Helldivers 2 Gets M Rating for Intense Violence, Blood, and Gore


Helldivers 2 gets an M rating from ESRB. Learn more about the rating's justification, its rate summary in 2021, and the procedure used by the ESRB to assign ratings to video games.

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Helldivers 2 Gets an M Rating

The Gory Details of Helldivers 2


Helldivers 2, the widely awaited sequel to the successful cosmic combat game, has received a Mature rating from the Entertainment Software Classification Board (ESRB). The ranking did not faze many fans, though it may be interesting to note that the first Helldivers game only had a T rating.

In this third-person shooter, players can access an arsenal of weapons ranging from pistols and assault rifles to flamethrowers, turrets, grenades, and rocket launchers, accompanied by “realistic gunfire” and “cries of pain.” The targets are formidable foes, including robots, cyborgs, and giant insects.

Helldivers 2 may have raised some eyebrows of the public due to the intense gore and violence in the game, but not its fans. The sequel seems to build upon the violent features of its predecessor, now allowing players to continue attacking defeated enemies, resulting in additional blood-splatter effects and dismemberment. Furthermore, players can also shoot and kill human civilians during the rescue missions, contributing to the game's over-the-top gore factor.

With such intense violence and gory elements, the game undoubtedly warrants the ESRB's Mature rating.

ESRB Ratings and Game Categories


Video games released in North America must receive age and content ratings from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). The following are the categories for the ratings:

Ratings Description
E for Everyone (E) Suitable for all ages
Everyone 10+ (E10+) Recommended for ages 10 and up
Teen (T) Suitable for ages 13 and up
Mature (M) Intended for ages 17 and up due to mature content
Adults Only (AO) For adults only, 18 and above
Rating Pending (RP) The game has not yet been assigned a final rating

A glimpse into the gaming landscape reveals a distribution of ESRB ratings. In 2021, 50% of game ratings assigned were categorized as E for Everyone, showing the prevalence of family-friendly games. Surprisingly, only 12% of games received the Mature rating, indicating a smaller proportion of games targeted at adult audiences. The remaining percentages were allocated to Teen and Everyone 10+ categories.It would be interesting to note that in 2021, there were basically no AO rated games. as the category didn’t even show up in the graphs.

ESRB Game Rating Process


The ESRB game rating tends to be a helpful tool to know which games are coming real soon. This is especially true for those games that don’t have a solid release date announced, as they rate games that are pretty much ready for release.

The ESRB follows a detailed process for rating both physical and digital games. For physical games, the publisher submits a completed questionnaire detailing relevant content, including violence, sexual content, language, and gambling. A video showcasing typical gameplay, missions, cutscenes, and the most extreme content is also provided.

The ESRB then assigns three trained raters to review the video and recommend a rating category, content descriptors, and interactive elements. The raters' collective recommendation is evaluated and confirmed, and the rating summary is finalized. The publisher can accept the rating as final or revise the game's content and resubmit it for reevaluation. Post-release, testers may play-test the game to ensure the content disclosure was accurate.


Helldivers 2's shift to a Mature rating signifies its deeper immersion into intense violence and gory elements, setting it apart from its T-rated predecessor. As gaming evolves and diversifies, the ESRB's role in providing appropriate age and content ratings becomes increasingly essential. By adhering to a meticulous rating process, the ESRB ensures that players, parents, and the gaming community have the information to make informed choices about the games they play or purchase.

ESRB Ratings Process
2021 Video Games Ratings Summary
Hell Divers 2 ESRB Rating


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