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"Manhunt 2" will miss its original shipping date

At the end of a tumultuous week of Manhunt 2-centric “adults only” games news, Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive announced it will temporarily suspend the release of Manhunt 2 due to a violence ban in the United Kingdom and a ratings controversy in North America.

Originally slated for release on the Wii, PlayStation 2 and PSP on July 10, Manhunt 2 is facing a mandatory delay after the ESRB rated the game AO for adults only. Rockstar Games was left with few options as it is Nintendo and Sony’s policy to not allow AO content on its systems. (Microsoft also carries the same policy, though there is no Manhunt 2 planned for the Xbox 360.)

The AO rating would likely cripple game sales because stores such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Target refuse to carry video games with an AO rating. Publisher Take-Two stated it believes the game should have received the M rating – and is now exploring possible options to get the game rating changed.

To pass Nintendo and Sony standards, Rockstar Games will likely have to rework Manhunt 2’s content to fit an ESRB rating of M for mature. The changes in content may also allow it to be reconsidered for sale and distribution in the UK, from which it is currently banned.

"Take-Two Interactive Software has temporarily suspended plans to distribute Manhunt 2 for the Wii or PlayStation platforms while it reviews its options with regard to the recent decisions made by the British Board of Film Classification and Entertainment Software Rating Board," a representative told GameSpot. "We continue to stand behind this extraordinary game. We believe in freedom of creative expression, as well as responsible marketing, both of which are essential to our business of making great entertainment."

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By therealnickdanger on 6/22/2007 9:51:42 AM , Rating: 2
It's so strange that the AO rating even exists. In reality, the age requirement is the same as "M"... so why even bother? The ESRB needs to roll it all into "M for Mature" and work harder with retailers to limit purchases by minors. The same could be said for NC-17 movies, but games have no caveats for parents/guardians.


The original Manhunt was a great game to play alone in the dark, especially with the Xbox headset so you could hear Brian Cox speaking directly to you while sneaking around. He would always chime in at the most tense moments! The raw graphic violence of it sure seems tame after movies like Saw and Hostel...

RE: Shame.
By GoatMonkey on 6/22/2007 9:58:20 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's like the difference between R and NC-17. With an R rating younger kids can watch, but only with an adult, whereas NC-17 they can't watch no matter what.

RE: Shame.
By FITCamaro on 6/22/2007 10:14:38 AM , Rating: 2
Yes but if a parent buys an Adult Only game for their 16 year old kid, the console doesn't detect how old the kid is and refuse to play it.

He was correct in that, concerning games, Mature and Adults Only are the same. The only difference between the ratings is it tells parents that the latter might be a little worse than the former. But any parent who cares wouldn't buy them the mature game to begin with, much less the Adult Only.

Me personally, when I have kids, once they're of age and I know they can handle the content, I'll let them play games of Mature rating and probably Adult Only depending on the game(I wouldn't get them buy a hentai porn game). That age to me is around 15 or 16. If you haven't taught your kid that killing people is wrong by that age, you've already failed as a parent anyway.

RE: Shame.
By vortmax on 6/22/2007 10:38:55 AM , Rating: 1
If you haven't taught your kid that killing people is wrong by that age, you've already failed as a parent anyway.

But teaching them that killing and torturing people in a virtual world is ok? Doesn't make sense...

RE: Shame.
By XesBOX on 6/22/2007 11:11:50 AM , Rating: 1
It's a good thing you're too old to be playing these games... you sound an awful lot like the type of person that can't differentiate between fantasy and reality.

The thing that cracks me up the most is, when you think about it, Disney movies have an -awful- lot of death in them. Usually involving the good guys ousting the bad guys. Next time you pop a Disney movie in, be sure you know what your kids are watching, because you might be teaching them that killing is ok.

RE: Shame.
By MightyAA on 6/22/2007 11:42:18 AM , Rating: 2
Wow.. Are you trying to say this game is no different than a Disney movie? Get real.. That's like saying Scooby Doo cartoons are no different than movies like Rob Zombie produces. They both have creepy stuff right?

