|Manhunt 2 News | Jack Thompson Comments On Manhunt 2
Jack Thompson and Take Two have been exchanging several emails over the course
of the last week or so and the bulk of them are published over at Game Politics.
Jack commented on Manhunt 2 saying that Take Two would live to regret the mature
rating the game has received. As well as sending the email to Take Two he also
sent it to other places like the FTC and the CCFC publicly stating that anyone
underage is able to buy Manhunt 2 from rockstargames.com because an age verification
system isn't in place something Take Two have denied.
This is the email Jack sent out:
Congratulations on receiving a “Mature” rating for Manhunt 2.
You’ll live to regret it (trust me), so enjoy it while you can.
I want to bring to your attention the fact that at www.rockstargames.com
anyone of any age can order Manhunt 2 and receive it, with no age verification
whatsoever. Asking a 14-year-old if he’s 17 is not age verification,
now is it?
You also know that the use of a bank card as an age verifier is a violation
of all bank card agreements, right?
Govern yourselves accordingly, if you can.
Regards, Jack Thompson
Take Two replied with the following:
The Take Two website verifies age in two ways. First, consumers who purchase
M or RP rated games certify that they are at least 17 years of age. Numerous
websites use the same method for verifying age in connection with sales of
movies and games. Second, we verify age through the use of a credit card number
in connection with a transaction. Such transaction based verification is acceptable
to both credit card companies and the FTC
(see, e.g. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/coppa.shtm).
We demand that you cease making these false statements about our online sales
practices. Your dissemination of knowingly false statements for the purpose
of adversely affecting Take-Two’s business is actionable and we reserve
all of our rights under the settlement agreement and state and federal law.
If you continue to make false statements to an audience of press and public
officials, however, we will have no choice but to take action against you.
You can read the emails in full at the link below.
Posted on: Aug 31 08:09 pm 2007 by: lazlow
|Manhunt 2 News | CSM Comment on Manhunt 2 Rating Issue
San Francisco’s Common
Sense Media have released a statement on the recent decision by the ESRB:
Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer today released the following statement
on the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s decision to change the
rating of Manhunt 2 from AO (Adults Only) to M (Mature):
While we have recognized the ESRB in the past for its positive efforts to
increase parental awareness of video game ratings, we take serious issue with
the board’s recent decision to reduce Rockstar Games’ Manhunt
2 from an AO rating to an M rating without providing any rationale for the
By all available accounts, Manhunt 2 is the most brutally violent game ever
produced for wide release, including intense, realistic scenes of mutilation
and even castration. Unfortunately, given Rockstar’s history of creating
and selling irresponsibly violent and graphic content – you need look
no further than Grand Theft Auto and the infamous Hot Coffee incident for
evidence – this isn’t a surprise. Parents have probably come to
expect bad behavior from Rockstar – but they deserve better from the
It is clear that by lowering the rating, the ESRB has all but ensured that
the game will be marketed and sold through channels popular with kids and
teens – and, despite industry claims to the contrary, kids under 17
can and do purchase M-rated games. Before Manhunt 2 is released for sale,
parents deserve an explanation – they need to know the facts about this
grossly violent game before it goes on the market.
By failing to explain their decision and, in turn, provide the transparency
that consumers need if they are to trust the ESRB’s ratings, the board
threatens to undermine a ratings system that has many positive aspects and
that could serve as an important tool for parents.
You can find out more about Common Sense Media at the link below.
Posted on: Aug 31 01:23 am 2007 by: lazlow
|Manhunt 2 News | Un-edited Manhunt 2 Destined for Holland?
is reporting that Rockstar are free to release the un-edited version of Manhunt
2 in Holland as the Dutch Ministry are unable to prevent it from being released
due to it ‘conflicting’ with current Netherlands law.
The Dutch Ministry has declined to intervene in the title’s path to
retail in the territory – as it would conflict with current Netherlands
According to the Associated Press, it will still be possible to prosecute
people who distribute the game to those under 16-years-old, but no such case
has yet been tried in the country.
This is pretty exciting news if it does come to fruition as not only does it
mean that the game can be played as it was originally intended but it also means
that players in PAL territories will be able to play the game without the need
to use a freeloader or buy an NTSC console.
Everyone, keep your fingers firmly crossed!
Posted on: Aug 30 09:20 pm 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Yee Responds to the ESRB
Politics have posted the response of Senator Leland Yee to the press release
issued by the ESRB on Tuesday:
What are they trying to hide? Unsurprisingly, the culture of secrecy continues
at the ESRB.
Even individuals within the video game industry are now calling into question
their rating system. Parents simply can not trust an entity that is unwilling
to disclose or give any meaningful rationale at how they come to their decisions.
The ESRB refuses to use the AO rating for violence despite the descriptor
calling for such a rating when there are “graphic depictions of violence.”
If Manhunt doesn’t qualify, what would?
Combined with the use of the ambiguous term “Mature,” many parents
are left with a false sense of how violent an M-rated game may be; and obviously
even many retailers as the Federal Trade Commission secret shopper study suggests.
Using the numbers generated by the FTC, 42 out of 100 kids who want to purchase
Manhunt 2 will be able to do so.
When weighing in on laws to prohibit the sale of ultra-violent video games
to children, the industry has said over and over, “trust us; our rating
system will protect children.” This latest episode demonstrates once
again that the ESRB in fact can not be trusted.
