ESRB upholds Manhunt 2 rating

Industry rating board says Take-Two is not culpable for AO-rated violence accessible through mods to M-rated action adventure.

The Manhunt 2 saga has officially come to a peaceful resolution. Yesterday, Take-Two confirmed reports that some of the revisions made to secure an M-for-Mature rating for its horror actioner were reversible using a hacked PlayStation Portable. Today, though, the Entertainment Software Rating Board announced that it will stand by the M rating it issued to the revised Manhunt 2.

"We have investigated the matter and concluded that unauthorized versions of the game have been released on the Internet along with instructions on how to modify the code to remove the special effects," read the statement issued by the ESRB. "Once numerous changes to the game's code have been made and other unauthorized software programs have been downloaded to the hardware device which circumvent security controls that prevent unauthorized games from being played on that hardware, a player can view unobscured versions of certain violent acts in the game. Contrary to some reports, however, we do not believe these modifications fully restore the product to the version that originally received an AO rating, nor is this a matter of unlocking content."

As noted by Take-Two in its defense yesterday, the ESRB said that the content was fully disclosed as being present at the time of being granted an M-for-Mature rating. The ESRB also delineated the difference between the unobscured violence mod and the notorious Hot Coffee mod to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which was accessible through similar means.

"Our rule clarification following Hot Coffee required that pertinent content that is programmed to be locked out but which exists in an unmodified, fully rendered form on game discs must either be removed or disclosed to ESRB during the rating process," said the rating board. "In the case of Manhunt 2, the scenes in question were playable (not locked-out), programmed to include the blur effect, and fully disclosed to the ESRB."

The ESRB also noted that whereas the Hot Coffee mod was easily accessible to all PC gamers, unauthorized hardware and software was necessary to view the AO-rated violence in Manhunt 2. Addressing this difference, ESRB president Patricia Vance said, "Parents need to be vigilant about monitoring what their children are downloading on the Internet and ensure that they are not making unauthorized and oftentimes illegal modifications to software and hardware that remove the controls the industry has so diligently put in place for their own protection."

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260 comments
godofwarfan1
godofwarfan1

i am a kid who plays the original manhunt and other games like that. i think that they shouldn't have to take out anything from the game. if a parent doesn't want their kid to play it, then they won't buy it for them. if there is an adult who wants to play a very violent game like an unsencered version of manhunt 2, i think the game companys should have a right to make what ever they want in their games and not have to make changes to it because ESRB gave it an AO rating. the stores should carry it no matter how mature it is. if the person that is wanting to buy it is too young to buy it themselves or their parent won't allow it, then they won't buy it, but if the parent allows VERY violent games or is an adult that wants to play it, i think they have a right to get it at a store no matter how bad ESRB says it is. besides, i play gears of war, metal gear solid, manhunt, GTA, resident evil, and saints row and i am not a killer, drug seller, or robber. games don't change the minds of kids. games are used for entertainment purposes, not for a murder simulater or something like that. i think that games should be sold how ever the gameing company ( in this instance rockstar, who gets a lot of contriversy for the grand theft auto series ) makes them and should not be changed to make them more not mature.

delorean529
delorean529

Let me state first of all that I am a kid and aware that violent games can't make me go shoot someone. Hey Pat, if your so concered about kids hacking the game to remove the filters, if the parents listen to YOU Pat,why would they get there kids the game in the first place? The people that remove the retarted filtering are 21yr olds, not innocent little 7yr olds that went to the gaming store and with a stolen car and told the saleperson they were 17 and went home and hacked the game without their parents noticing? When I download a car for my NFS game, is that something illegal my parents should be hindering me from? Doesn't Pat understand that if my Dad teaches me right, I can play Gears of War with my Dad and Halo 1-3 alone without the gory and swaring concept from perverting my innocent little mind? That is why so many kids hate Hilary Clinton and the ESRB! When my Mom went to go buy me and my Dad Halo 3 at Toy's R US the lady at the counter kept repeating that the game was Mature and that she should look at the content at the back of the box. Everybody please go to http://www.theeca.com to fight the ESRB!

