult and a parent. First and foremost, parents should be the ones policing what their kids have access to. If they can't handle that, they shouldn't be parents. Second, if MS really wants to help mitigate the "problem" of violent games, they should build parental controls into the WP7 platform. Lastly, Twin Blades is available on XBLA for the 360 as an Indie game. Indie games have no ratings by the ESRB. Indeed, the only rating comes from the XBLA community itself. And, to my knowledge, those games are exempt from the 360's parental controls.Please Microsoft, don't alienate your adult users. It's what made the 360 succeed; there's no reason to believe it can't do the same for your mobile platform.
  • As someone who has a 5yr old who loves to play hames on my phone I actually think its a good move. Now I get why many are not happy, however without parental controls its a safe move. The solution is easy, by adding optional parental controls everyone will be happy. The argument that kids don't buy these phones is silly as id bet most people with kids let them use it. Again a software update will address everyones concerns.
  • That is a personal decision made by each parent. I, for one, would not let my child play games on my handset. That's what she'll have a DS/3DS/4DS for. There is no need to hand your mobile phone over to your kid (excepting to talk to grandma and grandpa out of state). When she is old enough to handle the responsibility of owning her own handset, she'll get one. And at that point, I, being a well versed, technologically adept parent, would make sure that she would only own a phone that did have parental controls (even if it is the dreaded iPhone).I agree that just adding the parental controls would be the best solution that MS could offer to appease everyone. But I also understand the argument that kids don't buy these phones. They don't. Parents do. And if a parent gives their 10 year old an advanced handset with no limits on what content can be accessed, then shame on that parent.I've been a gamer since I was 4 years old. In the course of my life, this type of situation is much too common. And in the end, I always have the same beef with whatever hair-brained solution companies/lawmakers come up with: none of it is necessary if parents learn how to mind their children.Sorry for the rant, but this is a pretty hot button issue for me.
  • That is true, but your Zombie Attack! 2 Marketplace review is lame as it's not even reviewing the game. Wrong place to soapbox, that is.
  • What the hell is this!?!? HALO IS RATED M! So much for the "Xbox Live" phone when they can never even deliver the franchise game on it. Forget about other Xbox Live favorites like Gears of War and Call of Duty. This is a joke, an utter and complete joke. Since when was Microsoft a kiddie system? The Xbox audience is a hardcore gaming audience that plays primarily FPS and violent games. This makes no sense at all!