Posted on: Aug 30 05:44 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Manhunt 2 UK Appeal Update
Many people in the UK are wondering what the current status of Manhunt 2 is
in regards to the current appeal against the BBFC's refusal to rate Manhunt
2. Well it turns out that UK based trade magazine MCV have contacted Rockstar
in regards to the matter, currently in the hands of the Video Appeals Committee,
in a response to them Rockstar have said the following:
It is very good news that Manhunt 2 has now been rated Mature for North
America and will be released October 31. However, we have no updated information
on the BBFC status of the game.
What is interesting here is the fact that in the article MCV relate to Manhunt
2 as being the original version currently being reviewed by the Video Appeals
Committee and that it is thought if it is refused for a second time that Rockstar
will submit the modified version of the game. What would happen if the original
version of the game is cleared in the UK? Would you import it?
Posted on: Aug 29 08:49 pm 2007 by: lazlow
|Manhunt 2 News | ESRB Respond to Manhunt 2 Edit Issue
The ESRB have issued a statement from its President, Patricia Vance. In the
statement Ms. Vance says:
STATEMENT BY ESRB PRESIDENT PATRICIA VANCE REGARDING THE M (MATURE) RATING
ASSIGNED TO MANHUNT 2
August 28, 2007 - “Upon reviewing the modified version of Manhunt 2,
the ESRB assigned a rating of M (Mature 17+) with content descriptors for
Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content and
Use of Drugs. This is a very clear and firm warning to parents that the game
is in no way intended for children. As always, we urge parents to strongly
consider the ESRB rating in their decision about whether a game is appropriate
for their children.
“Publishers submit game content to the ESRB on a confidential basis.
It is simply not our place to reveal specific details about the content we
have reviewed, particularly when it involves a product yet to be released.
What can be said is that the changes that were made to the game, including
the depictions themselves and the context in which those depictions were presented,
were sufficient to warrant the assignment of an M (Mature 17+) rating by our
“The FTC, the national PTA, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Peter
Hart Research have all found that parents are overwhelmingly satisfied with
the ESRB rating system. Rather than publicly second-guessing what is unmistakably
a strong warning to parents about the suitability of a particular game for
children, which presumably neither Senator Yee nor CCFC have personally reviewed,
we feel a more productive tack would be to join us in encouraging parents
to take the ratings seriously when buying games for their children.
“The FTC reports that 89% of parents say they are involved in the purchase
or rental of the video games their children play and 85% say they restrict
them. Additionally, parents can now easily activate password-protected settings
on game consoles to block out content they deem inappropriate. Further, according
to a recent audit by the Federal Trade Commission, the major game retailers,
representing approximately 90% of all sales, currently stop the sale of M-rated
games to buyers under 17 the vast majority of the time, having surpassed the
level of enforcement achieved by theatre owners in connection with children’s
access into R-rated movies.
“It is a parent’s rightful place to make choices for their own
children. The ESRB and console manufacturers provide families with the tools
and information to help them do so.”
Words can have a way of reading many ways, how is everyone interpreting her
comments on the Manhunt 2 edit? Remember, no one knows what classifies as ‘sufficient’
in the eyes of the ESRB; it could be as little as toning the sound effects down
or as drastic as the camera not showing you anything at all. Try and stay optimistic
Posted on: Aug 29 02:22 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Journalist Sides with Senator Yee
Mike Antonucci of the San Jose Mercury-News has posted on his blog in response
to the ‘issue’ brought up by Senator Leland Yee on Monday (click
here if you missed that). The blog posting is titled ‘The “Manhunt”
Problem’ and in the article he says that in the past he has been tough
on Yee but that he ‘sympathize’ with Yee on this subject:
California state Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) sent out
a press release today that reflected the over-the-top anti-video game tone
that undermines even his reasonable positions.
Still, he managed to make a point I sympathize with: The reported change by
the Entertainment Software Rating Board in re-rating “Manhunt 2'’
as “Mature” instead of “Adults Only” — after
changes made to the game — needs a detailed explanation from the ESRB
to be credible.
I’ve been tough on Yee (and his supporters) about the silly and unconstitutional
law he wanted to enact to block the sale of some video games to minors. But
when it comes to his demand for more transparency by the ESRB, it’s
a different issue. Still, I may end up wishing a pox on all their houses,
including the ESRB.
I e-mailed the ESRB spokesman twice today for comment. Haven’t heard
back. Could be any number of understandable reasons for that. But, assuming
there’s no big miunderstanding or inaccuracy in what’s being reported
about “Manhunt 2'’ and the M rating, the ESRB needs to get more
Posted on: Aug 29 01:45 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Industry Reps Chime in About AO Rating
In an attempt to get to the end of the AO rating debate and its effects on
the videogame industry, GameDaily Biz has tracked down select industry insiders
and asked them to weight in on the rating and its implications on the industry.
Representing the game developers is Jason Della Rocca, the Executive Director
of International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and game developers Vince
Desi (Running with Scissors) And Denis Dyack (Silicon Knights). Speaking on
behalf of video game retailers is Bo Andersen, President of the Entertainment
Merchants Association (EMA) and finally representing the game consumers is Hal
Halpin the head of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ESA).
Running with Scissors head,
Vince Desi, unsurprisingly believes that developers should have the right to
choose what kind of game they want to make and consumers should be able to purchase
The crux of the issue is that AO is the kiss of death for retail acceptance;
it's pure bullshit. An AO-rated game should be available in a free society,
maybe not in every game store, but that's another problem--in the early days
of video, vhs, there were many mom and pop shops, independents, porn was available
if you wanted it, and then Blockbuster came along and we all got f***ed.
