Gamasutra has a lengthy piece up today looking at the ins and outs of ESRB ratings. There are a lot of misconceptions about the process, and ESRB president Patricia Vance took some time to set the record straight: "Q: What do raters receive or know about a game before the video arrives? Do raters receive information on the game along with the video? For example, could a publisher send along promotional or explanatory material for the rater? A: Along with the video, the only other information that might be provided to raters is a script or lyric sheet provided by the publisher for the game being evaluated. Capturing language and dialogue on the video submission, particularly in context, can be tricky. So sometimes, instead of having a video with a montage of several instances of foul language (including the most extreme), the raters review the scripts and lyric sheets to gain a better understanding of the dialogue and frequency with which profanity and other potentially offensive language occur."
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