|Manhunt 2 News | News Roundup February
Online have posted an article on how easy it is to buy a copy of Manhunt
2 within the United Kingdom. Even though the game is effectively banned they
were able to have the game shipped from within the UK:
A few clicks of a mouse was all it took to buy one of the most unpleasant,
gruesome video games that has ever been released.
I found it on eBay for £32 including delivery, and Gamezland, which gave
it a Manchester location, had no qualms about sending me a copy in a brown Jiffy
The Times Online decided to approach Gamezland about the sale and they had
this to say about what the response was from them:
When I approached Gamezland (which despite saying its products are shipped
from Manchester, is itself based in America) the company appeared unaware
that there were any legal issues about supplying Manhunt 2 in the UK.
Is it possible that the cinema-style rating system proposed in the Byron Review
would be able to change the ratings process to such a degree that they will
be able to stop games being sold without the proper ratings displayed on them?
and Is it possible that Pegi could do a better job if they were able to rate
all games within the UK?
The article also features a summery of the events that lead to the game being
refused classification and the appeals process that the game went through and
what happened when the BBFC took the VAC appeal decision to the high courts.
Speaking of the effective ban the Video Appeals Committee will begin reconsidering
Manhunt 2 for release in the UK on Tuesday March 11th. It was the high courts
that agreed with the BBFC and decided that the VAC decision was based on a misinterpretation
of the law and ordered them to reconsider it back in January.
Elsewhere it looks like the Nintendo Wii version of Manhunt 2 has finally been
altered in such a way to remove the filter which was placed on the games executions.
Many sites have already posted the methods of which the game can be altered
in this way, it involves illegally downloading the game onto a PC, changing
certain files and inserting it into an unauthorized, modified version of the
Nintendo Wii console. Similar to the way the PSP version was altered to do the
same thing, we are not encouraging it here on the site or at our forums, so
please don't ask.
Posted on: Feb 28 09:57 pm 2008 by: lazlow
|Rockstar News | EA CEO Comments on M Rated Games
have posted an interview with Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello, in the interview
GameSpot question him on his views towards M rated titles and in the process
name drop Manhunt.
GS: EA has released M-for-Mature-rated games like The Godfather before,
but one notorious example, Thrill Kill, was never released after EA acquired
its original publisher, Virgin Interactive. If EA controlled Take-Two, would
we ever see a game like Manhunt come out of EA?
JR: Well, first off, we're in a different time with a different management
team. I was the guy who got us into The Godfather business, who got us into
the Def Jam business. I'm personally a huge fan of BioShock, one of my favorite
games of last year, and I'm very much looking forward to playing GTA IV. I'm
going to buy it on April 29.
Frankly, my view is that I'm a real believer in the Entertainment Software
Association and their analogous organizations around the world, and I don't
have an issue with M-rated content. Neither me nor the company nor the board.
Times were different in the mid- and late '90s. As an industry we were just
coming to grips with M-rated content.
I never saw Thrill Kill, and I applaud you for digging up that little piece
of history. I'm not sure if I would have liked it or not. I'm guessing I might
have liked it, but I have no idea.
are apparently scrambling to buy licences in order to hold Electronic Arts off
while Atari, Midway and THQ have seen their stocks surge in the wake of Electronic
Arts buyout proposal according to Variety.
Isn’t it great when publishers have to invest more resources in preventing
themselves from being bought by EA than making games? It makes you wonder how
EA got their reputation as being the boogieman of the videogame industry.
Posted on: Feb 27 05:01 am 2008 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | EA Publish Acquisition Proposal Details
Electronic Arts have
published a website detailing the information of their proposal to acquire Take-Two
Interactive. On the website you can find the original press release issued by
EA as well as details of the conference call that the company held today regarding
There is also a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that has a bunch more
information, here are a few Rockstar related Q&As:
Would Take-Two retain its organizational identity?
Take-Two is an organization made up of several extraordinary creative teams
at R*, Visual Concepts, Irrational, Firaxis, etc. We’d expect each studio
to retain its own unique identity.
Would the R* team be happy at EA?
We think so. We have great respect for the R* leadership team and some of
our executives have worked with R* leaders while in previous positions with
other companies. We believe EA’s decentralized label organization will
be attractive to Take-Two’s creative talent.
Do you intend to kill or restrict any of the R* franchises?
