Analysts dissect Manhunt 2 rating

Industry watchers predict whether Take-Two and Rockstar will tone down the violence in their action sequel or release it with an Adults Only label.

This week, the unreleased action game Manhunt 2 took a beating worthy of its brutal subject matter. It's only Wednesday, and already the game has been banned in the UK and Ireland, drawn the ire of a parent watchdog group, and slapped with an AO for Adults Only rating in the US.

With the game's July 10 release date rapidly approaching, Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games will have to decide quickly if they want to tone down the game and have it rerated, appeal the Entertainment Software Rating Board to change the rating, or just accept the original judgment and release the game with the AO label intact.

GameSpot went to a handful of analysts asking for their expectations on how Take-Two will handle the situation, and found them split on how they expected the publisher to handle it.

Nollenberger Capital Partners' Todd Greenwald said he expects the publisher to do what it takes to get the game on the market with an M for Mature rating.

"Take-Two will have to make some edits--though Rockstar won't like it--to knock the rating down to Mature," Greenwald said. "AO games don't sell. They did it with GTA San Andreas after the Hot Coffee incident. I'd expect them to do it again here. The UK ban I think they could live with or work around, but I don't think they can launch the game with an AO rating."

Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian was a bit less certain about what the publisher will choose to do, but ultimately thinks Take-Two will resort to toning down the game.

"Take Two has to balance the benefits of free publicity for a new title against the potential risk of limited retail sales," Sebastian explained. "Unless Manhunt 2 is a sacrificial lamb to bolster Rockstar's 'bad boy' reputation ahead of the Grand Theft Auto IV launch, I think it's reasonable to expect Take Two to consider toning down the content in question."

Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter said coverage of the game's ban and rating issues will draw additional curiosity in Manhunt 2, but notes that all the interest in the world won't help UK customers get around a ban, while an AO rating would also hurt overall sales. But when it comes to editing the content for an M rating, Pachter called it a tough decision.

"In order to [tone it down], they would most likely have to delay the launch, and invest more in the game," Pachter said. "I'm not sure whether it's better to just ship it as is, or spend more and hope for an M rating. Given that the new management is looking to control costs, I'd speculate that they just take their lumps with this game, and use the example as a lesson to help rein in bad decisions going forward."

From a stock market analyst's point of view, Pachter said the company made a financial mistake in making the game as violent as it is to begin with. But on a personal level, he expressed more dismay at the reactions to Manhunt 2's content than the content itself.

"It's a sad state of affairs when we have to discuss the use of the Wii controller as a weapon for a game like Manhunt, but don't think twice when the game is a typical shooter game," Pachter said. "Killing is killing, and it's either acceptable or not. I think that singling out Manhunt is tantamount to discrimination against Take-Two.

"My personal view is that so long as consumers know what they're getting, they should be allowed to buy the game. If it is restricted to adults, so be it, but a ban is inappropriate. Adults should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to play this kind of game, and if they do, they should be allowed to purchase it."

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Discussion

269 comments
halohelldaddy45
halohelldaddy45

Okay, put a mature rating on it, put it in stores, let the ****ing PARENTS SEE IT!!! MAKE THEM LOOK AT THE FING LABEL FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! MAKE THE CASHIER TELL THE PARENTS OR PEOPLE BUYING THE GODDANG GAME THAT IT HAS BLOOD VIOLENCE, DRUGS, SAVAGE BEATINGS, SEXUAL THEMES! DONT JUST SCREW THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THE FREAKING THING OVER! god, you kno sometimes i wish i could actually talk to the people doing this crap and ask them why they cant get that dick outta their mouths, maybe they might be able to actually thing for once.

submash
submash

I live in the uk and i have been waiting since i finished the first game for this to come out and now it's been baned which is a bit crap but there must be a reason as Manhunt did have the highest rating you can get in the uk and it was well deserverd because you are hunting people. That being said i dont agree with the ban as i am 26 and enjoy the gaming experience the first game offered and would like to play this one too and should be able to the have the choice if i so choose after all a game is just a game.

