Wrestling game AEW Fight Forever still doesn’t have a release date, despite a launch being promised before the end of 2022. According to Wrestle Zone, a source close to the situation has confirmed that ESRB rating issues are holding it back – as publisher THQ Nordic is aiming for a Teen rating, and has been pushed back on ‘multiple occasions’.
Reportedly, previous versions of the game submitted to the ESRB did not meet the criteria for a Teen rating, and instead garnered a harsher rating that would have prevented the game from being sold to younger audiences. THQ Nordic has reportedly taken steps to reduce this rating, re-submitting the game multiple times, with plenty of back-and-forth.
Wrestle Zone sources believe the game is now in a much better spot, with developers confident of the current ESRB submission – but it’s unclear if concessions had to be made in the process of rating.
Current speculation is that depictions of blood have held the game back from its desired Teen rating. It could also be that depictions of intergender wrestling rankled the ratings board (fights are not gender-locked, per a recent game preview) – as this is a frequent topic of discussion even on weekly wrestling television.
Whatever the case, clearing up this alleged ESRB issue could be the final step towards the game’s planned release. Should this be the case, we can expect more news of the title shortly.
Notably, AEW Fight Forever has already seen its fair share of drama – even ahead of the game’s release. When it was first announced, the main cover star was popular wrestler CM Punk, who shared the box art with other AEW standouts like Jade Cargill and Britt Baker.
Following a backstage fight which saw CM Punk benched from the main AEW roster, he was removed from the cover, replaced by ‘busier’ box art spotlighting a number of stars equally – Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, Chris Jericho, and others. It’s unknown if this drama further contributed to the delayed release of the game.
We’ll likely learn more about the ESRB rating issue as AEW: Fight Forever nears a firmer release. Stay tuned for further details as they arise.