We strongly believe that behind all the controversy is a core of great intellectual
property and development talent. These titles don’t sell millions because
they’re controversial; they sell because they’re great games.
We have no plans to change that.
Would you keep Take-Two’s New York headquarters?
R* is based in New York and we have no plans to change that.
Some how I just couldn’t see Manhunt 3 being published under the EA banner,
EA famously cancelled the near complete ‘Thrill Kill’ in the late
90s mere weeks before the game was scheduled to be released due to fear of harming
its public image. Granted ‘Thrill Kill’ wasn’t exactly the
best of games, I still couldn’t see them green lighting a game dealing
with the themes associated with the Manhunt series.
Other brands would also be severely harmed in the process. The quality control
of the Take-Two owned brands is on an entirely different level to EA, games
are rushed to meet deadlines rather than being given the time required to develop.
The Grand Theft Auto franchise would surely be raped of all identity, the traditional
in-game satirical advertisements would be gone and in their place would be real
retailers and merchants. Burger Shot would become Burger King, Cluckin’
Bell would be KFC, the in game advertisements and marketing would then alter
the game contents and game play. I doubt many politically correct advertisement
firms would want their product associated with some of the antics that are available
to the player (should they chose to do so) in the game.
2K Sports would be completely disbanded, the employees would likely be moved
over to other EA studios and work on their sports titles. From what I understand
the games developed by 2K Sports are generally superior to those developed internally
by EA. They would also then own even more of the sports market, which to be
honest isn’t exactly teeming with competition outside of 2K and EA.
I suppose the one benefit of EA owning the company would be that the games
would be available to more people. Those holding on to their NES would finally
be able to play Grand Theft Auto V: Six Months On from IV and just imagine the
joy of Midnight Club 5: Shitty Annual Rehash on the Commodore 64.
Also, according to Yahoo
Finance the shares of Take-Two Interactive have risen 54.90% over the weekend
and currently sit at $26.89 up from $17.36. This could be indicative that shareholders
are expecting the buy over to go through.
Posted on: Feb 26 05:02 am 2008 by: pogo
|Rockstar News | Take-Two Issue Response to EA Acquisition
Take-Two has now issued a press release regarding Electronic Arts offer to
buy the company over. The contents of the press release basically say that they
believe EA has underestimated the value of the company and that they were open
to discussing the matter further on April 30th, which is the day after the release
of Grand Theft Auto IV.
Here is a selective quote from the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Take-Two
Interactive, Strauss Zelnick:
While the Board believes that entering into discussions with EA at this time
is not in the best interests of shareholders, we had offered to enter into
a good-faith dialogue with EA to determine if our companies can reach common
ground on the appropriate value of Take-Two as a first step to realizing a
mutually beneficially transaction. However, given the great importance of
the Grand Theft Auto IV launch to the value of Take-Two, the Board has determined
that the only prudent and responsible course for our Company and its stockholders
is to defer these discussions until immediately after Grand Theft Auto IV
is released. Therefore, we offered to initiate discussions with EA on April
30th, 2008 (the day after Grand Theft Auto IV is scheduled to release). We
believe this offer demonstrated our commitment to pursuing all avenues to
maximize stockholder value, while we believe that EA's refusal to entertain
this path is evidence of their desire to acquire Take-Two at a significant
discount, whereas we believe this value rightly belongs to our stockholders.
What this boils down to is EA attempting to own the company before the release
of Grand Theft Auto IV, as once the game is released (theoretically) the value
of Take-Two will significantly rise. EA has been attempting a hostile takeover
of another major publisher, Ubisoft, for some time now and after the release
of Assassin’s Creed last year the value of Ubisoft went through the roof
thus holding EA off. It seems like they have gotten wise to what a large release
will do for a company and are trying to short-change Take-Two and its investors.
Unfortunately for EA the board at Take-Two weren’t born yesterday.
You can read the press release in its entirety over on the official website
Interactive. It contains a few letters of exchange between the CEO of Electronic
Arts John Riccitiello and Take-Two Interactive executive chairman Strauss Zelnick
that are worth a read over.
Posted on: Feb 25 06:34 pm 2008 by: pogo
|Rockstar News | Take-Two Refuse EA Acquisition Offer
is reporting that Take-Two Interactive (the parent company of Rockstar Games
and 2K Games / 2K Sports) has refused a $2 billion offer put forward by Electronic
Arts for acquisition of Take-Two.
