ESRB says Super Mario Odyssey isn't E for everyone
What exactly is Mario up to in New Donk City?
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was first, a game that appeared to appeal to adults, as much as it did with kids. That's not to say that the past Zelda's haven't, but just that Breath of the Wild was more grown up in regards to its gameplay mechanics, emotion, and story, than its predecessors. Now it appears as though Nintendo may possibly be applying the same level of thought to Super Mario Odyssey.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) which has typically given Mario titles an "E" for everyone, has rated the forthcoming Odyssey game with a 10+E, as in for everyone over 10 years of age. While the ESRB didn't explain their reasoning in detail, they did mention that the game received its rating due to cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes. This isn't exactly shocking though, as the same basic rating was applied recently in Australia, where Odyssey received a PG rating, instead of a typical G.
If you break those reasons down, it leaves us scratching our heads. First, no Mario game is what you'd call "violent." Sure, he jumps on a bad character's head, which knocks them off screen. But there's never any real "death" or "blood" in the game. Mild language? That one is particularly interesting, in that Mario games don't typically feature much talking, other than the occasional "H-hey, itsa me, Mario" and sounds Mario makes as he jumps. So I think it's safe to say we're not going to witness any "S" for "F" bombs in Mario, especially not with a 10+ rating. The suggestive theme was the last reason. What type of scenarios could Mario or his fellow castmates really be involved with to get that warning? A damsel in distress? We've already seen that a dozen times already and we've never seen a 10+ rating.
Perhaps it's all due to one thing, New Donk City. Super Mario Odyssey is the first Mario game to feature Mario in a city filled with humans, not just Koopas and Goombas. So it may be possible that Mario has to do something to a human that may be considered somewhat violent, even in a cartoonish manner (ex. Looney Toons), in which case it causes a suggestive theme (i.e. a fight, street violence, etc) thus provoking the human to utter back words, while not profane, that may cause some parents to take note. Again, don't expect GTA level violence and language here, but for some parents, a cartoon character possibly hurting a human on a semi-realistic street, may draw areas of concern. This is exactly the job of the ESRB, it's not to have a game banned, but to merely point out features and content that some parents may want to keep away from their kids.
So while I don't think we have much to worry about regarding Odyssey's content, I just hope that whatever happens in New Donk City, stays in New Donk City.