JOECOOL_basic
JOECOOL_basic

hurray!! for organizations, corporations, and governments telling us what we cant play!!

killerdestroyer
killerdestroyer

ok i've had it with these goddamn people going around banning games wake up people ITS A GAME!!!!!!!! im 14, and if i want this game, i'll get one of my parents to go buy it for me, and why will they? because they don't believe games force people to go out and kill games are just one scapegoat in a long line for politicians to blame violence/sex on think about it, if games weren't here, they would blame it on movies, if movies weren't here, television, no TV, music, no music, board games, an so on and so forth until they wouldn't have had anything to blame it on and we would still be living like cavemen killing for a rock you like (irony eh?) and what about this parent group? what the hell!? we don't give a damn about how your not going to buy your kid this game. i didn't think people were this stupid. and good job, you stopped many people who have the right to play this game, not being able to. you people are a waste of space on this planet. not buying your kid a game is personal life. and last time i checked personal life=/=public life im sure Jack Thompson is rolling around in excitement, laughing and being happy because a violent game got banned and an AO rating. a dumbass like that doesn't deserve to even be alive. for god sakes he said after the bully trial " WEN KIDZ CUM N HOSPI+ALS WIT SLING SHOOT WOONDS DONT BLAEM MAH!!!!" slingshot wounds leading to hospitalization? yeah ok, and i suppose a butterfly landing on your arm is going to break it? i can't believe adults are acting so immature over a game, if you don't want your kid playing it, don't freaking buy it, don't whine to the press just to get on tv and attention. if you do want your kid to buy this game, the do so, and i am glad your not one of the people who is too lazy to teach your kid(s) the difference in right and wrong and reality and fiction one last thing, i think its amazing how in some, if not most movie theaters let kids go in and watch an R rated movie, yet game stores will not allow kids to buy an M+ game apparently pixels and CGI is worse than real people looking like they get mutilated, killed, cut up, and ground up we are living in a world with so few rights and freedoms its not the least bit funny

riffraff420
riffraff420

We as americans and living abroad should protect our freedoms manhunt 2 is art and by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board and the [British Board of Film Classification] giving it a AO rating pretty much signs its death warrant it will not be published on any system except for the pc.. i for one along with many others are tired of politicians and these other rating groups deciding whats appropriate for me as a adult and using our childrens as ways to censor what we see play or hear for that matter we need to stand up for our rights everyone pls sign this petiton so we can show these people that freedom is freedom plain and simple and that we decide whats best for us not them.http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/manhunt2.

bigbootay
bigbootay

Violence is no excuse to rate a game AO. By that, I mean, it doesn't matter how much violence is in a game. However, it DOES matter if it is depicted photorealistically or not.

bryan5859
bryan5859

while your at all that trouble, try and rate it "T for TEEN"! Their is no way they can get it down to an M with out "F"ing up the game!! If they cut one thing out, im not going to buy!

Uglyface2
Uglyface2

I have to wonder what, precisely, was the tipping point for the AO rating. If it's the Wii's controls, then submitting the PS2 version to the ESRB for review separately would seem to avoid at least some of the issues.

wargdude227
wargdude227

Jesus....lime is the only one I agree with. Why the **** would you want to play this game? I'm not a "religious crazy" by any means. Far from it. But I know where the ****ing line is, people. And this game crosses it.

Tricky
Tricky

One thing these ratings boards and family groups don’t seem to realise is that Manhunt 2 is just a game. NO ONE ACTUALLY GETS KILLED. It's not real. The people represented in the game are not life like or photo realistic. Movies depict actual people (actors/actresses of course) being killed, but movies never get the same BS over ratings. Movies show a much stronger and more realistic picture of death and killings. Games however can never show that level of detail and even then it’s done in an unrealistic over the top kinda way. As Jeff said on The HotSpot this week, when you shoot some dude in the head there’s this sudden over the top gush of blood and it looks kinda goofy. It’s unrealistic as it should be, coz it’s just a game. Games, movies and other such media exist for the benefit of living out our fantasies. No one wants to kill or be killed in real life. As much as this sounds messed up but games and movies grant us a way to live out a fantasy that would be immoral in the real World. Every human being has the capacity to kill but that doesn’t mean we will. Games, movies and other media grant us that basic level of death and destruction. They’re never provided as a tool to teach anyone to kill and maim, because human beings are already genetically encoded with this act. What sets us apart from the murderers and killers is our sense of simple right and wrong… Having a game banned is stupid and the choice should be left up to the mature and adult audience to purchase Manhunt 2 if they want. That’s why the 18 certificate exists. This banning here in the UK is just ridiculous. The AO rating in America just goes beyond ridiculous coz it’s a rating that has no merits at all. Why have an AO rating for games in the first place if publishers can’t sell them with that rating ? Plus Sony And Nintendo won’t even allow the game on their systems full stop . It’s just stupid. It’ll be interesting to see how GTA4 gets on this October…

jmace86
jmace86

I agree with Pachter, but Rockstar actually can't release the game with an AO rating, Nintendo and Sony won't allow AO games on their consoles, so they either get the game down to a M rating (either by appeal or by editing the game) or they can't release it at all (at least not in America). If there is a petition to get the ban in the UK lifted then I would sign it and get everyone I know to sign it as well!