Chief Executive Officer of Electronic Arts John Riccitiello says that the acquisition
would be beneficial to the launch of Grand Theft Auto IV, Take-Two’s designers
and to Take-Two's shareholders and threatens that such an offer may not come
along again. Apparently the offer remains open, with the details of the offer
being made public in order to inform shareholders of Take-Two. EA plan to hold
a conference call on Monday the 25th February (tomorrow) to discuss the issue
Below is the complete letter sent from the EA CEO John Riccitiello to Take-Two
Interactive executive chairman Strauss Zelnick:
Thank you for your letter of February 15, 2008. While I appreciate its courteous
tone and value our ongoing dialogue, I am disappointed that you have rejected
Electronic Arts Inc.'s ("EA's") $25 per share cash offer to acquire
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. ("Take-Two") and declined to
engage in the friendly negotiations we proposed. We continue to believe that
an acquisition of Take-Two by EA is in the best interests of your shareholders,
employees and other constituents, and we remain interested in acquiring Take-Two.
So, to further demonstrate our seriousness and encourage you to move forward
now, I am writing to increase EA's offer to acquire all of the outstanding
shares of Take-Two to $26 per share in cash. This offer is subject to Take-Two
agreeing by February 22, 2008 to commence negotiation of a definitive merger
agreement and to permit EA to commence a limited due diligence review of Take-Two.
Our revised all-cash offer represents a 64% premium over Take-Two's most
recent closing price and a 63% premium over Take-Two's 30-day trailing average
price (based on prices as of market close on Friday, February 15th). We believe
our offer represents a unique and compelling opportunity for Take-Two shareholders
to maximize the value of their investment in the company, with materially
lower risk than if Take-Two proceeds on a stand-alone basis.
We also believe that the transaction we are proposing represents a uniquely
attractive opportunity for Take-Two's creative teams and key employees. EA
is a diversified leader with well-established franchises and proven intellectual
properties, global reach, and significant financial resources. I know we both
agree that Take-Two's talented creative teams deserve a permanent home within
a stable and growing publisher that provides these teams an environment to
do what they do best - create great games. EA is organized in a four-label
model that provides our creative teams the autonomy they need to fully realize
their creative ambitions, while also providing a stable and supportive corporate
and publishing infrastructure which allows them to best address the global
marketplace. We have the resources to make the significant investments in
technology and infrastructure needed for the most creative and innovative
games in the industry. In short, a combination with EA would provide Take-Two's
studios and employees a combination of the right resources for investment
and global reach, and the right environment to do their best work.
We believe that Take-Two's shareholders would not be well-served by any further
delay in negotiating and completing the proposed merger. While the videogame
industry remains an attractive, high-growth business, the challenges and risks
in the business are escalating, and the need for scale is becoming more pronounced.
Despite steps taken since March 2007, Take-Two remains dependent on a limited
number of titles, and has limited capital resources. In addition, Take-Two
faces ongoing financial, legal and operating issues and a very intense competitive
environment. Given these factors, we believe it will be increasingly difficult
for Take-Two to create sustainable shareholder value and that Take-Two remains
exposed to considerable risk of value loss.
We also believe that any delay in this proposed transaction works against
the interest of Take-Two's shareholders, because:
-- There can be no certainty that in the future EA or any other buyer would
pay the same high premium we are offering today. We place significant value
on the ability to close the transaction relatively quickly so that EA's strong
publishing and distribution network, including our global packaged goods,
online and wireless publishing organizations, can positively impact the catalogue
sales of GTA IV and also the launch and sale of titles released later this
year. We want to work with you and your team to complete the transaction in
time to begin realizing its significant marketplace benefits in advance of
this year's holiday selling season.
-- We believe Take-Two's current share price already reflects investor expectations
for a strong release of GTA IV as well as the longer-term issues that Take-Two
faces. Once GTA IV ships, Take-Two will again be dependent on less-popular
titles and face increasing challenges to compete with larger and better-capitalized
-- With GTA IV shipping on April 29, development on this important title
must now be essentially complete. We believe now is the right time to complete
a transaction with minimal disruption for Take-Two.