RE: Shame.
By Omega215D on 6/22/2007 3:08:49 PM , Rating: 2
There was a story on the news yesterday on these teenagers in a car packed with weapons and were arrested by the police. The chief of police stated that when they searched the houses of those teenagers that they confiscated harmful drawings and a computer system with "very very violent games depicting violent acts to others."

Chalk one up for "correlation = causation" category.

RE: Shame.
By therealnickdanger on 6/22/2007 3:23:33 PM , Rating: 4
Then chalk one down for every teenager that DOESN'T ride around in cars packed with guns.

RE: Shame.
By Omega215D on 6/22/2007 3:36:30 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that the chief made it seem video games had played a role in their acts is disgusting. Many urban teens have such games in their homes.

RE: Shame.
By Christopher1 on 6/22/2007 5:37:34 PM , Rating: 2
Quite true. A Lot of people have played violent video games and are no more violent than other people are, and in fact are LESS violent than other people are, because they take their frustrations out on things inside the games.

I also have to agree with an earlier poster that if you haven't taught your child by the age of 4 that it is WRONG to physically attack someone else for any reason, you have failed as a parent.

I made it VERY clear to my children that they were not to attack anyone else, regardless of the provocation that the other person used, and to only use enough force when they were attack to get the other person to stop attacking them.

RE: Shame.
By amehbah on 6/23/2007 8:51:45 AM , Rating: 5
I bet they had soap in the bathroom too! Ban soap before it forces your child to buy guns!

RE: Shame.
By GDstew4 on 6/22/2007 11:35:14 AM , Rating: 2
It is OK and I think that's what's been accepted by a lot of people that have grown up with video games.

RE: Shame.
By Christopher1 on 6/22/2007 5:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly right. Better to have them confine those things to virtual life (which most children who play violent video games and who have NOT seen real violence in real life do) than to have them doing them in real life.

Some people just don't want anyone to have a 'darker side' to them..... and that isn't going to happen, every being in the entire UNIVERSE has a light side and a dark side, and good and evil aren't necessarily relative to those two sides.

RE: Shame.
By mrEvil on 6/22/2007 11:47:20 AM , Rating: 1
You comment is out of context. He did not talk about "teaching" them to kill in a virtual world. The topic was moral rights, consequences, the differences between right and wrong AND the between the real world and Oz.

While you were at it, you forgot to add in your other right wing statement - "video games kill people". For that matter, you had better stay away from all racing/car games as well, because you can drive out of control and actually hit other cars and people. FPS are out as well because you kill people. RTS - well, it's about totally dominating a map/world, so those are out as well. Maybe stick your kids to only DDR or "Hello Kitty: Island Adventure"...although I'm sure that something in those offends as well.

RE: Shame.
By bdewong on 6/22/2007 1:10:41 PM , Rating: 3
Although, with DDR you might stamp people to death with wreckless dancing :)

RE: Shame.
By vortmax on 6/22/2007 2:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, this game is quite unique. It's main purpose is to hunt, brutally torture, and eventually kill people. Couple that with the Wii controller that allows you to act out the motions, it's much different than any game in existence...can't argue that.

Comparing this to some racing game (where the obvious purpose is to win the race) or some RTS is where you've jumped out of context. It's just like the poster above that says Disney movies are the same as this....get real.

Have we really gone so far as to create a game like this to entertain people? Why is it so entertaining to perform these acts in a virtual world? No consequences? Again, doesn't make sense to me...

RE: Shame.
By Ticholo on 6/22/2007 5:15:54 PM , Rating: 2
Comparing this to some racing game (where the obvious purpose is to win the race) or some RTS is where you've jumped out of context.

While I agree with that, Sony, Nintendo and MS have done the same when they banned AO games from their systems.
Quite frankly, AO games don't come out every week, or even month. They could just as easily have decided to review such games on a case by case basis.
Sure, unless some Carmageddon sequel comes out, there won't be any AO racing games or many other genres, but I still think people should be given a choice to play these games.
And stores banning them is equally as bad. Create an AO games section or have them available at the counter if you don't want them in shelves, but don't ban them.
It's just stupid to treat people as mindless drones.