Denis Dyack (president of Silicon
Knights) believes that the videogame industry is being singled out and suggests
that a revised ratings system might be in order:
The latest AO issue around Manhunt has sparked a great deal of debate and
is a complex issue. There is nothing necessarily wrong with an AO rated game.
An AO rating should not be looked upon as a bad thing and should be viewed
as the equivalent to Hollywood's NC-17 rating. However, because our industry
is new and under undue scrutiny, the perception of an AO rating in mainstream
society today does not equate to the view of an NC-17 rating. An AO rating
is seen as much worse and more detrimental to society.
Further, some proprietary game hardware manufacturers make the AO rating
perception worse by refusing to license certain rated products on their system.
With this scenario, the creators cannot get product out to consumers and it
causes the AO rating to be the kiss of death for a game. This problem has
to be solved, you would never hear Toshiba, for example, say that it won't
allow certain DVD movies to play on its system based on ratings. We have to
come up with something that is publicly accepted, or we will be faced with
an unwitting self censorship in our industry. Perhaps a rating between Mature
Jason Della Rocca, the Executive Director of IGDA
says that Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have the right not to allow AO rated
games on their console and suggests that the PC might be the way to go in the
future for such titles:
As owners of private and proprietary platforms, Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo have
every right to decide what does, or does not, get approval. I've always held
that the market is the most powerful censor. That could mean consumers voting
with their wallets, or retailers opting not to carry AO-rated games, etc.
That's the market at work and the key here is that government does not get
While I may not personally like the fact that the platform holders wield
such power to, in effect, censor the expression of game developers, it is
their right to do so. Thankfully, the PC is an open platform...
ECA head, Hal Halpin suggests that now
might be a good time for the console manufacturers to rethink their positions
on the situation as well as offering his opinion on how the ESRB handed the
rating of Manhunt 2:
One of the positives that could well come out of the situation may be that
we – the industry and gamers – collectively take a look at this
paradigm and address it. I believe that the console manufacturers' statements
of position go fairly far back, and to the best of my knowledge haven't been
re-assessed recently. With the average age of game consumer steadily maturing
and a concurrent rise in mature content in all other forms of media, it appears
the right time to take a look at our positions and see if we're not doing
them an injustice.
In this instance I think that the ESRB did exactly what they were supposed
to do, and under quite a spotlight as well. With new leadership [at] the ESA,
consumers having a collective voice for the first time through the ECA and
the retailers and developers so well represented through the EMA and IGDA,
I'm certain that we can come together to examine the matter... it's for the
Bo Andersen, President of the EMA doesn't
believe that retailers should sell AO rated titles if they don't wish too:
Retailers are doing exactly what you would want them to do with respect to
exercising individual choice… It’s as important in my view that
retailers and individuals have the right to not carry a product as it is for
them to be free to carry it.
You won't find folks more staunch on the First Amendment and freedom of speech
than us, and while I might feel that overall society is not harmed and might
be advanced if there were some retailers who chose to sell AO-rated games,
the truth is I feel actually better however they make their decision that
they're making it on an individual basis and that they're exercising this
free speech right.
Sure, I understand that if almost all the major retailers intend to pursue
an aggressive family friendly marketing posture with their customers that
it has the effect of virtually eliminating a market for AO-rated games, but
the right that's being exercised here is more important in my view than what
the costs might be.
It seems pretty prominent amongst developers that the current ratings system
is an issue for them and is a constant constraint on them.
I do wish more people within the industry would chime in about the BBFC at
this point though, it was through them that this whole situation kicked off
and lets not forget Manhunt 2 was all-out refused classification by the BBFC,
at least the ESRB issued the game with a rating, one that was implausible but
it was a rating nonetheless.
Posted on: Aug 28 09:24 pm 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Leland Yee Calls for Manhunt 2 Rating Review
California State Senator Leland Yee has posted a press release on his official
website demanding the ESRB and Rockstar explain how Manhunt 2 received its downgrading
from AO to an M. In the release they are calling the game such things as "extremely
violent", "ultra-violent" and "the most violent game ever
released" from reading the release it is clear that the ESRB refused to
disclose the details of how they went about downgrading the age rating when
asked by The CCFC.
Mr Yee's response to that was this:
Parents can’t trust a rating system that doesn’t even disclose
how they come to a particular rating,” said Yee. “The ESRB and
Rockstar should end this game of secrecy by immediately unveiling what content
has been changed to grant the new rating and what correspondence occurred
between the ESRB and Rockstar to come to this conclusion. Unfortunately, history
shows that we must be quite skeptical of these two entities.
Clearly the ESRB has a conflict of interest in rating these games,”
said Yee. “It is time to bring transparency to this rating system and
for the industry to be held accountable. I join the CCFC in urging the Federal
Trade Commission to investigate the process by which Manhunt 2’s rating
was downgraded from AO to M.
In the same press release it states that the Federal Trade Commission have
previously published the following regarding the sale of M rated games.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that 42 percent of unaccompanied
children 13 to 16 years of age can successfully purchase M-rated games.
We just seem to be going round in circles here, it has already been said that
it is the fault of the video game stores if M rated video games are sold to
under age people and not the fault of the games maker. I don't know how this
argument can stand any ground once the game have been approved can the Federal
Trade Commission remove the M rating if they see fit? Only time will tell.