We also believe the transaction we are proposing will create value for EA's
shareholders. In addition to the top-line benefits noted above, we can achieve
bottom-line benefits by combining Take-Two's and EA's corporate and publishing
infrastructures and by optimally supporting Take-Two's creative teams and
intellectual properties in EA's decentralized label structure.
Considerable thought, time and resources have been put forth in developing
this offer, and our Board of Directors unanimously supports it. Our offer
is not conditioned on any financing requirement. It is subject to the satisfactory
completion of a due diligence review of Take-Two, the negotiation and execution
of mutually acceptable definitive transaction agreements, and the satisfaction
of customary conditions to be set forth in such agreements. We are prepared
to move forward immediately with formal due diligence and the negotiation
and execution of a definitive merger agreement and believe that with adequate
access to the necessary information and people, we can complete both in approximately
two weeks. We believe that our due diligence review can be completed with
minimal disruption, requiring only limited access to a small number of senior
executives of Take-Two and its legal, accounting and financial advisors. We
also have prepared a draft merger agreement that we can forward to you immediately.
Our strong preference is to conduct a private negotiation. If you are unwilling
to proceed on that basis, however, we may pursue other means, including the
public disclosure of this letter, to bring our offer and the compelling value
it represents to the attention of Take-Two's shareholders.
I am available to meet and discuss any and all aspects of this proposal with
you and your Board. Again, we believe this proposal represents a unique opportunity
to maximize value for Take-Two's shareholders, and that the combined enterprise
would be extraordinarily well positioned to build value for our respective
customers, employees, developers and other business partners. We hope that
you and your Board share our enthusiasm, and we look forward to hearing back
from you by February 22.
Chief Executive Officer
What does everyone think of this news? If EA were ever to take over Take-Two
I can't help but think that would surely be the creative death of Rockstar Games.
Rockstars loathe for EA is pretty much common knowledge and with talk of the
Rockstar contract at Take-Two coming closer to ending I couldn’t see Rockstar
renewing the contract should the company be taken over by EA.
The fact that the board of directors at Take-Two and executive chairman Strauss
Zelnick has refused the offer is likely a good indication that they are confident
the company is getting back on its feet. I guess Mr. Zelnick wasn’t kidding
around when he said he had no interest in selling the company on.
Posted on: Feb 25 01:27 am 2008 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | ISFE & BBFC Address Byron Changes
In a interview with MCV
the director general of The Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE),
Patrice Chazerand has said that it would be a 'backwards step’ for the
UK should it be decided to drop the PEGI rating system.
I would resent that idea of equating games to movies – it’s not
the same experience. It’s a step backwards. If we are to see a move
to movie-like classification, I would see it as a mistake. But I cannot speak
for the UK public – or the UK Government.
Mr. Chazerands’ comments are in response to the idea of implementing
a cinema-style rating system for videogames. Should this idea come into fruition
it would mean that all games published in the UK would have to pass through
the BBFC for classification prior to being released. A job that the BBFC is
all to willing
to do, according to BBFC spokesperson Sue Clark:
BBFC is a rating people understand from film and DVD, so it might give parents
a bit more piece of mind. It would mean a bigger workload – but that’s
our problem, not the industry’s – and we know we could handle
Our own research shows parents can be confused by PEGI’s difficulty
ratings. A significant proportion of distributors in games already submit
much of their software to us regardless of whether it’s a kids’
game or an adult game – so this would just mean a widening of that.
These are of course pre-emptive comments in regard to the forthcoming Government
sanctioned 'Byron Review' which is due next month.
Posted on: Feb 18 08:18 pm 2008 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Compulsory Ratings System for the UK
UK news publication The
Guardian is reporting that the British government is to introduce a legally
enforceable, cinema-style ratings system for the sale of videogames in the United
A legally enforceable cinema-style classification system is to be introduced
for video games in an effort to keep children from playing damaging games
unsuitable for their age, the Guardian has learned. Under the proposals, it
would be illegal for shops to sell classified games to a child below the recommended
The reports goes on to state that MP Julian Brazier is looking to bring forward
a bill later this month in order to give a new body the power of appeal against
the decisions made by the BBFC on the rating of both videogames and DVDs.
In a further sign of Tory concern, Julian Brazier will bring forward a private
member's bill this month giving powers for a new body to appeal against decisions
of the BBFC in its classification of video games and DVDs.