Mandalore_15
Mandalore_15

Damn right, Pachter! I sure want to buy it. Does anyone know if there's a petition up trying to unban this in the UK yet?

Smokey2003
Smokey2003

I hope it gets the AO rating and ships as is. I'm going to buy as many copies as I can and sell them to little kids.

Daggerfall96
Daggerfall96

Something that is hard to understand if you are not from the US, is why AO or NC-17 spell commercial death. NC-18 ratings for games or films are normal in many wstern countries. Why do children have to be included in the marketing of a film or game? AO or NC-17 ratings could be a good thing right? SONY and NINTENDO have lots of customers other than children. Makes you wonder if Rockstar are putting out Manhunt 2 now to take the heat off GTA4 though. Whaddya reckon? (not that I wouldn't mind playing MH2 though - it's probably gonna be banned where I live! And I love horror games!

Nick_Howard
Nick_Howard

I see this as the same level as Tenchu, the only different is that its happening in Japan. What next? "Tenchu is too grusom, its only all about killing. Therefor we have to give this game a AO rating because we are afraid of the possibility that people would go all ninja and throw ninja stars. What if people where trying to use grappling hooks on the Big Ben?!"

sidney_765
sidney_765

yeah! AO is not hardcore enough! agreed with proman, we need a game restricted to players 21+ of age!!!!! waht would the rating be called in that case??

sidney_765
sidney_765

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Proman84
Proman84

"AO" rating is not hardcore enough! Bring it on!

nintendoAndrew
nintendoAndrew

vf21x, go back to your Catholic School and teach the momma's boys there you nun. Yes, giving a game any rating won't stop parents who want thier kids to have fun but honeslty. Can you really be confident in saying we don't want games like Grand Theft Auto around? If you still agree that Rockstar needs to go away then plz jump off your nearest cliff.

vf21x
vf21x

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

earlthecannibal
earlthecannibal

I wonder what the Saw 4 video games rating will be? hopefully take two leads the way in Ao titles...its better to be a leader than a follower, and if they bend on this they will loose not only my respect but my future purchases as well:)

tbolt_88
tbolt_88

This whole AO/ban crap is ridiculous. I want to know what is so awful about this game compared to the first one because the first one was very violent and yet it got an M rating. Only really bad point ive heard is the whole wii remote thing and how it could encourage kids to do the crap in the game in real life which is such BS but whatever. The AO rating is a joke and shouldnt exist since you need to be 17 to buy an M rated game and 18 to buy an AO game..i dont see how 1 year is supposed to make a difference in how a person is. If rockstar was to release this game as the AO version then they should just add a lot of nudity and sex to it just to make it actually deserve that AO rating.

earlthecannibal
earlthecannibal

LOL stupid analysts...I bet if they leave the rating the way it is it will sell more copies. Then what?

silvok
silvok

Adults only...??!! who cares, society is full of sissies anymore...just launch the game, don't change a thing we want to buy it and play it as is.

desmonkey
desmonkey

The only thing about video games that makes me angry is the way all these people are constantly screwing with games that were not made for children, and yet there defense is think of the children. come on, now that pisses me off... oh and snk boss battles, those were ridiculous

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

AO rated games don't sell? Oh yea I guess they don't sell as well as others that are sold at walmart but then what are we supposed to do give up on anything that offends the sensabilities of these overly sensitive religious nutcases that seem to have taken over the country. Don't we have enough problems with religious nutcases in the mid east who think everyone should live as they do? Why do we need more for this country? This is what people mean when they say that walmart is ruining the retail shopping business. They run every other business out of town then you're subjected to what they think you should have. Every day this country gets closer to a facist state.

Andron666
Andron666

Banning should be used as a last resort in the case of exceedingly amoral content. Ratings should idealy be advisory, or in the case of mature content games limit availability to underage persons. The way things have been done in Mh2 case suggests political overtones and that Mh2 is made a "martyr". Could be potentially bad for the prospects of future "violent" games. Thats what I think. Just release it and let us decide..

scottishbull72
scottishbull72

If they are forced to tone down the game too M all the petitions will not do any thing get over it.