Then again, this has been going on for decades in the movie industry. So they know it can be done and will continue to do it.

RE: Shame.
By Ringold on 6/22/2007 4:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing said in an attempt to limit distribution of a game, or any other product to adults, can truly be called a "right wing" statement. True conservatives believe in small government with individual responsibility -- religious fascists that hijack the perception of what a conservative is in the news believes the opposite, namely that limiting individual freedom is perfectly fine if it fits their specific moral code. I consider them to have walked so far to the right that, due to the curvature of the universe, have run in to communists at some point along the way...

RE: Shame.
By MightyAA on 6/22/2007 11:38:09 AM , Rating: 2
Think of it this way. An adult can go out and buy a NC-17 DVD (or NR porn). My cablebox doesn't check ID's either. At that point, it is their responsibility that they don't allow children to watch it; and there are laws for that too. I'd bet the next step in legislation is mandatory parental controls on consoles, just like the cable/satelite box once suscription type console gaming evolves AO games.

Also, NC-17 movies have the same issue with retail: No big box, blockbuster, etc., is going to sell it or rent it which equals lost revenue.

The problem with rating systems is that a lot of minor stuff will bump it up... Some deserve the rating, others do not. Did you know the vast majority of kid films are PG? The rating system thinks that a 12 year old needs my guidance to watch The Incredibles, Shrek, etc.. PG is the old G. No idea what G movies are even out there.. Then you also have things like Caddyshack and Stripes that are R rated.. why? At best, ratings are a "heads up" that you might want to play/watch it before just letting your kids do it.

RE: Shame.
By hubajube on 6/22/2007 11:47:39 AM , Rating: 2
At 17, a "child" has one more year before they're out on their own legally. If they don't "get it" by then, it will take a LOT longer than one year for them to "get it". IMO, if the kid doesn't have an above basic understanding of how the world works by their early teen years (14-15), then they more than likely won't be mature enough to really be on their own at 18 (even though they'll be old enough to).

RE: Shame.
By Samus on 6/22/2007 3:06:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'd have to play it before I could agree or disagree, but...this game looks unbelievably violent. It should probably not be played by anyone under 18, for the same reason nobody under 18 should see Scarface, Natural Born Killers, etc.

RE: Shame.
By walk2k on 6/22/2007 1:19:12 PM , Rating: 2

M = 17

AO = 18

Silly, yes, but what can they do... make M = 16? 15? They can't really change "adult" age, which is set by federal law.

RE: Shame.
By therealnickdanger on 6/22/2007 3:26:07 PM , Rating: 2
OK then, there we go. I suggest that they just eliminate one of them and put the age restriction at 18 for "mature" or "adult" content.

RE: Shame.
By psyph3r on 6/23/2007 4:01:53 PM , Rating: 2
they can stop censoring America through religiously held corporate policies. Just follow the federal law. follow the constitution and stop trying to run our lives. we are responsible for our children, we are responsible for ourselves. The choice is ours.<period

Pussification of a generation.
By XesBOX on 6/22/07, Rating: 0
RE: Pussification of a generation.
By dubldwn on 6/22/2007 12:59:39 PM , Rating: 2
I don’t think they have to choose one or the other. They could tone it down for the consoles (they have to or it’s cooked), but, yeah, up the gore for the pc and have it direct from the factory or download. Hardcore. New cult classic. Not sure if it would be a real money maker, but I agree regarding company image. Reestablishing themselves as the bad boys of gaming, with an unbelievably violent pc game, so violent it isn't sold in stores, would probably do them good.

RE: Pussification of a generation.
By Spivonious on 6/22/2007 1:03:52 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I can't think of any mainstream gaming store that sells AO games. This includes Babbages, Gamestop, EB Games, Blockbuster, Target, Walmart, Toys-r-Us, K-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.