Release by Senator Leland Yee
Posted on: Aug 28 03:36 am 2007 by: lazlow
|Manhunt 2 News | Game Politics Explore Possibilities
Game Politics have posted an article titled ‘Manhunt 2: Conspiracy Theories
Emerge’. In the article they take a look at what people have been saying
about Manhunt 2 now having a secured North America release date.
Game Politics correspondent Andrew Eisen took the time to ‘summarize
Theory 1: The whole things a scam! Manhunt 2’s content
hasn’t changed at all. Take-Two and the ESRB are in cahoots to placate
the industry’s critics.
Theory 2: Rockstar did something simple but drastic like
fading to black during the killings.
Theory 3: There was only one kill or sexual situation that
earned the game an AO in the first place. Maybe all Rockstar had to do was
remove the testicle trauma or put some underwear on a bordello girl.
Theory 4: Rockstar intentionally put in some truly over
the top and obnoxious sex and/or violence that they never intended to have
in the game. It was included solely to have something to cut out when the
My opinion: I think some people need to lay off the X-Files
for a little while, all the conspiracy overtones is clearly going to their head.
I can’t see why Rockstar would go through such an ordeal just to create
hype for a game that already had secured its position on shelves of many consumers,
for a few reasons:
- Millions of dollars in advertisement would be wasted, they had printed up
final posters and print advertisements, or at least in Europe not to mention
the money that would be invested in supplying print and online journalists
with time and copies of the game to get the game reviewed.
- Extended development cost, the game has now been in development for over
three years and has switched developer at least once.
- Original financial results go to hell with the new date, they have Table
Tennis on the Nintendo Wii, Bully/Canis Canem Edit for the Wii and Xbox 360
and Beaterator on the PSP planned for the fall of the year, they didn’t
need Manhunt 2 in order to make a crust.
- Surmising that they were in ‘cahoots’ with the ESRB still does
not explain the reasoning behind the BBFC refusing to classify the title.
- Pissing fans off, this is perhaps an easy one to overlook but when you look
at the fan following that the franchise has it becomes more evident why this
would be an issue. Huge portions of the people wanting Manhunt 2 have actively
been waiting on it, it wasn’t as though the game was announced and everyone
flocked to it. Manhunt has a tight-knit following and the delay has upset
many, looking at forum postings there are some members proclaiming that they
won’t be buying Manhunt 2 due to it being edited.
It does leave me perplexed as to what they have edited though, to say that
they no longer show the executions would probably be the easiest guess, but
they showed them in the original game so unless they are drastically more extreme
that shouldn’t be too huge of an issue.
It only took Rockstar two months to get the game from an AO to M rating in
North America, but the ESRB never specifically said what their issues with the
game was and only added that:
Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence
and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.
So it is possible that the edited version of Manhunt 2 for North America has
as little as a cut scene removed or the camera altered.
The BBFC said they could not make suggestions to Rockstar in order to bring
the title in line with the original game to achieve an 18 certificate and cited
the motivation behind the killing as being problematic, so I would assume that
somehow adding to the story might have been away around that, as to explain
clearer why Daniel does what he does.
Posted on: Aug 28 01:33 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | CCFC Call for Manhunt 2 Rating Review
The CCFC (Campaign For a Commercial-Free Childhood) have called for Manhunt
2 to be reviewed by an independent review board which has no ties to the video
game industry. They claim "M" rated titles such as Manhunt 2 can still
be marketed and sold to children under seventeen, (that same old argument) the
Nintendo Wii version is said to be the most violent game to date on the console
and that means that Manhunt 2 being on that platform enables it to be marketed
and sold to children specifically or so they claim anyway. You might remember
it was also the CCFC who called for the game to be rated AO (Adults Only) back
In the press release they ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Manhunt
2 and the process of which Manhunt 2 was downgraded to an "M" rating.
They have also urged the ESRB to detail the information of what was removed
from Manhunt 2 in order for the new rating to be issued. Honestly who didn't
see this one coming?
The Press Release:
The [CCFC] is extremely concerned that the ESRB has downgraded its rating
for Manhunt 2… Despite industry claims to the contrary, M-rated games
continue to be marketed and sold to children under seventeen. The ESRB’s
reversal of its earlier decision dramatically increases the likelihood that
Manhunt 2 – the most violent game to date produced for the interactive
Nintendo Wii platform – will be marketed and sold to children.
Just three months ago, the ESRB felt that Manhunt 2 was so violent that it
took the extraordinary step of giving a game an AO rating for violent content
for only the second time in its history. We urge the ESRB to make public their
rationale for changing Manhunt 2’s rating, including detailing any content
that was removed from the game.
We call upon Rockstar Games to allow the content of Manhunt 2 to be reviewed
by an independent review board with no ties to the video game industry.
We ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the process by which Manhunt
2’s rating was downgraded from AO to M.
Posted on: Aug 26 06:30 am 2007 by: lazlow
|Manhunt 2 News | Manhunt 2 Receives “M” Rating
Manhunt 2 has been officially rated “M” for Mature, it was announced
on the official Manhunt 2 website. The game is scheduled for this Halloween
(October 31, 2007) due to be released only in North America at this point, no
word yet on when everywhere else will be getting the game but if Rockstar are
using the same modified version of the game to gain a rating it shouldn't be
that long to wait for official word.
After nearly 3 months without an update this is what was added to the official
Manhunt 2 website:
Manhunt 2 Receives “M” Rating, Coming Halloween 2007.
