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Manhunt 2 - Chronology of Events

If there is one thing that Manhunt 2 can’t be held guilty of it is the claim of having an easy time. The build up to the announcement of Manhunt 2 was filled with uncertainties ranging from curiosities, if the game is actually coming out? Studios getting closed down, is the game cancelled? Once it was finally announced the game suffered missing release dates, rating boards refusing to rate the title, editing requirements and so on.

All that and it barely scrapes the barrel of the history surrounding the launch of Manhunt 2. The following is a chronology of events leading up to and beyond the release of Rockstar Games Manhunt 2.

2007

February 06, 2007 - Take-Two formally announce Manhunt 2 through their official website. It is revealed that the game will be released for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Nintendo Wii.

The teaser trailer followed shortly thereafter. The teaser offered the first look at the main character, Daniel Lamb and two other unnamed characters.

February 07, 2007 - At 2.45am (UK time) Rockstar launch the official teaser website which included a video showing someone piercing an eyeball with a needle, stills of eerie looking hallways and someone hitting another person on the back of the head with a hand axe.

February 12, 2007 - Rockstar began promoting Manhunt 2 when they sent out mock up letters from 'Dixmor Hospital for the Criminally Insane', the letter also included two ID bracelets for characters from the game.

March 05, 2007 - Word breaks that the Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) has the first look at the game. The publication has some images as well as confirming a lot of rumours, such as gun executions and the ability to crawl.

March 30, 2007 - Additional information about Manhunt 2 is provided through the Official PlayStation 2 UK Magazine, including some corrections to previously assumed information and a few other screenshots, as well as the first look at Leo and some better quality versions of previously shown images.

April 09, 2007 - Rockstar release the official game box art and game description to retailers.

April 13, 2007 - Rockstar launch the actual Manhunt 2 website. It includes the first full trailer, 12 digital screenshots, downloads and patient files.

May 08, 2007 - Rockstar slide the release date of Manhunt 2 in Europe and America onto the official Manhunt 2 website.

May 17, 2007 - Kotaku post an eyes-on-preview of Manhunt 2, it is a recording of someone playing Manhunt 2. It also serves as the first footage of direct game play. The video is recorded at a SCE event held in North America.

May 22, 2007 - Rockstar post two new news updates over at the official Manhunt 2 website. One announcing that Manhunt 2 footage will air on FEARnet through July and August and the second update announcing that Manhunt 2 will be sponsoring the Sounds of the Underground tour.

May 24, 2007 - Rockstar send out some new Manhunt 2 promotional materials, including, patent and doctor shirts, vinyl stickers and paper binders.

May 25, 2007 - IGN post the first ever impressions of the Wii build of Manhunt 2, it is unveiled that the game has improved graphics, interactive executions, blood drenched characters and three exclusive weapons.

May 30, 2007 - The official Manhunt 2 website is updated and includes trailer #02 and Leo Kasper patient audio sessions. Other additions include two new screensavers, 8 new digital images and the front page reorganised .

May 31, 2007 - Rockstar update the official Manhunt 2 website announcing that Manhunt 2 will sponsor the Metal Hammer Magazine’s Album of the Year Award.

June 03, 2007 - Details of the Official Brady Games Manhunt 2 strategy guide appear online.

June 07, 2007 - We break details that Manhunt 2 has been delayed a week in Europe, speculation runs wild. The general consensus is that it was either to meet the Friday 13th release date or it is tied up in BBFC issues. Rockstar also release a developers diary titled 'Creating Fear: The Environments of Manhunt 2' the release also includes concept art and some new screenshots.

June 14, 2007 - Rockstar release their second developers diary titled 'Creating Fear: The Gameplay Mechanics of Manhunt 2', the article again contains some new screenshots and concept art. NGamer also reveal online that they have awarded Manhunt 2 on the Nintendo Wii with a 92% rating.

June 19, 2007 - The BBFC refuse to rate Manhunt 2, as such preventing it from being released. Hours after the BBFC revealed it had refused Manhunt 2 classification the ESRB issue Manhunt 2 with an AO rating in America. Rockstar announce that they are disappointed with the decision made by the ratings boards but will honour their decision.

June 20, 2007 - Nintendo and Sony issue statements saying that they do not permit the distribution of Adult Only titles on their systems. Manhunt 2 is effectively prohibited from sale.

June 21, 2007 - Take-Two announce that they are temporarily suspending Manhunt 2 until they assess the options available to them.

August 01, 2007 - Rockstar confirms that they have appealed the BBFC over their refusal to classify Manhunt 2.

August 24, 2007 - Rockstar confirms through the official Manhunt 2 website that Manhunt 2 has now been given a 'M' rating and is due for a North American release on Halloween, October 31st, 2007. There is still no word on a European release.

