Yesterday, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) banned Manhunt 2 for the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 2 in Great Britain. “Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly. Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications which remove the material which contravenes the Board’s published Guidelines. In the case of Manhunt 2 this has not been possible,”
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said. “Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing. There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game.”
“Although the difference should not be exaggerated the fact of the game’s unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying and the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer, together with the different overall narrative context, contribute towards differentiating this submission from the original Manhunt game. That work was classified ’18’ in 2003, before the BBFC’s recent games research had been undertaken, but was already at the very top end of what the Board judged to be acceptable at that category.”
A day after that announcement, more bad news came for Rockstar Games. After receiving an Adult Only (AO) rating from the ESRB, both Nintendo and Sony confirmed that they will not allow the game to be released on their systems. “It’s currently our policy not to allow the playback of AO-rated content on our systems,” a Sony spokesperson told GameSpot. That leaves Rockstar in a bind. Either they will have to find a new platform (namely the PC, as Microsoft will not allow AO games either), appeal the ESRB rating or remove the questionable content. Any changes to the game could delay it by months. It is currently scheduled for a July release, which is now seriously in doubt.