Manhunt 2 will be released for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment
system, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, and the Wii™ home
video game system from Nintendo in North America on October 31, 2007. This
announcement follows the submission of a modified version of Manhunt 2 to
the Entertainment Software Rating Board, who has now rated the title “M”
for Mature for ages 17 and older.
“Manhunt 2 is important to us, and we’re glad it can finally
be appreciated as a gaming experience,” said Sam Houser, founder and
executive producer of Rockstar Games. “We love the horror genre. Manhunt
2 is a powerful piece of interactive story telling that is a unique video
game experience. We think horror fans will love it.”
The big question is since it has been modified, do you think you will still
pick up the game?
Manhunt 2 Website
Posted on: Aug 24 11:24 pm 2007 by: lazlow
|Manhunt 2 News | Eggebrecht Questions Bizarre Rating System
Speaking earlier this week at the Games Convention Developers Conference in
Leipzig, Germany, the president and co-founder of developer ‘Factor 5’,
Julian Eggebrecht, held a keynote titled ‘No Sex, No Drugs, and Little
Rock and Roll – Ratings and Games’ whereby he talked about the ratings
system videogames face and the trouble that his studio had in acquiring the
rating they were required to get for ‘Lair’ by its publisher Sony.
He began his presentation by drawing a comparison between the issues the movie
industry faces with the ratings board compared to the videogames industry, primarily
drawing upon the linear nature of all movies and how they can be framed and
trimmed appropriately to easily slip by the ratings system. He cited Bonnie
and Clyde, A Clockwork Orange, Reservoir Dogs and Natural Born Killers as movies
that pushed the boundaries of the ratings boards and how all these movies are
able to be viewed by those in their teens all because the film industry has
in the past ‘lobbied’ with politicians and interest groups in order
to get past this.
He used Manhunt as an example of games being singled out:
The whole event going on right now with things like Manhunt being the most
extreme, Manhunt 2 getting banned in England altogether and they didn't withdraw
that voluntarily for sure. That game really was banned and that is very concerning
to someone who is livings in the US where at least an out right ban couldn't
Wallmart couldn’t stock your game that’s one thing and it comes
quite close to a ban quite frankly but on the over hand the Government would
never ban something, that Manhunt 2 got banned in the UK is a very scary development.
He goes on to criticise the ratings system more by saying that there needs
to be fine points made between the current ratings where by the line of adult
and teen games can be more easily drawn because as it is right now the system
is hypocritical and he would like to see it move beyond the system that even
the movie industry upholds to.
Julian then explains the reasoning for violence to exist in Manhunt:
…In Manhunts case, because Manhunt was basically pushing the envelope
in a way which actually from the sounds of it, because obviously nobody was
able play to play Manhunt yet, including me.
Which sounds very much like the experience that Stanley Kubrick actually
was doing in A Clockwork Orange because in Manhunt 2, from the descriptions,
its all about you identifying with the killer and your doing it in a new media
so your probably doing it in a much deeper and even more satisfying, if you
can talk about satisfying here, way than Kubrick was able to do it with A
But never the less if we assume that we our selves are an art form and we
have to push the art form and I think that is where games are heading, to
be recognised as an art form, then we also need to see the darker side of
that people want to push the envelope, not to annoy the folks out there. Certainly
Stanley Kubrick didn’t set out in 1971 to cause this fire storm but
basically to push the artistic impressions and artistic content of games and
if they are able to do that in movies why aren't we able to do this in games?
Throughout the duration of his presentation Mr. Eggebrecht weaves in an out
of issues surrounding the rating of ‘Lair’ and problematic issues
they had while also saying that he would like to see more artistically violent
and sexualised games made available and used Last Tango in Paris, Basic Instinct,
Eyes Wide Shut and CRASH as reference points. He goes on to say that the way
games are rated is ‘an absolutely bizarre system’.
He finishes his presentation by sharing the story of a movie they put on the
Lair disk which was titled ‘Hot Coffee’, in the video it was none
other than the studios coffee maker, apparently they were told to remove the
title of the video, but not the video itself, due to it mocking the ratings
My opinion: It seems like a lot of developers and industry
insiders are now aligning themselves and sticking by Rockstar. I think the fact
that Julian Eggebrecht is speaking about the right for more adult orientated
content is a pretty good defence, to my knowledge all of the games developed
by Factor 5, or at least the ones that I own, have been rated in the teen category.
The fact that the studio also had long standing relationships with Nintendo
and LucasArts, which are predominately known for creating games for everyone
of all ages, speaks volumes as he really doesn’t have any reason other
than being the consumer (up until this point) to just the existence of these
titles, where as Rockstar commenting on the situation will be assumed as being
on the defence as they do make adult orientated entertainment.
Also as a side note of interest Jak X featured a ‘Hot Coffee’ spoof,
even going as far as the video being titled ‘HOTCOFFE’ on the disk.
I guess spelling coffee incorrectly passes in the eyes of the ESRB.
Posted on: Aug 22 10:35 pm 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Games™ Question the BBFC over Manhunt 2
The September issue of Games™ has a 6 page feature titled 'A Matter
of Taste' which is dedicated to Manhunt 2. The article again focuses on the
BBFC refusing to rate Manhunt 2, however they do put a slightly different spin
on the situation and instead decide to ask a few people within the industry
what their take on the situation is. The magazine asks Danny LeDonne (creator
of ‘Super Columbine Massacre!’), Stephen Totio, (MTV News), David
Braben (founder of Frontier Developments) and Ste Pickford (co-founder of ‘The
Pickford Brothers’) to share their opinion.
