It’s harder to sneak material past the ESRB than it once was. Back in the 90’s Banjo and Kazooie could cram their games with subtle innuendo and get it all under the radar, but The Man is more alert to that sort of thing now. That’s why The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been stamped with an E-10 for “mild suggestive themes and an alcohol reference.”
Zelda has gotten the “suggestive themes” descriptor before, for games it already released without it. The 3DS versions of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask got E-10s reportedly for that busty, nearly-naked Great Fairy — on the N64 she was shrieking and traumatizing kids of all ages. The remakes were also tagged with “Animated Blood,” when back in the day you could just make it green and get an E. Not anymore.
But it’s the suggestion of booze that’s turning heads. Apparently this is because you can walk into a cafe/bar at some point and witness NPCs laughing and hiccuping while guzzling an undefined beverage. You can also meet a bar owner who spells it out by mentioning what she sells is “definitely just for adults.” Majora’s Mask also included a tipsy man, but this was in a “Milk Bar” and he was literally drunk on milk. Majora’s Mask 3D received no Alcohol Reference stamp; apparently the concept of alcoholic milk is so out there that it doesn’t count.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be out March 3 for Wii U and Switch. Both games will have identical content, including the same drunk guys.