I would say that I am reluctantly for these changes. By rights it should then
allow for more leniency from the BBFC towards the ratings of adult videogames,
as by documented law it would be illegal for anyone under the suggested age
to even view the game least of all own or play.
Posted on: Feb 18 03:24 am 2008 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Manhunt 2 Makes Most Controversial List
have published an article by the title of 'The Seven Most Controversial Games
and Why Most of Them Are Crap'. They place both Manhunt 1 and 2 as the second
most controversial game(s) and have the following to say about it/them:
When Rockstar finds a good thing, they tend to stick with it. Controversy
was always big for the GTA series, so, the company thought, why not expand
that whole concept into a game of its own? Thus, the Manhunt series was born.
Were it not for the screaming weenies and talking heads that decried this
"murder simulator" as a the downfall of western civilization, Manhunt
wouldn't have sold a single copy. It's that bad.
If Manhunt is a murder simulator, than doing it with a greased up toilet
roll in the bathroom of a Denny's can be considered a "Porno Movie Simulator."
If murdering people was really just a matter of sneaking up behind them and
pushing a button, then there'd be tons of dead people around us, everywhere
we went. "Oops, accidentally pushed my murder button and then I went
into this elaborate sweeping-zoom kill scene and stabbed my neighbor's eyes
out! Better not tell the wife this time! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, where're the
So, when the European Union's games rating board decided that they thought
the game was too violent to be released, our first thought was "Maybe
they just thought it was a shitty game." And that's probably what they
were thinking: not only is Manhunt gory and sick and violent, it's also completely
Grand Theft Auto also nabbed the honour of being the 6th most controversial
game, completing the list are Custer's Revenge, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Michael
Jackson's Moonwalker, and The Guy Game.
So, is anyone familiar with this site? I have only ever looked over a few articles
on there and they seem to be pretty angry in every piece that I have read. Maybe
that is their shtick?
Posted on: Feb 16 09:04 pm 2008 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | BBC News 'On the trail of Manhunt 2'
News website has posted an article titled "On the trail of Manhunt
2". Darren Waters who wrote the article takes a look at the current situation
surrounding Manhunt 2 and covers the history from it being refused classification
twice and going to the VAC for an appeal to the BBFC sending it to the high
courts. Darren writes that even though the game can be bought from eBay he had
to go to Rockstar's London studio to be shown Manhunt 2. He writes that before
hand he decided to sit through part 1 and 2 of the movie Saw, after playing
the game he writes:
After about two hours playing Manhunt 2, it is impossible to argue with the
BBFC's assessment that the game is unremittingly bleak and callous...But the
violence is stylised - and not particularly real...And the amount of killing
in the game is no greater than in any number of titles that have been released
in the last 12 months - from Call of Duty 4 to Bioshock.
The article features some quotes from both Rockstar and the BBFC with one Rockstar
staff member saying that he was quietly confident that the VAC would rule in
favour of the game. The BBFC have also said that no date was in the diary for
the VAC to make it's decision which might explain why 2 weeks have passed without
any word on the matter. A spokeswoman for the BBFC also said that:
Our judgement is a line we have drawn at this game, If the VAC do not find
in our favour, then that line has to move.
Possibly indicating that this is could be over If the VAC rules in favour of
Rockstar. I urge you to check out the full article.
Posted on: Feb 08 08:32 pm 2008 by: lazlow
|Rumour | Viacom Place Bid for Take-Two
Various industry news and trade websites (including MCV)
are reporting that Viacom have made a bid of $1.5 billion to purchase the parent
company of Rockstar Games, Take-Two Interactive. The entertainment giant already
owns such company’s as Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks and MTV as well
as owning videogame developer Harmonix and a large investment in Midway Games.
I was reluctant to post this, as in the past there have been many such hollow
claims but there does seem to be more merit to this rumour than there have been
in the past. I would still consider this nothing more than a rumour for the
Today also marks the two week (supposed) proposed date for the Video Appeals
Committee to re-evaluate Manhunt 2 for clearance to be released in the United
Kingdom. This being true we should find out any day now what the outcome of
the evaluation is. With any luck the VAC will again favour Rockstar and the
rest of the world can actually be given their due right to purchase the game.
Posted on: Feb 08 04:14 am 2008 by: pogo