The official Final Fantasy 16 ESRB rating has been revealed, and it sounds like we're in for a pretty dark time. As has been rumored for some time, FF16's rating reflects its violence, sexual themes, and partial nudity, as well as some good old-fashioned blood and gore.
Back when Final Fantasy 16 was announced in late 2020, its darker and more mature tone led fans to speculate that it would receive a higher age rating. That turned out to be the case; the ESRB has awarded a Mature rating to FF16. This rating is pretty rare for the series; most entries land somewhere between E and Teen, although some spinoffs, like Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, have enough edge to ratchet up their ratings.
Reading the full ESRB listing for Final Fantasy 16 honestly makes it sound pretty exciting. The board says the game will feature "a character's hands severed by a sword", a guard's throat being slit with a knife, and a character impaled through the chest, as well as a prisoner being stabbed in the shoulder by "an interrogator's blade". Ouch.
As well as the violence, Final Fantasy 16 sounds like it's going to ratchet up the sexual content. The game will apparently contain "sexual moaning sounds" in an actual brothel, as well as sexually suggestive dialogue and "partially exposed breasts and buttocks" on some characters. Curse words will also be present, so it's safe to say this one isn't for kids.
Of course, this won't be the first time the series has featured a brothel. Final Fantasy 7 memorably took Cloud to the Honey Bee Inn, a rather strange and quaint brothel in which the female staff dressed as bees. 2020's Final Fantasy 7 Remake completely transformed the Honeybee Inn into a rather wonderful nightclub, probably so it wouldn't have to reckon with an uncomfortably homophobic and unpleasant scene present in the original game.
The ESRB rating doesn't tell us the context for the things it lists, so we don't know what significance the aforementioned brothel will have to the overall plot, nor do we know when the listed acts of violence will occur. Final Fantasy 16 is currently set for a June 22nd release, as revealed at this year's Game Awards, so we'll find out in the summer. It'll be PS5-exclusive for six months, although no additional platforms have been announced for it yet. Stay tuned for more.