Mondars37
Mondars37

Uhh Percypoo...your point is valid but there's a slight problem with your statement. There wasn't sex scenes that were blurred out, it was the graphic violence.

Mondars37
Mondars37

Uhh Percypoo...your point is valid but there's a slight problem with your statement. There wasn't sex scenes that were blurred out, it was the graphic violence. No sex scenes at all if a recall...

Percypoo
Percypoo

Why do the ESRB rate games AO because they include sex? Sex is natural and there's no harm in knowing about it or seeing it no matter how old you are. Your allowed to have sex in most countries from the age of 16, that includes hetrosexual sex, homosexual sex, threesome anything! Yet Patricia Vance and her ESRB lackies think you shouldn't even be allowed to look at mild sex scenes until your 21! The sex scenes on Manhunt 2 probably were just a man and women naked on top of eachother. You probably can't even see their genitals! So to top it off I'd just like to say that Patricia Vance is an insane old cow!

Weemanrulez
Weemanrulez

When i got my copy of GTA: san andreas i got asked for ID and warned about the content in the game and get asked that if i buy M rated games

andrewhateme
andrewhateme

You know whats really weird, is that if your 16 or whatever and commit a crime, you can be tried as an ADULT. But once adult only games come out, no console maker will allow them.

matttttttssssss
matttttttssssss

i don't even know why gameing companies give games classifications i meen they should just understand that ITS JUST A GAME!!! i've brought games that were MA15+ when i was 12 and i was the one giving them the money! i think even the staff of the major stores such as k-mart think its rediculess because i've never had them say you can not buy that game because they probaly see it is just a game also

RockaWuzHur
RockaWuzHur

In my opinion believe that if you can decipher a video game from real life, you should be able to play any game. I was playing M games with my cousins at 8 years old, but I had the ability to understand that ITS JUST A GAME!!!! Its not a tool to create killers out of children like these idiot politicans and parents keep saying. If you're a parent on gamespot please explain to me what you think about minors and M games.

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

Just release the uncensored version online for the PC and get it done already.

haloharvey300
haloharvey300

I agree completely with philly, but im sure that all of u know that most, if not all, of AO games are hentai or porn. AO has developed this feeling of more sexual content. I have never before seen a game rated AO for violence. The problem is that there are no actual adult games for adult gamers, just a pile of pornographic crap. also, addressing the telling off of parents: i am sick of parents blaming violence in schools and streets on videogames. its thier own fault cuz of bad parenting. I believe that some kids under 17 can handle this stuff, but parents should know what their kids would copy and how much common sense they have. a parent should not give a problematic emo kid this kind of game. as much as i hate it, carding gamers is necessary, but parents should know how much sex, violence, and language their kids can handle

acsam12304
acsam12304

im happy that ESRB told the parents off really. i been think a lot about this i hate "game-haters" a lot, and i hate that every time a GTA or a every popular M game that comes out gets bad saying by everyone that does not even play games. . ( why not Hostile or the Saw moives. u dont see the news or the government saying bad things about moives or other types of media) i know this might sound stupid to alot of u and it does to me too but i guess every time a person is going to buy a M game should be ask if they know what they are going to buy. like parents that wants to make there kid or kids happy wants to buy them GTA or an other M game for there birthday or for X-mas but not tell them in there big day. BUT they dont know what the game is about. so I think ( i think people u dont have to agree) that even tho the parent is at target or wal-mart or gamestop by them self they should still be asked if they know and sure what they are going to but. sound stupid but i guess is ONE OF THE FEW things we can do to get those games off kids eyes. then if the parents buy them the game for there 5-10 year old then u know whos fault it is ( not Rcokstar or the other game companys)

markevens
markevens

I'm with Nick. I'm an adult and I want to be able to play more mature games (although peggle rules). That doesn't mean that I want my 7 year old son to play the same games. Just as with movie ratings, why shouln't there be an enforcable game rating. Who would be liable, not the business that sell the games, but the individual who doen't verify the age, or knowingly sells a mature game to an underage customer.

