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Manhunt 2 Ban for PS2 and Wii as an AO rated Game

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Console-makers confirm policies preventing licensed third parties from releasing Adults Only games on their systems, effectively banning the Rockstar title.


When Take-Two Interactive yesterday confirmed that the Entertainment Software Rating Board handed down a rating of AO for Adults Only for Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo Wii, the publisher said it was exploring its options.


GameSpot has confirmed with Nintendo and Sony that one of those options, which would be to accept the ESRB's judgment and release the game with the AO rating, isn't an option at all.


Both companies forbid licensed third-party publishers from releasing games rated AO for Adults Only on their various hardware platforms. Though Manhunt 2 isn't slated for any of Microsoft's systems, the company has also confirmed that it does not allow AO-rated titles on the Xbox or Xbox 360.


The sole exception to this rule was in 2005 when the already released Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was retroactively rated AO, at which point retailers pulled it from shelves and Take-Two suspended production of the game.


"It's currently our policy not to allow the playback of AO-rated content on our systems," a Sony spokesperson told GameSpot.


Nintendo's official line was much the same. "Games made for Nintendo systems enjoy a broad variety of styles, genres, and ratings," a representative told GameSpot. "These are some of the reasons our Wii and Nintendo DS systems appeal to such a broad range of people. But as with books, television, and movies, different content is meant for different audiences.


That's why the ESRB provides ratings to help consumers understand the content of a game before they purchase it. As stated on Nintendo.com, Nintendo does not allow any AO-rated content on its systems."


Take-Two's most readily available alternatives are to appeal the ESRB's AO rating or to modify the game. As of press time, a Rockstar Games representative had not responded to GameSpot's inquiry about how either move would impact the game's scheduled July 10 release date.


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I am annoyed by this decision. I know it is Sony's and Nintendo's right to say no AO games but if the game is clearly rated AO and anyone under 18 is not allowed to buy it (I get carded at stores all the time when buying a M rated game, so with an AO it would be even worse), then why can't older gamers enjoy the game the way it was meant to be played? Games aren't just for kids anymore.


I'm sure they'll edit it to get the M rating but it will still be a very violent game that kids shouldn't be playing anyway so I don't see the difference. Maybe Rockstar will release it for the PC uncensored since no one could stop them from releasing it (but then there is the issues of stores selling an AO rated game). Other than stores like FYE (since they sold the AO San Andreas and sell adult DVD's), I can't see most retailers carrying it

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Manhunt 2 has already been effectively banned in the UK anyway, as the BBFC have refused to give it a rating, meaning it cant be legally sold in the UK.


From what I have heard, I can see why they made that decision. Its not the gore filled content which I heard isn't much worse that the first game, but the casual attitude towards it. Manhunt had you doing all these things for a reason, you were being coerced into it. It also had something to say, making social statements that made you question your actions.


They say Manhunt 2 feels more like killing just for the sake of killing. For nothing other than the fun of it, and asks no questions about it.


However, the issue with the AO rating is much more severe. I understand people worried about games affecting impressionable minds, but surely there should still be a right to play the more adult or gruesome games? Of course, that would be with controls to prevent them getting into the hands of minors.

That said, some people don't understand that games can be so extreme. I've seen parents buying 18 rated games for their 9 year old kids. "Its just a game" they say. That right there is a big part of the problem I reckon. And when people do stupid things, the powers that be will tend to take steps to protect them from their own stupidity. Sadly, that can screw things up for the rest of us.

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If "ManHunt 2" was to get released for PC, I think it would get banned as well.


The 1st game is great, not cos you have 3 different types of killing someone but because you can attach a USB headset and it feels like the voice is telling you to seek revenge.


Latest News:


Game won't make July 10th release date


Following bans on the sale of the game in the UK and Ireland, as well as a preliminary Adults Only rating in the US, Take-Two Interactive has temporarily shelved Manhunt 2.


"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 BBFC and ESRB," Take-Two said in a written statement.


"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."


Manhunt 2 was originally scheduled for a July 10th release on the PlayStation 2, PSP, and Nintendo Wii. However, Sony and Nintendo corporate policies forbid third-parties from releasing AO-rated titles for their systems. On Wednesday, Take-Two confirmed that the game had indeed received an Adults Only rating from the ESRB.


The game has already been banned in the UK and Ireland.


Take-Two has not yet announced its final intention to appeal the rating, to rework the game and resubmit it to the ESRB for a new rating determination, or to shelve the game indefinitely.




Let's hope Take- 2 can restructure the game and it comes out as I would not want to see it get "canned" like "Thrill Kill" did when EA took over the developer.

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To get around the BBFCs reasoning, they would have to completely rework the game plotline and tone. That would be a massive undertaking.


The BBFC have already said they would like to have been able to recomend cuts and edits like they do with other similar games to allow a rating, but as the issue with Manhunt 2 is so fundamental to the games structure and plot (or lack thereof) they could not make any cuts that would change the tone.


To get a rating from the BBFC, they would have to completely alter the tone of the game, rather than the level of violence. Im not sure if thats something Take two would be prepared to do.


Getting round the AO rating however may just be a case of censoring the violence. I have spoken to a few of the Rockstar North guys in a bar years ago, and they hold their right to express violence in games very close to heart. Its a matter of principal for them. They feel they should have the right to create adult entertainment for adult gamers, without some large body telling them what the customers can and cant handle. I agree with this viewpoint, but also see the other side of the argument as well.


Thing is, the people who are really at fualt are the people who allow these games to get into the hands of minors. And if someone is influenced by a game, that type of person is just as easily influenced by movies, comics, books, TV and music. It takes a certain kind of nut to be unable to draw the line between fantasy and reality. Taking away the influences will not solve that problem, they will just find it somewhere else.

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Let's hope Take- 2 can restructure the game and it comes out as I would not want to see it get "canned" like "Thrill Kill" did when EA took over the developer.


I hope this game turns out better than Thrill Kill, I played it twice and once the novelty of the violence wore off, I realized it wasn't much fun to play. It doesn't even seem that bad compared to some more recently released games.

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Sony confuses me. I seem to remember them letting Playboy and a couple other adult media companies create UMD videos for the PSP. I'm not sure if they ever got released in the end, but I do know that at one point, they had approval.

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They're all gonna buy it and rub it in our faces.


Jack Thompson needs to get some physicatric help, NOW. His upbrining has made him a bit too conservitive. He's blaming Bill Gates for Virginia Tech, Halo 2 for 9/11, and a slew of other things...

Then the media going "FPS's train snipers!" BS...total BS. Just because you can snipe Germans off in CoD3 for Wii doesn't mean you can go pick up a .50 cal Sniper Rifle. I've felt what an M16 feels like-HEAVY. The Shotguns are equally heavy. Aiming isn't too easy, either.


Wow. I rant.


I still think that if Manhunt 2 is getting some non-rating based coverage, then I would say give it a limited release. Like ordering it from the Take-Two site or something. Make buyers watch why the game is rated AO, and then we'll see if little Billy wants this for Christmas.

If I were a parent, I'd ground my kid if they wanted this game, and I'd tell his friend's parents, also. I wouldn't let any mature minors under 18 buy an AO game under any circumstance. Mature, it would depend on the game, Halo 2 to a 13-year old, I could let it slide. Gears of War, RB6:V, or even Condemned: Criminal Origins, hell no.

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