Diablo III lead designer Jay Wilson says that the game's over-gratuitous gore is OK for his 9-year-old daughter.
It's hard not jumping on a soap box in regards to gaming violence, children, and the ESRB ratings. But when Blizzard's Jay Wilson says that he allows his 9-year-old daughter to (presumably) play M-rated titles, and publically admits it, the soap box begs for a few preaching feet. Wired actually stumbled across Wilson's wife and daughter at BlizzCon while they played Diablo III, then later tracked down Wilson himself and grilled the lead designer about his daughter and what she plays.
So what was his answer? Basically, Diablo III isn't quite as personal as games with guns or first-person shooters with violence. He boils it down to choice: is the game suitable for the child despite the ESRB rating plastered on the box? Ultimately, he hits the nail on the head: games children play depends on the final verdict of (hopefully) educated parents. A T-rated game for one child may be suitable for one, but not for another of the same age group.
"Well, I feel like for every parent you have to make a choice about what kind of content is appropriate for your child and at what age," he told Wired. "At a certain age, I wouldn’t have let her play a game like Diablo because of the violence. And honestly, I paused before letting her play."
According to Wilson, as a developer, it's hard not to share his work with his daughter, especially when she wants to see the progress on his latest project. "I don’t really want to deprive her of that," he said, adding that he knows his daughter well enough to know if she would have any problem handling certain content.
"To do my official company line, too, one of the things we intend to do is add parental controls so that every parent can make their own choice about what’s appropriate for their kids," he said.
On the other hand, don't expect Diablo III to appeal to a wider, general audience. "Diablo is our Mature-rated series, and it’s important for us that it be that. It’s our goal, and that’s where we want it to be."