September 06 2007 - We inadvertently make the discovery that Manhunt 2 has leaked onto the Internet. The leak supposedly originates in Belgium and is of an unfinished, unmodified PAL build of the game.

September 11, 2007 - IGN Wii is the first out the door with their updated hands-on with Manhunt 2 since the game was downgraded from an AO rating to an M. The edits are said to be the removal of one execution and green and red blur filters added to the executions themselves.

September 20, 2007 - Rockstar add the Daniel Lamb patient interviews session to the official Manhunt 2 website as well as adding two new news updates. The news updates concerned the online previews recently published for the game while the second update was to inform visitors of the addition of the Lamb session to the site.

October 02, 2007 - Rockstar post details of a Manhunt 2 competition where entrants stand the chance of winning a Manhunt 2 branded Nintendo Wii console and a 50" plasma television.

October 08, 2007 - The BBFC reveal that they have once again rejected Manhunt 2 from classification. This time however Rockstar submitted the now M rated version for the board to review, the BBFC say that they acknowledge the changes that Rockstar have made but go on to say that they are not enough to warrant the game rating and give Rockstar suggestion for further alterations. The BBFC also reveal that the appeal Rockstar had in place was temporarily put on hold until the BBFC was able to review the new build. Within hours of the news being released Rockstar respond by saying that the BBFC’s suggestions were 'unacceptable' and that the BBFC are treating videogames differently to how they issue movie ratings.

October 02, 2007 - BBFC spokesperson Sue Clark responds to Rockstar saying that they do not treat videogame ratings differently from other entertainment mediums and that Manhunt 2 had gone 'beyond our guidelines'.

October 15, 2007 - The news section of the Manhunt 2 website is updated saying that fans can get some hands-on time with the game at Screamfest horror convention. The convention ran from Friday October 19th through Sunday October the 21st at the Wyndham Orlando Resort.

October 17, 2007 - UK news show Channel 5 News and Sky News report on the leak of the Manhunt 2 code onto the internet some 42 days prior. In the process they show un-rated footage from the title.

October 19, 2007 - Previews appear online of Manhunt 2 from a Holiday event held by Sony Computer Entertainment Canada. IGN also post a new piece titled 'The Hunters of Manhunt 2' which breaks down as mini bios for 3 of the packs of hunter in Manhunt 2 as well as a video for each of the three gangs.

October 22, 2007 - Manhunt 2 previews from the Screamfest convention appear online. Rockstar also reveal that an employee of Sony Computer Entertainment has taken responsibility for leaking the Manhunt 2 code onto the Internet. Meanwhile Kotaku reveal a new piece of Manhunt 2 memorabilia, it is none other than a Dixmor Hospital straight jacket.

October 24, 2007 - Rockstar release the fourth (or third, depending on how you view the teaser) and final trailer for Manhunt 2. The news section of the official Manhunt 2 website is also updated to reflect this.

October 26, 2007 - IGN post another Rockstar released feature titled 'The Executions of Manhunt 2' which is basically six videos showing the new modified filter for the executions. Three are from the PlayStation 2/PlayStation Portable version of the game while the other three are taken from the Nintendo Wii build.

October 27, 2007 - Gamespot post an interview with Rockstar Games producer Jeronimo Barrera, in the interview Barrara says that they enjoy making the Manhunt titles and will make another if they feel they can make a compelling stealth game.

October 29, 2007 - The NY Times publish a preview of Manhunt 2.

October 30, 2007 - Most major online videogame outlets post their reviews of Manhunt 2. Most rate the game in the region of average or above. MTV Games also post an interview with Rockstar Games producer Jeronimo Barrera, in the interview Barrara once again hints at the future of the franchise and also addresses some of the changes made to Manhunt 2.

October 31, 2007 - Manhunt 2 is officially released in North America. California State Senator Leland Yee releases a press statement warning parents of Manhunt 2.

November 01, 2007 - Word surfaces that modifications have been made to Manhunt 2 on the PSP and PS2 to remove the filter that was put in place to comply with the ESRB. Former Rockstar Vienna developer Jurie Horneman posts a list of potentially unaccredited people on his blog.

November 02, 2007 - Take-Two respond to the illegal modifications that have been made to Manhunt 2. Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick says that he stands behind the game and the ESRB system. Leland Yee responds by saying the rating system has failed and Manhunt 2 should once again be rated AO. The Parents Television Council also releases a press release that favours Lee. The ESRB announce that they will be holding a conference call to address the situation, within hours the ESRB give their response in favour of Manhunt 2. Rockstar also finally update the Manhunt 2 news section to announce the release of the game.

November 04, 2007 - Rumbles begin to suggest that US retailer Target is removing Manhunt 2 from store shelves.