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

They should hid the violent content frome the ratings board and then let us unlock it and play it after it's in our hands. Those bastards I hope I'm able to play the game the way it is right now.

raedman
raedman

"My personal view is that so long as consumers know what they're getting, they should be allowed to buy the game. If it is restricted to adults, so be it, but a ban is inappropriate. Adults should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to play this kind of game, and if they do, they should be allowed to purchase it." I'm not a fan of superviolent video games, but I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with this. The UK (and ireland) did something incredibly stupid!

shinji69
shinji69

If rockstar edits this, I would not buy it and i would lose respect to them bunch of @#$%.

aletorro
aletorro

what is this thing with Sony and Nintendo? I'm 23 y/o who wants Manhunt 2 for my Wii version, because well as much as you other Wii owners must know by now, when there's something good for the Wii (Zelda, Paper Mario, its goooood) but the other games are just freaking compilations of pointless mini-games that have us all tired. You don't want kids playing this game, retailers don't let kids purchase it, if its said Adults Only, why would you sell this to a 13 y/o. Rockstar should make the game available online forget Walmart, forget Toys R Us, lets buy it online and make other stores sorry that they didn't carry it!

Germoo
Germoo

Tiesto you are completely right 100%. THese a-hole and the parent groups can go f*** themselves thier not are parents so who cares? Take-Two should appeal to the board to change the rating they shouldn't give in. Esrb as been giving Take-Two too much crap.

Tiest0
Tiest0

They in no way should "tone" the game down. This is an entertainment product no different then a movie... say a movie by the name of "Saw". What makes this worse than the Saw trilogy? Why must games be singled out by outraged parents who simply can't raise their own kids because they simply don't have the time so they need a panel of idiots to rate products and raise their kids for them so they don't have to worry. Is it so hard to simply pay attention to what you child is playing? Why must us adults who are looking forward to this game suffer because of lack of parenting? What the rating board does not realize is by slapping an AO on this game it would actually make it easier for it to fall in the hands of kids because they would HAVE to sell it online because no stores would sell it. And the very parents who are worried because they can't watch what their own kids are doing are the ones who are going to have their kids steal their credit cards, hop online and order it saying they are 20.. It would be alot easier to control who buys it if stores can actually carry it. Because lets face it, purchasing something online and lying about your age is ALOT easier. But I'm so worried that Take-Two is going to bend over and say ok ok you guys win. We will water down a game that we have invested so much time and money into, and that we feel very proud of and hours and hours of hard work went into and chop it up to all hell ruining it for those who were looking forward to it so you can rate it your precious M rating... if that happens I along with many other hardcore gamers who are over 20... will be very very disapointed in Take-Two. They need to stand up, and have some balls. They need to give the ratings board the middle finger and say... you know what... if you wanna give us AO then do it, we aren't going to chop up our game that we feel proud of. We want everyone to play it how we intended it... because I dont know about you but I won't buy it if they tone it down. Why would anyone wanna play a game that was chopped up and watered down to be "Wii" friendly... god damn it I own a Wii and im not a little kid. I HATE minigames and I HATE cartoony bull sh** that these developers are doing for the Wii pigeon hole-ing the system. This game needs to come out just how it is, AO or not... to prove it can sell on the Wii and prove Take-Two doesn't give a **** and put alot of hard work into this product... its no different then a movie...

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

"My personal view is that so long as consumers know what they're getting, they should be allowed to buy the game. If it is restricted to adults, so be it, but a ban is inappropriate. Adults should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to play this kind of game, and if they do, they should be allowed to purchase it." Amen...

grassgreener12
grassgreener12

they should definitely release the game, but require that a large sticker of some sort is on the front and back of the game that advises that this is an adult game and bad for whatever reasons.....only adults will be able to buy it and ignorant parents cant make excuses that they didnt know about the violence.....im 14, and my parents know the rating system so they wont buy me any AO rated games no matter how much i beg them.....they will buy me some M rated games as long as there isn't a lot of nudity or bad language and i understand and respect their decision......parents that dont allow young children (14 and below) to buy M rated games shouldn't be harassed...they are doing it for the best interests of their kids

Saluu
Saluu

forget maaaaanhunt. look forward to brutal murders on-screen controlled by YOU?! oh America... so wonderful. this is not like GTA and nooo killing is not killing.