Weemanrulez
Weemanrulez

mach-stem This isn't torture porn this actually has a story to it and other features of stealth as such but if you haven't played the game then i'll let you off but at least the game can have some peace and quiet without all this AO and M stuff it's easier just to rate a game by the code of U,PG,12,15,18 from what we use in england but meh : ( wot can u do?

Nick_Howard
Nick_Howard

I think when gamestores sells a over aged game, they should see some ID. Like when buying cigarettes or alcohol. Then this problem would never existed.

edhc44
edhc44

The ESRB cut some slack off Rockstar? Now that's a change of tides...

bobomb64
bobomb64

I think it's good that people are taking this kind of thing seriously, making sure that the content of the game is in accordance with age range. Bravo!

chakan2
chakan2

"Parents need to be vigilant about monitoring what their children are downloading on the Internet and ensure that they are not making unauthorized and oftentimes illegal modifications to software and hardware that remove the controls the industry has so diligently put in place for their own protection" WTF...does no one read the M rating in the first place? Yes, parents, we rated this game 17 and up, but go out and buy it for your kids anyway. That chick should be fired from the ESRB immediately for a comment like that. That's the kind of BS statement that makes the ESRB lose all credibility and really hurts any argument for the ratings board keeping M rated games out of the hands of minors.

phillyeagleflys
phillyeagleflys

The filter on this game sucks. I loved the original Manhunt. but trying to do a stealth kill in this game results in me having a headache. its jumpy and flashes and simply gives me a headache. Its a shame because the stealth aspects to the game are excellent. The story isnt as good as the original though. the first game I was scared ****less. But the filter makes the game almost unplayable. It sucks all because of sony's fear of the AO.

jmartin1016
jmartin1016

The ESRB are the worst! Reform with their outfit can't come soon enough.

mach-stem
mach-stem

Torture porn doesn't equal a good game, but I may try it out. Let's just hope the esrb doesn't use take2's case as a precedent to remove any originality from developers for the sake of deciding what is for other adults to play. PEACE

qiwihead
qiwihead

I'm with philly on this one, well put. And Ahiru, AO is 18+, not 21+. Check it out on ESRB.org. I think the most interesting thing about this issue is how completely ineffective the protective software is. The ESRB says parents need to be vigilant about their kids using mods to "remove the controls the industry has so diligently put in place for their own protection." Really? How diligent could the industry possibly be if any 10-year-old can crack their security software? This is the achilles heel of game ratings, that anyone can crack open games and do whatever they want to them, making the rating essentially just an estimate, at least for PC games.

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

philly - I thought AO was +21 and not +18...

MrSickVisionz
MrSickVisionz

Well, reviews give this game a C grade. I knew it. Films that rely on gore to be good (ie teen slasher flicks) usually suck. Games that try to hide poor gameplay behind gallons of blood and sadism suck too.

jackaldc10
jackaldc10

havent we already talked this to death ! ooo i said death better stick a M rating on this i dont want to offend

Ziothus
Ziothus

Ok, a game that has been rejected in several states due to the graphic violence or disturbing themes.... Even if it's limited down to an M rating... Can it really be all that fun? I mean Something that ridiculously wrong so to speak would It probably wouldn't be that fun at all. People might only buy it for shock value. I'd prefer a Resident evil game to this any day...

phillyeagleflys
phillyeagleflys

The thing that is ridiculous is the stores or sony not supporting an AO game. What is the difference 1 year. Ok a 17 year old can buy this game and an 18 year old can buy this game. Its ridiculous. Give the rating and then enforce the rating. Card the kids. Do your freaking jobs. But I as an adult and an opposer to censorship should not have to suffer because someone thinks an AO rating sounds all that worse than a M rating. Its not. Its a difference of 1 year. For some reason Target, Walmart, Sony and whoever else get their panties in a twist about it. GIVE ME A BREAK

Pun_Laca
Pun_Laca

What's all the fuss about? So Sony won't support AO games. At least they support AO films in Japan. In fact, they're even peddling their blu-ray format at them (in a roundabout fashion, so they won't scare Disney). I'm guessing......maybe, they figured they had to make up for the balance somewhere?

