Will Conan Exiles be censored on Xbox? The balls are in the ESRB's court

Conan Exiles
Conan Exiles (Image credit: Funcom)

In Conan Exiles, you can band together with friends, build huge strongholds, enslave NPC workers, and dungeon crawl for loot and glory. The game is currently undergoing a beta test on PC, and is slated for an Xbox One launch in the latter half of 2017.

One of Conan Exiles' most awesome interesting unique features is full blown male and female nudity. The game's customizable characters can be adjusted using an "endowment" slider, too, allowing you to express your innermost self-image desires. However, there have been some rumors pointing to Microsoft censoring the game, preventing console players from enjoying the full glory of the game's Unreal Engine organs.

Microsoft has clarified, noting that they will be following the ESRB ratings board's decisions on this very crucial issue.

"The statement made by Funcom about "Conan" content being altered at the discretion of Microsoft was inaccurate. Microsoft and Xbox abide by the policies and guidelines set forth by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating system. Funcom has submitted "Conan Exiles" for review to the ESRB and pending its receipt of an acceptable rating we look forward to publishing the game on Xbox."

Every game on Xbox Live, whether it's an AAA blockbuster or a small indie game in the Xbox Live Creators Program has to be rated by the ESRB prior to publishing. This is to ensure Microsoft's content monitoring systems work properly, as parents can prevent children accessing 18+ rated content at a system level.

Hopefully, the ESRB comes through and gives us all what we really want allows creativity to flourish in the face of needless censorship. It's not the first time games on Xbox have featured nudity, as fans of Grand Theft Auto and The Witcher will attest.

Does this issue bother you at all? Will the lack of endowment customization affect your purchase decision of Conan Exiles? Let us know your thoughts on this thoroughly critical issue.

See Conan Exiles on Steam

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Lmao dat title xD you saw the opportunity and you took it.
  • I am both ashamed and proud
  • Haha. I love the edited text in the article.
  • Really, I thought Dante's Inferno was pretty damn graphic... I actually liked the game play.
  • Thumbs up for that title XD
  • They could swing either way.
  • This reminds me... Remember the Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures mmo many years ago? Remember firing it up for the first time and running around slaying and looting in violent glory? Remember first encountering the completely nude and detailed female "amazon" tribe outside the town? Yes! A true dark fantasy, adult-y themed mmo! Then remember a month after launch? All the stuff that made AoC adult-y was censored/taken out of the game. All because there was going to be a planned console version of the mmo (which I don't think ever took off but I could be mistaken). Funcom sucked the "fun" out and their balls dropped in a hurry. Somehow I think they'll cave with this title, too.
  • Considering what they did to Dragon Age Inquisition I'm not holding my breath on anything.
  • First of all why the need to add such a item in create a character anyway? It's not like most people will want to mess around with "questionable mods". I get it that it allows for realism however there has to be a balance between realism and safeguarding. Sadly there are so many "parents" out there that aren't that mature and do not give two hoots about game ratings. They will sit and happily play 18+ rated games in front of kids.
  • I agree with you, I don't see any value added to the game play by including items like this. We have an Xbox in our family room and my daughter's game room. Anyone in the family can walk thru at anytime while someone is playing a game, so games like this aren't allowed in the house. Like some of the COD games, you should be able to turn off the language and some of the gore. I never understood how characters dropping f-bombs adds to the game play. By having a toggle for stuff like that, I can feel comfortable letting a game into my house and those that need that in their games can have it too.
  • I've never understood how people can play extremely violent games, with no objections, but if there's animated breasts or a penis, or "god forbid" a curse word, they freak. How does that even make sense?!?!
  • I like The Forest. Extreme violence and extreme nudity! Woo! :D (it's seriously fun, too. Multiplayer w/friends basically required)
  • I can only agree!
    Kids shall get used to violence in all its glory -- but nudity? No, that is too offensive, have you ever looked at nude bodies? A traumatizing horror! Rather let our kids dismember with splattering gore everyone we deem bad but never dare to let them see someone nude running around the place, it could lower their manners!
  • @kallekleiven, indeed. I suppose it's because people have become desensitized to violence. Plus With game characters looking incredibly realistic it probably boils down to subconscious values. I think going forward games should implements a safe guarding toggle where adults can enable it disable it using a pin. Personally I'd play it with that toggle on and others who wish to play it can the game as it was intended by the devs can play it with it off.
  • @CaymanDreamin. Well first of all there is no way on earth you're going to prevent kids from hearing swear words throughout their lives. The only thing you can do is teach them the difference and proper adjectives. Secondly, even if you turned off "some of the gore" the premise is still the same - a person is shooting npc's in a virtual environment...
  • What exactly is an "acceptable rating" here? If the game gets an AO rating will the XBox store still sell it even though brick and mortar retailers won't? Personally, I don't want to see any censorship from Microsoft or the ESRB. The hyper-sensitivity to anatomical details and things that could be remotely sexualized is tiresome and old fashioned. Adults play video games too.
  • It may indeed be "tiresome" as you suggest but you speak of "old fashioned" as something that should be avoided or intrinsically wrong. People need a better "reason" then that because it's too subjective and irrelevant.
  • Simple, add a toggle to hide such details. Which can be pin locked if necessary.
  • I think I will sell my xbox and build a PC, it has more future.
  • How to build a PC, in 3 steps. 1. Learn. (Jayztwocents or LinusTechTips)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=k1Q8ksRI1Eo 2. Research/build
    http://pcpartpicker.com/ 3. Confirm/help/ask questions https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/
  • I don't understand why people get so bent up about nudity.
  • I feel you. My understanding is that Microsoft's policy is to block anything above M being released on their consoles. Which is a shame because the AO rating exists for a reason.
  • @Sin Ogaris, personally I'm thinking about the future generations. Do you think normalising such things is a good thing? Games should include a toggle to hide such details, enabler by default and can be turned off. The devs can go further and ask gamers to register to turn it off and link a card to prove their over 18. This way it's easier to purchase DLC and devs can send notifications to gamers should they opt-in for such notifications.
  • Nudity is normal. They aren't sexualising things here, it's just nudity. Everybody gets naked.
  • Nudity or not, there has to be a balance. Some of us don't like looking at that stuff hence why I suggested the toggle. Plus you need to think beyond what you perceive.
  • A toggle wouldn't actually help the ESRB issue, which has to rate the game based on the maximum available content. So, if a game had AO content, even with a pin-protected toggle, it would have to be rated AO and thus not be available on Xbox.  
  • I'm aware that it won't help ESRB issue. However there are many games that display graphic nudity, God of War, Dantes Inferno to name a few. But the toggle will go a long way as some people don't looking at that stuff and want play to these games spending good money. Plus there are countless other situations, a typical one being girlfriends who are not gamers and find their boyfriends spending hours staring at virtual nudity as opposed to looking at them. Plus there are guys, like myself that don't like looking at this stuff and understand others do hence the toggle.
  • What a dumb, childish "feature."
  • We need "those" to survive as a species. ^-^
  • Do gloves, gauntlets and boots adjust in size accordingly?
  • I saw what you did there 😀😀
  • When I was 12 this would have been epic... Now....stupid.
  • If there is something like this in the game: Have fun with it! I do not care much about it and I would never try to forbid it. Features centered around nudity are childish? I like the irony here and the bigotry, they make always my day.
  • https://youtu.be/qGsHxCIZJfo
  • Remember when Nintento took the blood out of Mortal Combat...I'm old aren't I...well I'm just going to go sit down now
  • By Crom!  This censorship must end!