LeDonne says ‘there is no amount of violence that is too extreme for
an M or AO-rated game’ he goes on to say that even should you question
the content of the game you should still be allowed the opportunity to consume
it, should you choose to do so and that there is no ‘justification’
for the right to own the game to be taken away.
Totios’ take on Manhunt 2 has been covered, he is pretty much all for
the game and seems very enthusiastic towards it, he emphasises that he has only
played the first 6 levels of the game and says that it only took a hidden sex
game in San Andreas to warrant the ESRB issuing the title with an AO rating
and is unsure if there is anything later in Manhunt 2 to warrant such outcry
Braben lays the biggest cause of public controversy at the hands of the media
and how they react to such an event and cites the how the Manchester Cathedral
/ ‘Resistance: Fall of Man’ issue was reported as a source of misconstrued
and poorly executed journalism. He goes on to say that Manhunt 2 is ‘perhaps’
the type of the game industry does not need, but does go on to say that sentiment
may be a little hypocritical as he has never played the game, he thinks that
the issue could be addressed if Rockstar wasn’t so ‘reluctant’
in defending the game.
Ste Pickford questions the marketing methods of Rockstar rather than the making
of the game itself and questions if there is a big enough market to meet the
budget required to make such adult orientated titles. He goes on to suggest
that Rockstar is ‘attempting to stimulate demand in young teens for the
game’ and cites Manhunt 2 being covered on Ngamer along side much more
teen friendly games as a reference point.
The magazine finishes up by offering their take on the situation, they say
Manhunt 2 is ‘not guilty’ and that within the editorial staff the
line of justification altered from member to member and that there was no decisive
answer as to whether or not the content was justified but that they all agree
that the option to chose should be left up to the consumer to decide. They say
that content of Manhunt 2 is no different from any other form of simulated violence
seen on screen and that there is no ‘widely trusted’ research to
suggest that such forms of entertainment have any negative effect on human behaviour.
Posted on: Aug 20 02:46 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Leeds Studio Head Comments on Manhunt 2
The August 2007 issue of Develop magazine has an interview with the co-founder
and studio head of Rockstar Leeds, Gordon Hall.
At the very end of the interview Develop ask Mr. Hall about the issues surrounding
Manhunt 2 and how they reacted to it internally:
From that vantage point, and given that the studio has contributed
to Rockstar's slate of 18-rated games, did the recent action over Manhunt
2 effect how Leeds and the other Rockstar studios go about producing their
Well, on that point, I've got to say I really feel for the London team -
they've done a cracking job and made a great game.
I like the game for what it is - and I was a big fan of Manhunt before we
joined Rockstar, and I was actually a bigger fan of it more than I was of
GTA, I like where is placed you in the world and the questions it asked of
Manhunt 2 is no different to the first in terms of content, it's just that
times seem to have changed and they've changed against this type of game.
But if you look at a film like Man Bites Dog, it makes Manhunt look tame in
comparison, but that film can be bought by anyone aged 18.
Was there a feeling amongst the Rockstar studios that the company
was being singled out?
I don't think Rockstar specifically has been picked on, but I do think that
the wider issue attacks our entire industry. We need to teach people that
games are an art form - they are more artistic than film.
I think the games industry should rally behind us, because there will come
a time when we'll all have an idea that's a little edgy, and we need to have
freedoms to express it.
We are an adult entertainment industry - we may have started with child-like
technology making games solely for a younger audience, but it's just not like
that anymore. It might take legislature a little while to catch up, but if
the industry sticks together hopefully we can change people's attitudes quicker.
Posted on: Aug 13 02:48 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | PSM3 Review Manhunt 2
Radar have posted an article from UK publication PSM3 in which they review
Manhunt 2, the article has some pretty big spoilers, and I would advise not
to read the article unless you don’t mind story elements being spoiled.
The magazine played the PlayStation 2 build of the game and awarded Manhunt
2 an 8/10.
It is a very positive review, with the only negative comments being directed
towards the gun play, the magazine appears to favour stealth kills far more
and says it was also an issue for them in the original game. The biggest issue
with the guns they say is that you are forced to use guns in a prolonged level
in which you play as Leo and the enemy AI is ‘average’ throughout
The magazines final verdict:
Still, for the most part, this is an artful, engaging game that’s far
more about strategy and patience than merely dumb brutality. And interestingly
too, this is a game that senses how you play it: act gruesome and you accumulate
style points, play stealthy and avoid combat and you go without, but have
the promise of unlocking extra features after the game’s completion.
Meaning, actually, that far from the BBFC’s crowing about Manhunt 2’s
lack of moral core, that this is actually a game about morality - namely,
how good, essentially conscientious people can be forced, cajoled, or brainwashed
into doing awful or reprehensible things - and how they can also eventually
regain their humanity. Presuming the world can actually get their hands on
it at some point, hopefully soon that will become clear.
|PSM3 Says You'll Love:
||PSM3 Says You'll Hate:
|- Dark and gripping adult storyline
- Incredibly gruesome kills
- Stealthy elements amp up dread
|- Controversy outweighs content
- Gunplay doesn't feel right
Posted on: Aug 11 05:18 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Penthouse Review Manhunt 2
There is a review for Manhunt 2 in the August 2007 issue of Penthouse magazine.