Guest_1001
Guest_1001

Do you get the feeling these analysts haven't a clue about how ratings in the UK work? If Manhunt 2's violence is lowered in America to get an M rating, then it presumably will be in the UK for an 18 certificate instead.

coupaholic
coupaholic

Y'now I've just had a realisation Ive read through a good amount of this thread and others on the topic and nearly all of them have good reasons to be angry at whats going on. Lets show the BBFC this thread, it will show that we are not violence hungry, easily corrupable phsycos but adults, and we should have the right to get a game we are generally interested in. I enjoy violent videogames, I have and love GOW 1+2, GTA, the suffering (1+2) and others yet I am not offended or affected by any of it, in fact I enjoy them because they are genuienly good games blood and gore aside. I will never be able to actually kill anyone - because I still have morals and the ability to tell the difference between real and not real. Its just a game and apart from a few exceptions (mainly kids) we all know its just a game and would never repeat this in real life. Just release the thing and make sure the 18 cert is inforced strickly. BTW there is a UK petition on the go, I advise everyone sign it ASAP http://www.PetitionOnline.com/mhunt2/

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

If Rockstar wants sales then it has no choice. It will have to tone the game down.

vc8711
vc8711

In my point of view Rock Star games are pioneers to extreme violent games... The AO rating is alright as long as the consumer KNOWS whats he/she is about to buy... Its just ignorant parents buying kids these games and then blaming it on the developers for "false advertising"... We all know this game is just a scapegoat... Movies and books are out there that might be way more violent than this game... IMO people need to realize fantasy is fantasy (where anything goes) and real life is real life (which bites you in the ass at one point or another) my 2 cents

lime05
lime05

Nightkiller. Sure, they are many worse things on the Net. But most of this is not promoted a some desirable "entertainment" item for purchase, it's not a product as such, that is shoved-down the throats of a non-thinking and easily exploited mass market. I'm telling you , Rock Star would market a video game of your mother being raped....... and not blink a eyelid!.......They would push it onto the market........ BECAUSE THEY ARE COMPLETELY WITHOUT MORALS. These guys are interested in but one thing ! and one thing only..... MONEY, and how much of it they can take from you !. Wake up and smell the coffee!........ These peep's are sickos. DON'T BUY INTO THEIR RUBBISH

NightKiller34
NightKiller34

petitions rock,its amazing how our economy actually gives a crap about what losers who live in their moms attics think.this game cant be that bad.as Ghetto_ninja said,there are way worse things on the internet and movies.

lime05
lime05

GOOD ! Teach these morally irresponsible, greedy sods a LESSON!. Stop pushing off your depraved wares too the world and EXPLOITING THE GAMES INDUSTRY !. ROCKSTARS ONLY INTEREST IS : M O N E Y and in regards idiotic statement above KILLING IN CONTEXT TO A STORY........... is VERY DIFFERENT TO MINDLESS VIOLENCE (killing) . Hope your shares PLUMMET! . Rockstar ! Do you sleep well at night ? knowing this is your entire contribution too the World in which you live ? ........ a Murdering,Depraved Videogame ? What a pathetic existence !

Solid_RAG
Solid_RAG

-.- AO it beyond with it. cause Rockstar is the one fauit they know they should have plan b for this crap

Ghetto_ninja
Ghetto_ninja

I will say this much. If they tone it down to get a mature rating, I will absolutely not purchace it ever. I wil actually purchase it if they get the AO rating just to prove a point. It is so much easier for a young person to look up "inapporiate" material using the Wii's internet browser than it is to purchase an AO game from Wal-Mart. I know at my Wal-Mart you would at least need a fake ID. In the game Black and White for the the PC you could place a towns person in front of their lost child and grab their child and whip them off a cliff. And when movies like Hostel and Hostel 2 only require you to be 17 and have realistic tortures scenes that are viewed in huge theaters this is absolute discrimination. My one friend actually went into a type of shock when he saw the guy get his achilles tendons slashed in Hostel. He seriously started convulsing and couldn't hear anything. He had to stand by the door the rest of the movie to say the least in case something else that bad happened again. I am posistive a video game with current gen graphics would even have close the effect. Even i had trouble watching the open brain surgery scene in Saw 3 but that was only rated R. This is bigger than some want to think it is. Hermes brings up some good points especially saying that it should be released as an uncut and mature version. But again i will say that if an AO game has to be banned then the ESRB isn't doing their job(if they even have one). Maybe if they censor it like they did Midnight Club 3 to get a T rating hahahaha. Just listen to Freak A Leek lmao! Smoke a litte #$()# Snort a litte ##*(#^ Do a little @#$#. It's like i don't even know what they are talking about!

MasterChief1013
MasterChief1013

imo, the god of war series is more suitable to an AO rating rather than manhunt; i mean c'mon, it has nudity, extremely sexual content, and loads of killing. but then again, thats just me..

xxSupermanSGSxx
xxSupermanSGSxx

Hahah hand motions. I agree with killing is killing. And killing can be done in many ways and this game isn't going to teach anyone how to kill in a new way they didn't know before; especially considering the age range of people who will most likely play the game. I just want the game in it's original form, because it's a game, I liked the original, and I don't want the government telling me whats good for me, but they can decide to draft me into a pointless war to lose my life.