This is not an issue about sales anyway. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all have policies against publishing AO-rated games for their respective systems.

As far as the "pussification" of the country, if you really want to gruesomely murder people in a video game you should be asking yourself "why" and not "why not".

RE: Pussification of a generation.
By encryptkeeper on 6/22/2007 1:24:13 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I can't think of any mainstream gaming store that sells AO games.

That's probably because there have only been 23 other games to EVER receive the AO rating. The last one to achieve that goal was GTA:SA, which was later edited and rereleased with an M rating.

Who's willing to bet if this were the *exact* same game, but not released by Rockstar it would be rated M?

RE: Pussification of a generation.
By kmmatney on 6/22/2007 3:41:33 PM , Rating: 2
I'm willing to bet it would have received on AO rating regardless of the games creator. It will no doubt be edited until it receives an M rating, though.

RE: Pussification of a generation.
By Ringold on 6/22/2007 4:25:57 PM , Rating: 1
you should be asking yourself "why"

1) Because it's fun
2) Because doing it to kittens is illegal
3) Because it's not WalMart's, the governments, or anybody elses business what I enjoy or don't enjoy, merely what I want to put money out for, and if they can turn a buck doing it then at the very least specialty stores like EB should sell it instead if pandering to censorship.

By Spivonious on 6/23/2007 9:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
If you don't want the government involved in what you play, then run for office and change it. Isn't a democratic republic great?

RE: Pussification of a generation.
By gradoman on 6/22/2007 1:29:15 PM , Rating: 1
I suppose reality ain't good enough for you. If you had real balls, you'd man up and head to Iraq or Afghanistan and fight over there. Oh, but this generation has been "pussified" as you said. So, my recommendation to you is to go back in time and fight in one of the World Wars, or Vietnam, maybe the Korean war would make you feel manly.

Since we don't have time travel why don't you get out there and sign your life away to the Army if YOUR life in this country (the USA) is too "weaksauce". Maybe they'll ship you off to Iraq or Afghanistan and you'll make it on the news as being the most "hardcore gamer with 1337 skillz" that ended up in a bodybag.

RE: Pussification of a generation.
By Ringold on 6/22/2007 4:27:26 PM , Rating: 2
You missed the idea entirely. Good job!

RE: Pussification of a generation.
By TSS on 6/25/2007 3:40:16 AM , Rating: 2
oh yeah shooting real people is far better then killing virtual people.

im actually more afraid of you then any gamer i know that would play this game.

Mock Outrage = Free Publicity
By amehbah on 6/22/2007 10:44:00 AM , Rating: 5
K... lets pretend you invest millions of dollars developing games as a business. Now, do you really think you'd be unaware of what sort of content might earn your game an AO rating? or unaware of the fact that you can't get a console license for an AO title? Do you think after getting the AO rating that you'd be shocked and amazed to find out Nintendo/MS/Sony won't grant you a license?

Perhaps instead you're fully aware of all the free publicity you'll get for your half-assed junk game if you intentionally put in content to get you an AO rating?

I would bet Take-Two already has a sanitized version of the game that would pass M rating sitting on the shelf in the office - which they'll trot out after milking the outrage publicity train for all it's worth.

Say hello to the gaming equivalent of the fake fued (Rosie&Donald) for TV ratings.

RE: Mock Outrage = Free Publicity
By bdewong on 6/22/2007 1:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with everything said.

I think, though, that they should be able to release 2 versions (and one of the consoles accept it) because I know some people only want to play the AO game. I bet when they tone it down less people will buy it. The ultra-violence people will say it's too tame and the other people will say it's too violent.

I saw this coming...
By PitViper007 on 6/22/2007 10:22:29 AM , Rating: 3
As soon as I saw that Nintendo and Sony (and Microsoft as well) wouldn't allow an "AO" rated game on their systems, I knew this would happen. I really don't see where Rockstar Games had any choice BUT to delay the game and fix it so it gets a max of an "M" rating.