They awarded the game 5 stars and have titled it the ‘Game of The Month'.
It only features two (already shown) images and no new information is revealed
at all, the magazine doesn’t state which build they played off the game
but they do make a passing reference to the Wii controls.
I also want to address the issue of the release date of Manhunt 2, every day
we continue to get emails asking us when the game is due for release and the
answer is we still don’t know.
Some people have been noticing varying release dates for Manhunt 2 appearing
all over the place, including on the official Rockstar website listing it as
2008, on the official Manhunt 2 website it still says ‘coming soon’
and on the Take-Two website it is listed as ‘Summer 2007’.
These are all projected dates; I would dismiss all of them until Rockstar has
been able to pass the game through the BBFC and ESRB, until then no release
date can be made.
Posted on: Aug 11 04:06 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Manhunt 2 A Long Ways Off?
have put out an article titled ‘Rockstar faces lengthy wait for Manhunt
appeal verdict’, whereby they say that the release of Manhunt 2 could
be months off and may actually be released long after the ‘initial wave
of hype’ for the game passes.
James Pond, associate at law firm Osbourne Clarke, had the following to say:
Last time this happened with Carmaggedon the appeal worked so that’s
a positive precedent.
Rockstar has taken a while to build its case, so they’ve obviously
been taking stock of what the BBFC have said. They will have to work together
to agree on making the right cuts. But there could be problems if the BBFC
feels that the violence running throughout the game is too much – it’s
not like a film where you can just cut certain scenes.
Keep in mind this is just a guestimation, but in fairness I think that most
people at this point would be more surprised if the game was to be released
this year than those that would should the game be released next year.
Posted on: Aug 09 11:18 pm 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | OPM UK Dissect the BBFC Ruling
The latest issue of the Official PlayStation Magazine UK (not to be confused
with Official PlayStation 2 Magazine UK) features two articles related to Manhunt
The first of which is a two page spread that basically lays out all the facts
of the Manhunt 2-BBFC ratings issue, it breaks the key factors down to Realism,
Theme, Imitable Techniques and Violence. There is text to accompany all key
factors, it is a pretty interesting read and far less subjective than that run
in the latest issue of OPS2M UK. They even suggest that the politics of the
original Manhunt has had some effect on Manhunt 2, which, they say Manhunt was
proven innocent of.
The second article is a one page personal opinion (even labelled as such!)
by one of the magazines writers Joel Snape.
He points out that a real issue that the BBFC had with Manhunt 2 is that in
the original Manhunt you are forced to kill, in Manhunt 2 no one is forcing
you. That in itself I find pretty interesting, as far as I can recall he is
the first to actually word it like this, most other journalists have used something
along the lines of ‘there is no good reason to kill in Manhunt 2’
as though there is some justified reason to do so. He quickly follows that by
saying that the line is further blurred in the missions where you play as Leo
Kasper as it appears as though the people you are hunting down are innocent
people that are ‘looking for a genuine maniac’, where as in the
original Manhunt it was pretty evident that all parties involved were corrupt
in some manner.
With that said, he says that he has seen worse and that the reasoning is no
more justified in any other form of entertainment than it is in Manhunt 2, he
says giving the player the ‘choice’ to kill no further validates
the act than having no reason at all and that given the choice most of us would
explore it, just to see what happens.
In the readers mail section of the magazine they say that they have had a ‘meltdown’
of reader mail related to Manhunt 2, all seemingly angry at the BBFC, they answer
the letter by saying that they stand by the ‘brilliance’ of Manhunt
2, that it was one of the most interesting games in development and justify
their opinion by saying that is why they put it on their front cover of the
At least one publication is sticking by their guns.
Posted on: Aug 04 08:32 pm 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Manhunt 2: Still Not Cancelled
Just a quick update here to address the issue of Manhunt 2 not appearing on
the financial update issued by Take-Two late last night. Various sites have
now noticed that Manhunt 2 wasn’t given a date and have given their half-
baked opinion as to why, some suggesting that the game has been cancelled or
that Take-Two has given up on the game.
I just wanted to reassure everyone that this does not mean the game has been
cancelled or that Take-Two has given up on the game at all. Far from it, actually,
the reason the game wasn’t given a projected date is they are likely waiting
to receive the appropriate rating. Once the game is rated accordingly I am sure
Rockstar and Take-Two will quickly let everyone know of when we can expect the
There is still a possibility of it coming out this year, if they are able to
win the appeal then I imagine they will be able to get the game out pretty quickly,
they will need to get the marketing going again for the game but beyond that,
supposing no alterations need made, the game is pretty much done.
Posted on: Aug 03 05:54 pm 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Take-Two Release Financial Update
Take-Two have issued a financial guidance update, in the fiscal update they
confirm that Manhunt 2 won’t be released within fiscal 2007. They currently
don’t have the game listed under any time frame.
Additionally, Take-Two is updating third quarter and fiscal year 2007 guidance
to reflect the movement of Manhunt 2 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment
system, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system and the Wii™ out
of the third quarter and the fiscal year.
They have also announced that Grand Theft Auto IV has been delayed due to requiring
additional development time. The game is now set to be released in the second
quarter of 2008, meaning the game won’t be released before February 2008.
Posted on: Aug 03 05:05 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Take-Two CEO Discusses All Things Take-Two
Dean Takahashi of the San Jose Mercury-News held an interview Take-Two CEO,
Strauss Zelnick, in which they discuss all things Take-Two.
