In case you were expecting Dragon Age 2 to be 'less mature' than its predecessor, the ESRB has today given it that M stamp. What I'm finding curious is how other sites are reporting different bits of it ("No demon boobies!?"), so I just went over to the ESRB website (something I've rarely done, to be honest) and grabbed this blurb on what we can expect to find in the game (after this there be SPOILERS of some degree):
This is an action-adventure role-playing game in which players assume the role of a warrior who completes quests in a mythical land. Players use swords, bows and arrows, and magical spells (e.g., fireballs, energy beams) to defeat human-like enemies and fantasy creatures (e.g., giant spiders, demons, ogres, golems). Attacks are often accompanied by slashing sounds, large explosions, and cries of pain. Blood splatter effects occur when enemies are hit, and damage sometimes results in dismemberment or decapitation--blood stains and body parts occasionally appear in the environment. In one cutscene, a man's severed head is held up then tossed to the ground. During the course of the game, characters sometimes engage in sexual dialogue (e.g., "Why is it always about sex with you?" and "Sailing is like sex. Do it wrong, and it'll make you sick."). Players can also initiate brief cutscene sequences in which couples (male-female or same-sex) are shown kissing and embracing one another in a bedroom as the screen fades to black. In one cutscene, a woman kneels in front of a male character and appears to perform fellatio--there is no depiction of the sex act; the camera pans out to the rest of the room. The words "a*s," "bastard," and "sh*t" appear in dialogue.
In truth, the description could easily describe Dragon Age: Origins, outside of the specific dialog. We already knew in December that same-sex relationships would be featured, but if you want another dose of confirmation, there you have it. Or, you know, in case you worried you would only have the sort of relationship with tons of sexual tension that never gets released and instead has tons of fans write slash fiction that clutters up various niche portions of the internet (in other words, BioWare is not following SquareEnix's example).
The changes seem to be in the sex scenes themselves, and I can only hope this means moving away from awkward machinima romance porn, and instead leaving things to our imaginations by fading to black (how much action we see before hand may well be different when we consider the Isabela kissing scene we saw in an earlier trailer). Considering my imagination, that may or may not be for the better. Also, I almost wish they'd go back and do this with Zevran, as I can only imagine how else he might interpret "assassinating something in my tent."
Which almost makes me want to question sexual conservatives whether it's worse to have a tame, awkward sex scene that would make teens uncomfortable at the thought of getting down to loincloths with each other, or to leave it to their hormone-flooded imaginations after some introduction. Then again, that M rating means they shouldn't be purchasing it, but I do wonder how many parents pay close attention to such (the only game my mother ever forbid me from playing while growing up was Phantasmagoria). Oh, and apparently blowjobs--I for one welcome increasing the repertoire of sexual acts my avatar can explore.
Also, the line, "Sailing is like sex. Do it wrong, and it'll make you sick," sounds like something I'd expect from Isabela. I look forward to her inclusion in my party, whether or not said line is uttered from her.