Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is finally available, with gamers now able to build their characters and become Fatemakers. The game features several series’ firsts, such as different melee weapons, spells that replace grenades, and a fully fleshed out Overworld map for gamers to explore. However, that is not all that is changing.
Not only are new features like the multi-class system and character creation available to gamers, but the game was rated T for Teen by the ESRB - a massive change from Borderlands’ usual M ratings. Gearbox likely did not make this change haphazardly, as it has a few clear effects on Tiny Tina's Wonderlands and its player base. While these can be seen as positives or negatives, the decision to make an age rating adjustment makes complete sense on closer inspection.
The Impact of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands’ T Rating
In the Borderlands series, blood and gore are as common as skags and lootsplosions. Nearly every critical kill will end in a removed limb or an enemy’s entire body exploding into a bloody mist, with many enjoying the violence since it fits the world and makes their character seem incredibly powerful. However, with a lower age rating, this aspect of Borderlands is no longer present.
Fortunately, it does not matter as much in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, as gamers are mainly facing off against fantastical creatures like goblins and living mushrooms. The Dragon Lord’s army is heavily comprised of skeletons, for instance, meaning that there is no need for blood and gore since it would not make sense for the moving piles of bones to bleed when shot. Combat still feels satisfying without the blood and removal of limbs, though it could take some getting used to for longtime fans.
Considering that Tiny Tina’s tragic backstory has made her more than a bit familiar with violence, it makes sense that she would ease up on the more gruesome side of it within her Bunkers and Badasses campaign. Further, it makes perfect sense for a game designed by a teenager to have a target audience of teenage gamers. While this requires Gearbox to swap out the pub’s drinks with non-alcoholic beverages, it makes for some solid jokes that suit Tina and the wider audience that the spin-off is welcoming.
By moving down to a T for Teen rating, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands opens itself up to more players. Young gamers whose parents are unwilling to let them engage with M-rated games would likely be willing to let them play Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands because of this rating change, as it removes the more adult-focused content often seen in Borderlands. Expanding the reach of the franchise is a good thing, as the Borderlands fan base continuing to grow ensures that Gearbox has a reason to keep releasing new Borderlands content for years to come.
While Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands’ age rating change may be bad news for those that enjoy Borderlands’ visceral combat and adult-friendly jokes, it could be good news for the franchise as a whole. Whenever Borderlands 4 drops, young gamers that got into the series through Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands could be old enough to get the next game, becoming even bigger fans of the series in the process. Though Tina Tina’s Wonderlands may feel a slight bit different to longtime fans, Borderlands’ heart and humor is still present, and the new age rating could end up benefiting the game from a sales standpoint.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
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