Manhunt 2 is brought up on a few occasions:
What lessons do you draw out of the Manhunt 2 experience?
I’m not sure. Perhaps. I don’t know that there are lessons there.
It’s a concern that we think a different standard may be applied to
interactive entertainment than to linear entertainment. Manhunt 2 is set squarely
in the horror genre for people over 17. It’s horrifying. We think it
is no more graphic than the first Manhunt. Perhaps the only lesson is that
one’s expectations aren’t always borne out in these situations.
Politically, you can view it as a step backward, as opposed to video
games always moving forward.
Similar to what you were saying, as video games grow bigger and bigger,
you would think that a diversity results and people would embrace games for
I think it creates an opportunity for us as an industry to reinforce the point
that there are video games intended for adults and they should be labeled
and marketed accordingly. We are utterly comfortable with that. From our point
of view, we would have no trouble at all for a concept of an M-rating being
for 18 and above instead of 17 and above. That would not trouble us if that
gave people more comfort. We are not making these games for kids. These games
are not intended to be sold to children. I have a strong philosophy about
interactive entertainment having spent my whole career in entertainment. We
are not just in the business of making entertainment. We are in the business
of making art. I play every game that we make before it goes out. If I don’t
feel that it meets the standard of art and entertainment, I am hard pressed
to be comfortable with it. If I do feel it meets that standard, I am comfortable
with it. We are also in the business of making money. We invest a lot of money
in these games and it’s terribly important for us that we are able to
bring them to market. We do need to have an appropriate rating system that
tells parents what’s in the box. We also do need here in America to
be able to bring our art to consumers if that is indeed the American way.
One of the flaws here seems to be that even if you have the adults
only rating, there is no way to bring the game out under that rating? It seems
there ought to be a way to get that to a large market.
We think that too. If you can’t, then the rating becomes irrelevant.
That isn’t good for the ratings association. It obviously makes it difficult
for them. It makes it difficult for people to make video games. I’m
not sure it is good for consumers either. The AO rating was not intended when
it was developed to mean a non-rating. That wasn’t the point. If you
can’t market it because you aren’t allowed by the licensors or
the retailers won’t carry it, then the rating doesn’t have any
meaning. Clearly one has to discuss what its purpose is.
Is there an effect where you might self-censor yourselves and that
this is a line being drawn. You should step back from it if you want commercial
We really didn’t think we were crossing the line. I’m the person
that has to stand behind a product and say it passes our internal standards.
I wouldn’t say censorship. But we do have high standards for what we
will do. We have to see it as art and entertaining and appropriate for the
audience to whom it is being marketed. We do feel that way. Not everyone has
to agree. But we feel that way and I stand behind those views. We take our
social responsibility very very seriously indeed. There are plenty of lines
we won’t cross. I don’t watch. I would never be comfortable having
anyone outside the company telling us we can’t cross the line. I am
very comfortable inside the company saying look, “We don’t want
to do this.” We have these discussions all the time. The creative people
at Take-Two and both labels are incredibly focused on being responsible and
also being creative. We have these conversations very cooperatively. No one
was trying to make a point here with Manhunt 2 other than creating an incredibly
entertaining interactive entertainment experience in the horror genre.
Can you do a triple A title for the Wii?
I think you can. Manhunt 2 is for the Wii.
It is a pretty good interview; Mr. Zelnick always seems to come off extremely
well anytime I read or hear him talk. Check the link below for the whole interview.
Posted on: Aug 03 01:46 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Games Master Review Manhunt 2
The latest issue of UK publication 'Games Master', issue 189, contains a review
of Manhunt 2 on the Nintendo Wii. The publication appears to have played the
game after the game was refused classification as it states the following:
... we visited Rockstar this month to review the Wii version and see for
The review breaks down as follows:
|Graphics - 88%
Dark and broody: perfect for Manhunt’s calculated air of
| Gameplay - 90%
improve the already solid engine - the AI remains spot on.
|Lifespan - 85%
Takes about 12 hours to finish, but there’s an alternate
final level and ending.
|Overall - 88%
Shocking for all the right reasons, it’ll be a shame if Dr
Lamb never sees the light of day.
|Games Master Loves:
||Games Master Hates:
|+ The clever pacing and ghost-train shocks.
||- The ’splatch!’ noises when you … actually, let’s
not go there. .
|+ The sound design and bad guy dialogue.
||- Getting spotted. Terrifying.
||- The sometimes brutal checkpoint placing.
This is how the Manhunt 2 reviews are lining up thus far:
Posted on: Aug 03 12:14 am 2007 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Rockstar Appeal the BBFC Over Manhunt 2
The report made earlier today by MVC that Rockstar have appealed the decision
by the BBFC to refuse classification of Manhunt 2 thus prohibiting its sale
in Britain, has now been confirmed by Take-Two Interactive.
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. confirmed today that Rockstar Games has
appealed the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) decision that prohibited
the release of any version of Manhunt 2 in Britain.
MVC reports that Rockstar filed the plea with the Video Appeals Committee yesterday
(July 31st). Rockstar have taken almost all the allocated six weeks in which
they had to appeal the situation, hopefully meaning that they now feel they
have a very strong case.
The VAC has the ability to overturn the BBFCs decision, what will now happen
is a date will be set in which Rockstar will be able to plea their defence against
the BBFC and if successful then the game will hit retail shortly thereafter,
in the United Kingdom at least.
#01 , MVC
Posted on: Aug 01 11:28 pm 2007 by: pogo