Rockstar will inevitably appeal...
The 21st century tends to be a time of liberal censorship as opposed to the outright bans of yesteryear so there was something of a shock in store for RockStar games this week…
Never one to stray far from controversy the Grand Theft Auto and Canus Canem Edit publisher has finally seen its lucky run out after industry watchdog, the BBFC, passed on outright UK ban on Manhunt 2.
“Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications which remove the material which contravenes the Board’s published Guidelines,” said David Cooke, director of the BBFC. “In the case of Manhunt 2 this has not been possible.”
Justifying the decision Cooke explained “Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing. There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game. The game’s unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying and the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer, together with the different overall narrative context, contribute towards differentiating this submission from the original Manhunt game.”
Consequently… “Against this background, the Board’s carefully considered view is that to issue a certificate to Manhunt 2, on either platform (PlayStation 2 and Wii), would involve a range of unjustifiable harm risks, to both adults and minors, within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, and accordingly that its availability, even if statutorily confined to adults, would be unacceptable to the public.”
No punches pulled there.
Rockstar now has the right to appeal the decision, something it is likely to do if Manhunter 2 isn’t to become the first game since Carmageddon in 1997 to receive a blanket UK ban. Personally, I suspect some last minute edits will see it scrape through before the title rockets to Number One on the back of this wave of publicity… Cynical? You betcha!