November 06, 2007 - IGN post an article reflecting on the backlash of Manhunt 2.

November 07, 2007 - Target confirm that they have ceased to carry Manhunt 2.

November 14, 2007 - The Christian Film and Television Commission call for Manhunt 2 to be re-rated.

November 19, 2007 - MCV reveal that the Manhunt 2 BBFC appeal will be held in London on Monday, the 26th of November. Hours later they remove the news piece without specifying why.

November 20, 2007 - US senators Joe Lieberman , Evan Bayh, Sam Brownback, and Hillary Clinton issue a press release calling for Manhunt 2 to be re-rated by the ESRB.

November 22, 2007 - The first batch of American print publication reviews of Manhunt 2 begin to come in, reviews are for the most part favourable.

November 26, 2007 - Rockstar Games and the BBFC plea their case to the Video Appeals Committee over the rating of Manhunt 2, all looks to be in Rockstars favour.

November 28, 2007 - It is revealed that Future Publishing has attempted to publish un-rated footage of Manhunt 2.

December 10, 2007 - It is revealed that Rockstar have won their appeal to the VAC and Manhunt 2 is seemingly set to finally be released in Britain.

December 14, 2007 - Reports come in that the BBFC may take the Manhunt 2 appeal to the High Court.

December 17, 2007 - The BBFC reveal that they are indeed taking the Manhunt 2 appeal to the High Court, requesting a judicial review of the appeal.

December 18, 2007 - Rockstar reveal that they are disappointed at the BBFC over them deciding to appeal their own Video Appeals Committee's judgment.

December 21, 2007 - The BBFC are granted a judicial review of Manhunt 2 with the case expected to be heard in January 2008. Things begin to once again look bleak.

2008

January 24, 2008 – The High Court Judicial Review results are in and they agree with the BBFC, saying that the Video Appeals Committee have misinterpreted the law when they made the decision to grant Manhunt 2 a release. The VAC is now to reconvene and re-evaluate under guidelines laid out by the high court.

January 26, 2008 - Rockstar Games released an official statement following the High Court's ruling, saying; ‘We believe the VAC decision was correct and do not understand the court's decision to expend further public resources to censor a game that contains content well within the bounds established by the BBFC's 18-plus ratings certification’.

February 08, 2008 - BBC News reporter Darren Waters posts an article concerning the ordeal that Rockstar has been through in attempting to get Manhunt 2 released onto UK store shelves. As part of his research he went to Rockstar’s London studio and played the game, remarking that ‘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.’

March 11, 2008 - Take-Two Interactive released there first quarter 2008 fiscal and financial results which run from November 1st 2007 - January 31st 2008, in the quarter they did not make any profit but say they outperformed their initial guidance for the quarter thanks to the sales of Carnival Funfair Games, Bioshock and Manhunt 2. Elsewhere today is the date that the VAC are rumoured to have reconvened to evaluate the future of Manhunt 2.

March 14, 2008 - The BBFC announce the results of the re-evaluation held by the Video Appeals Committee, with the VAC once again favouring Manhunt 2 with a vote of 4 to 3. The BBFC said that they had no choice but to grant Manhunt 2 a release in the UK with an 18 certificate, thus bringing this long and drawn out appeal to an end.

March 16, 2008 – The British Government chooses not to stand in the way of the release of Manhunt 2 in Great Britain, saying that it is a matter for the BBFC and the Video Appeals Committee.

July 03rd, 2008 - Develop announce that Rockstar London are up for Best New UK/European Studio award at the forthcoming 2008 Develop Industry Excellence Awards.

July 04th, 2008 - The Office of Film and Literature Classification of New Zealand refused Manhunt 2 classification after seizing the leaked (AO) version of the game from customs, the game was submitted by customs for review in January.

July 30th, 2008 - Develop Industry Excellence Awards take place, Rockstar London don't take home the est New UK/European Studio award. Rockstar North however manage to get themselves multiple awards.

September 30th, 2008 - UK publication PSM3 (issue 106) speculate that Manhunt 2 may never be released in the UK.

October 03rd, 2008 - IGN receive a package from Rockstar Games including a Perv gimp mask. In the package is a letter that confirms that Manhunt 2 will be released in the UK on the 31st of October 2008.

October 06th, 2008 - GamesIndustry.biz reports that prices for Manhunt 2 in the UK. On the PlayStation 2 it will cost GBP 29.99, the Nintendo Wii version has a RRP of £34.99 and the PlayStation Portable for £24.99.

October 08th, 2008 - BBC News adds to the rumour that Manhunt 2 has been further edited for its UK release.

October 31st, 2008 - The long wait is finally over, Manhunt 2 is finally released in the UK on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo Wii.

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