Only in Japan so far, but could signal things to come
The Hong Kong crime title from United Front that is now known as Sleeping Dogs has received the equivalent of an “AO” or Adults-Only rating in Japan. The Japanese ratings board known as CERO gave the game its version of the AO rating, which is a rating of “Z”.
Square Enix has responded to this by electing to customize the game for release into the Japanese market in hopes of getting a better rating. Titles in Japan that are “Z” rated are held behind the counter and must be requested for purchase, which would naturally hinder potential sales.
A number of scenes in the game will be adapted and modified for Japanese audiences in a practice that has become more commonplace than you would think, as a number of titles have had modified versions that were just for Japanese release.
So far, only Japan has elected to give the title an adults-only rating, but it could signal potential issues in other regions. The title received a Mature rating from the ESRB for release here in the States. Sources tell us that not all of the ratings are in yet, so it might not be only Japan that ends up with a modified version of the title. The title is still set to be released on August 14th in North America and August 17th in Europe. The date for the Japanese release has not yet been confirmed by Square Enix, but we assume that it will be in the next couple of days.