ROTO_DQ
ROTO_DQ

who cares,it just a boring game

Sheegot
Sheegot

"for their own protection" "for their own protection" "for their own protection" OMFG ROFL

jon181
jon181

LOL lets put stickers in playboy mags to cover things up. Give it an ok rating and wonder if kids will peel back the stickers

Wolveric
Wolveric

yeah, im with you sorrow... this is a real sad story, the life of this game was stripe out cos the excecutions are the core of the game, and it really looks bad with this blur efect, they effort was waste with just a word..... AO

the_sorrow_MGS_
the_sorrow_MGS_

You gotta feel a little bad for the designers of this game. They work hard to produce a title only to have most of their ideas cut by a company. Personaly I am not a fan of these titles, give me a good resident evil title any day, but this is still just sad.

jaredrichards3
jaredrichards3

i totally agree mrarmegeddon it's a joke isn't it, and the thing is movies are a lot more easily accessible to minors than games + not all minors have playstations anyway. but i think there argument is with a game you are actually acting out the violence.....lol whatever hey!!! using a duel analog controller isn't exactly the same as stabbing someone with a knife is it. if the censors think games like this make people act this kinda violence out then they are crazy. a person who does this kinda stuff for real would have to be a total psychopath before then even play a game like manhunt. lol what about the medieval days when people were killing each other like crazy there were no video games then or violent movies.

marnett2005
marnett2005

barkera0 "That is SO TRUE! Seriously, lets see some worthwhile games! Not mindless violence crap." Not everyone likes the same games. It happens, get over it. If you don't care about the game, don't read the news story.

ScrawlKnight
ScrawlKnight

Devvy01- I'm sorry but I don't care at all about this ridiculous title, banned or not banned, develop some worth while games would you please. That is SO TRUE! Seriously, lets see some worthwhile games! Not mindless violence crap.

MrArmageddon8
MrArmageddon8

Why are they making such a huge deal about this when nobody cares about the Saw or Hostel movies?

jaredrichards3
jaredrichards3

a total loss for adult gamers, this is almost as bad as communism

Venom910
Venom910

who cares they spent the damn money on the game its theirs let them do what ever the hell they want with it stop trying to take the fun outta the game..... **** holes

Devvy01
Devvy01

I'm sorry but I don't care at all about this ridiculous title, banned or not banned, develop some worth while games would you please.

CodingGenius
CodingGenius moderator

Thank goodness the ESRB got smart. If companies were responsible for all possible hacking outcomes, there wouldn't be any room left for the positive modding community.

roryk666
roryk666

rockstar so smart , all this publicity

Gubitz
Gubitz

I hate this whole Man Hunt 2 thing, it's a bad game anyway.

spacesquid
spacesquid

Of age adults are gamers too...AO=NOT FOR CHILDREN

smc_sewer
smc_sewer

Game makers should "get real". Clearly they are not paying enough bribes to the government cronnies and their departments like the ESRB mmm well lets not call them bribes more like substancial donations. Lets face it crime is illegal, why is crime illegal? because the governments of the world dont like competition while they go about the everyday business of ripping us all off. So games like manhunt will never get a go until the governments get what they feel is a fair cut of the profits.

timbjr
timbjr

I think we do need protection, Now I wanna go stab people with needles and bash heads in with toilet covers lmao. Cmon man, parents...watch ur kids...simple

-supercharged-
-supercharged-

AO games should be allowed on consoles. There is more violence in rated R movies which kids have just as much access to as rated M games............."Parents need to be vigilant about monitoring what their children are downloading on the Internet and ensure that they are not making unauthorized and oftentimes illegal modifications to software and hardware that remove the controls the industry has so diligently put in place for their own protection." .............Parents can't even keep their kids from playing M rated games what makes them think that they are actually going to stop them from downloading hacking software?

Orgando
Orgando

"so diligently put in place for their own protection?????" I don't think we need protection...