The only way they could have gotten around this problem would have been to release it for the PC, but even then, as was said in the blurb, major retail outlets like Wal-Mart etc. won't sell "AO" rated games, and that severely limits their exposure. Well done Rockstar Games for doing what you obviously had to do.


RE: I saw this coming...
By TheDoc9 on 6/22/2007 11:08:01 AM , Rating: 2
Well It looks like a PR move to me. I've never heard of this game until a few days ago when it hit the news. Now everyone knows about it. Still not interested.

What's the difference?
By viperpa on 6/22/2007 10:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
So they will make the game with a little less blood. Is that suppose to make any difference? Is cutting someone up in the game Manhunt 2 any different than blowing someone up in the game Lost Planet?

As a adult I should have every right to play the game and play the game on that console that I bought whether it's Playstation or Wii.

RE: What's the difference?
By dubldwn on 6/22/2007 12:38:56 PM , Rating: 2
As a adult I should have every right to play the game and play the game on that console that I bought whether it's Playstation or Wii.

I agree with you, but the reality is if Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony don’t want it on their system, it’s dead in the water, and it’s their right to do that. Trying to force them to carry a game is a nonstarter. While many may not like that, I don’t think there’s much dispute there. That’s a completely separate issue from whether or not it should be banned by the government, which is where the Freedom of Speech/Expression argument comes in. All I can hope for is quality uncensored downloadable content on the pc.

I cant stand stuff like this....
By Jcruiser89 on 6/22/2007 4:59:31 PM , Rating: 2
So movies like saw, sin city, and hostle, are ok? And this isn't? I worked at an video game store for a few years, and the only way, besides an idiot employee, that a kid could get a M or AO rated game is if the parent bought it for them after we explicitly told them what was in it............stuff like this is my opinion...

By Neophyte1980 on 6/23/2007 10:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ok so I haven't trawled through every single reply on this so don't vote me down for that but...

...have any of you ever seen a film called Irreversible? The fire extinguisher -> head scene is deeply disturbing. Even though the end result was created with a mixture of latex models and CG it doesn't detract from the (deliberate) horror of that scene. I remember me and the missus both sitting up gasping "jesus" afterwards.

In the UK this film, along with the first Manhunt, was granted an 18 certificate. Our classification doesn't seem as elaborate as the US but an 18 simply means no-one, even under consent, should be allowed to see or play an 18 certificate movie/game (R18 exists but only for hardcore pornography sold in licensed sex shops).

The missus was watching me play Manhunt (18 certificate) and barely raised an eyebrow at the most gruesome death sequences. This of course is a digitised representation of real-world violence and "artistic merit" of varying degree can be applied at any time.

In the UK a young teenager was murdered a couple of years ago and it was carried out by another teenager who was obsessed by Manhunt. The judge in the trial pointed out several times that the game should not be villified to the point of being responsible for the killing. Sure enough, after the trial the murdered boy's parents and the british media all pointed to Manhunt as being responsible for the killing calling for the game to be banned etc. (cue huge increase in sales).

Sadly, failings in society look to blame the easiest option. Over here we shake our heads in despair over college shootings like the most recent Virginia Tech one. Who was to blame for Columbine, Marilyn Manson? Utter cow dung. This brit teen's murder, Manhunt? Codswallop. Virginia Tech, some obscure film-noir japanese/korean film? Boulderdash. The individuals involved have taken inspiration from the "villains" yet they are already seriously mentally disturbed in some way. If it wasn't for these "villains" the evil people who commited these attrocities will have found solace from something else be it Happy Days or Days Of Our Lives.

To exert itself from any responsibility the media is desperately trying to distance itself from being any sort of influence. I for one am able to distinguish between make believe and reality and object to anyone telling me that I can't. San Andreas certainly didn't make me want to pop a cap in some n****r's ass and I don't go round car-jacking random people.

