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It will come as no news to anyone reading this that the Manhunt franchise hasn’t been given the easiest of times by the media, with many a claim and false accusation thrown at the games, so much so that it actually resulted in the second game being severely edited in order to make its way to retail.

Amongst all the hearsay and scaremongering Rockstar said very little, meaning that they didn’t add any fuel to the all ready burning fire, but also leaving fans with mixed thoughts regarding their stance on the franchise.

Rockstar Games Vice President of Product Development, Jeronimo Barrera has been perhaps the most vocal about the Manhunt franchise to the press. Especially around the period of time building up to the release of Manhunt 2, mainly because he served as a producer on the title.

In November 2006, after the release of Bully, Jeronimo Barrera told EGM that Rockstar are big fans of stealth games (at the time in relation to the stealth component within Bully).

We happen to be huge fans of stealth games. I mean, Manhunt, I think, is the stealth game.... I dunno, some people love stealth and some people hate it; there aren't people who are kind of in the middle there. I think it's something that, as a gamer, you understand and you can play -- some people just don't like it.

Considering that entries in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, The Warriors and Bully all have had stealth components to them suggests that Rockstar are indeed fans of stealth as a game play mechanic and are not merely trying to mask a design flaw.

In the movie industry many studios are ashamed of horror movies and the success that often accompanies them. Perhaps the most well known case of such shame lies at the feet of Paramount Pictures, who were the distributor of the first eight entries in the Friday the 13th franchise before selling the franchise rights onto New Line Cinema.

However this doesn’t appear to be the case at Rockstar Games, the company is apparently very proud of both entries in the Manhunt series thus far. Regarding original Manhunt:

We're all very proud of the original game and we were in a unique situation to draw inspiration from our own work.

...as well as being proud of their work on Manhunt 2:

...we're very proud of it. We made a compelling horror game for a mature audience. The fact people still want to pick on video games is a strange and unfortunate reality.

So much so that when Gamespot asked Jeronimo Barrera if the trouble that Rockstar had experienced in attempting to bring Manhunt 2 to release in North America had put the publisher off the franchise Barrera shot down any doubt by confirming that if the fans wanted it, they were willing to continue the brand.

We enjoy making them, and if you enjoy playing them there is a good chance we'll see more in the series, but only time will tell. If we feel like we can make another compelling stealth game, we will.

Almost 4 years after the release of the original Manhunt, Rockstar London's studio head, Mark Washbrook gave an interview with the Official PlayStation Magazine UK during their April 2007 issue and said that much of the reasoning behind the development of Manhunt 2 was its fan base.

No title has satisfied the fierely loyal Manhunt fan base since it's release and there was no question we could leave them hanging any longer!

The fans of Manhunt appear in part to be much of the reason for the continuation of the Manhunt franchise thus far. In October 2007 Barrera told Gamespot the following:

The original Manhunt has a very loyal fan base, and when we decided to start working on Manhunt 2 it was immediately decided that we had to stick to certain themes and mechanics to keep the original fans happy--but we also wanted to expand and surpass what the original accomplished so well.

All of which makes the chance of Manhunt 3 happening look pretty good. But where will or could the franchise go?

Considering the success of the multiplayer component to Grand Theft Auto IV and the launch of the Rockstar Social Club, all seems to suggest that Rockstar are now placing a large emphasis on creating engaging multiplayer experiences in their future titles.

At the end of October 2007, Stephen Totilo of MTV Games asked Rockstar Games producer Jeronimo Barrera about the possibilities of a multiplayer component being added to future iterations of the Manhunt franchise, Barrera seemingly embraced the idea.

That's a very interesting question. ... Who knows where the 'Manhunt' series is going to go? And that's definitely something that warrants some exploring on our part for sure.

But what of the core of Manhunt, what of the single player experience? When Rockstar London’s Mark Washbrook was asked if there was any chance that players would see Piggsy again all he could offer was a playful “Ah, we'll see”, seemingly suggesting that he is not against the idea, a concept that would almost certainly have to be a prequel to the original title.

Post release of Manhunt 2, many fans and critics expressed interest in the continuation of the story, characters and events of the original game. But with Rockstar’s track record of closing the book on characters at the end of each of their games, it is hard to predict just what they might decide to do.

At this point it is any ones guess, Rockstar seem to be up for making Manhunt 3, and fans are anxiously waiting. All that is known is that supposing it does happen it will likely use the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine and appear on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and very possibly the PC.

Manhunt 3
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