Reality <-> Fiction. Only the mentally disturbed cannot make the distinction. Exposure to video games or movies is society's way of looking for a scapegoat to cover up their failings hence I believe it is unjustified for the UK classification board to ban the game outright and, from what I've read, for the US to give it an AO rating as opposed to M.

By jonmcc33 on 6/23/2007 1:20:17 PM , Rating: 2
Sony not allowing Adults Only? What, did they forget about their Grant Theft Auto games? What hypocrites!

RE: Hypocrisy
By daftrok on 6/23/2007 7:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that the game was rated M when released, and then when a code was found to show that sex scene, it was rated AO. It was only a behind the counter sale and you had to specifically ask for it. Gamecrazy, Gamestop, etc. were prohibited by law to sell that game to people under the age of 18, and later on the game was fixed to remove that sex scene and was restored to an M rating...dumbass.

Welp ....
By Boney on 6/22/2007 9:53:32 AM , Rating: 1
I guess this means Manhunt2 won't be seen on VH1's "Best Week Ever" because this is about as bad as it could get for Rockstar.

RE: Welp ....
By slacker57 on 6/22/2007 1:40:29 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't that mean it WILL be on BWE, since that show is basically complete irony?

classic chicken and the egg
By dispo on 6/22/2007 12:52:13 PM , Rating: 2
do violent video games convince people to kill or do killers gravitate toward violent video games?

By Educator on 6/23/2007 1:01:01 PM , Rating: 1

Your software programs do have an enormous impact on society; youth and adults are significantly influenced through desensitization of violence, civil responsibilities as well as general respect. You may view your products as simple entertainment but, I assure you as an educator, I've seen its impact on those who are exposed. Specifically, your impact on individual students. It's evident your influence on society is negative, one you must take responsibility for. I have taught grades 2 through 8 and every one of my students that have been exposed and/or used your software (i.e.: 'Grand Theft Auto', etc.) embrace and emulate its environment. These are the same children who should be shielded from such exposure, yet they still manage to be exposed and use it.

I'm sure individuals at your firm have children and the vast majority would never allow them to view, let alone play your software. Not all people with children make the right decisions. Playing your games in front of child and/or making them available is damaging and has long term effects.

As a former systems analyst for hospital patient accounting systems, I can appreciate the planning and development of your software projects require as well as the millions required generate the end product. Alas, fait has finally caught up with your efforts. You're going to have to face your investors and explain why your firm continues to produce some of the most violent and antisocial software on the market (as if they are unaware). You'll likely face a class action law suit by your investors for producing a product that is irresponsible at best and will not produce dividends as intended; outcome, mismanagement. Perhaps another coup is in line in regards to executive management. In any case, given the press and the anti-sentiment along with unprecedented disapproval by regulators, your attempted release of 'Manhunt 2' illuminates your ventures' and mission as one of violent, antisocial and monetarily driven at the expense of society.

In what had to be the most obvious means of attempted spin, you say 'Manhunt 2' is art - your firm must be living in a make believe world you create. Yes, art is in the eye of the beholder. Art is designed to illicit an emotional response but, in this case you know your targeted audience and intended outcomes. It is not a civil right to undermine a society nor civilization by attempting to pander one's effort off as art.

The 'AO' classification is rightly so. It's obvious you're disappointed, seeking a watering down of such a disastrous rating 'AO' of 'Manhunt 2' and its potential impact on sales. But what did you expect as you continually raised the ante in regards to violence and anti-social behavior?


RE: Manhunt2
By IceTron on 6/23/2007 8:04:07 PM , Rating: 1
Liberal warning above

By dualie on 6/24/2007 10:59:19 PM , Rating: 2
Any fool can add more violence to a game, get it banned for publicity, then have the "less violent" version standing by for release after all the media sheep have obliged them with publicity.

These types of games are ridiculously boring and unimaginative. That's why they need extra hype to sell this crap. Luckily for them, the mental giants in the UK played right into their hand with their ban. Now kids who wouldn't have even known it exists will likely have heard about it, making it more desirable than this unoriginal trash deserves.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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