Manhunt 2 banned in UK

[UPDATE] Rockstar's upcoming game denied classification by the BBFC board due to its 'unremitting bleakness' and 'casual sadism;' Irish film board follows suit.

Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 has achieved the dubious honour of being only one of two games to be banned in the UK. The highly anticipated upcoming title, which casts gamers in the role of doctor Daniel Lam--who offers himself as a guinea pig for a neurological weapons project--was due to go on sale in the country on the Wii, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation 2 on July 13. However, both the PS2 and Wii versions have been refused a rating by the British Board of Film Classification, meaning they cannot be legally sold in the UK. The PSP version has not yet been submitted to the BBFC for a rating.

The reasoning behind the decision is that, according to BBFC director David Cooke, "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."

Cooke says that the decision is not one that the board has taken lightly, and that where possible, it considers cuts or modifications to the game to remove offensive material. However, in the case of Manhunt 2 "this has not been possible."

The first game in the series, Manhunt, was given an 18 rating by the BBFC when it was released back in 2003. However, Cooke stated that, "Although the difference should not be exaggerated, the fact of 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." He added that the first title was already "at the very top end" of what it considered acceptable for an 18 certificate, and that it came before the results of recent BBFC research were released.

The game has been refused a certificate on both the Wii and PlayStation 2 platforms, as to release it would "involve a range of unjustifiable harm risks, to both adults and minors." The board adds that even if the game was confined to an adult release, it would "still be unacceptable to the public."

The game is the first to be refused a classification since Carmageddon in 1997. The car combat game developed by SCi and published by Interplay allowed racers to destroy opponents and murder pedestrians. However, the decision to refuse classification of Carmageddon was overturned on appeal by the Video Appeals Committee.

UK games industry body ELSPA released a statement from director Paul Jackson, which said, "A decision from the BBFC such as this demonstrates that we have a games ratings system in the UK that is effective. It shows it works and works well. Any decision the BBFC takes, it takes on the basis of its remit to rate onscreen entertainment."

The BBFC statement concluded that the game's distributors would also have the right to appeal the decision. Rockstar Games had not returned calls to comment as of press time.

[UPDATE] The Irish Film Censor's Office has also announced that the game has been banned in the Republic of Ireland. In a statement, the board gave its reasoning as follows, "IFCO recognizes that in certain films, DVDs and video games, strong graphic violence may be a justifiable element within the overall context of the work. However, in the case of Manhunt 2, IFCO believes that there is no such context, and the level of gross, unrelenting and gratuitous violence is unacceptable."

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1161 comments
jarateng
jarateng

Its only scary otherwise its a game not an actual thing that fo happen.

godofwarfan1
godofwarfan1

i am 12 years old and i have beaten manhunt and manhunt 2 start to finish, in fact, i am playing manhunt 2 as i type this. i have played them for over 20 hours and i don't want to kill anyone. people like the people at ESRB and other game rating organizations need to realize that just because you watch a violent movie, play a violent game, or read a violent book isn't going to make you violent. if you kill, its YOUR fault, not a games. you had to make the choice. the game isn't a killing simulator. the reason people play games is to have fun, not to practice killing people. plus, the stupid filters make the game half as good in manhunt 2. i have seen the uncensored executions of manhunt 2. sure they are violent, very violent, that doesn't make me want to try it on my neighbor. i play games for fun, not to practice killing or other crimes.

KOoI
KOoI

this stuff happens in the real world every day, by trying to cover it up and hide it the big board of ratings people are trying to misinform the public, thats completely wrong. Once the kids who are playing this grow up it will be a hard step into reality for them because of this censorship. arguable it messes with the player's psyche, but having played the 1st one i must same i'm the same after as before. Neither myself nor anyone whom i know to have played the game changed at all.

JackBurton
JackBurton

As an avid life-long (adult) gamer, I could understand if this were banned from release for the Wii console, because (IMHO) Nintendo Consoles (and their exclusive properties/titles) from the NES to Wii are primarily aimed at younger audiences than the other platforms available in any given era. I found the first Manhunt to be an enjoyable, guilty pleasure, which i still occasional play from time to time. Would I let my children play it? Most likely not; and that's what the RSRB Ratings are for in the first place. Or so I thought.

shanemaguire
shanemaguire

My God!! Why would you ban the game just for that? Who cares if it is gorey. If it is that violent just put a warning on the game and for anyone who finds it offensive don't buy it. It is probaly someones ma taking a psycho..... Man this is bulls**t

DoctorFu
DoctorFu

So true Bloodhawk_DX. So true..

davidl3631
davidl3631

This is absolute rubbish, the UK always moan about stupid things if its such a big issue about age ratings then why do the shops never ask for ID many times iv seen kids get games they shouldnt but the shops dont care as they get there money! so because of this people who really want this game like myself purley for entainment have to miss out, AND HERE WE ARE THINKING WE LIVE IN A FREE WORLD WHAT A LOAD OF S**T!

Bloodhawk_DX
Bloodhawk_DX

...and here I was thinking my own country, the US, was a bunch of hypocrites. The rest of the world isn't far behind us.

games100
games100

wondo691 is a very clever man

mumblesh
mumblesh

I'm making the same point I made before (slightly rephrased) and which was pulled from the board. Which I think is perfectly valid and neither 'rascist' nor 'offensive', but obviously the auto censor kicked in. If you wish to be subjected to gore and horror, and become a trained killer, who kills without question - join the army! I used the term 'potentially rascist' (stress the potentially) last time and this is simply due to the fact that there have been examples of abuse during war-time. And many offensive terms for nations e.g. G**k ', Japs' or 'Kraut' have been used in a rascist way. I in no way encourage or support rascist activity in any way, nor the killing of innocent people for that matter.

point_zero_xbl
point_zero_xbl

...all of this happening as Hostel II releases worldwide. Yay for unfair censorship and condemnation against video games.

tintin05
tintin05

My Daily Mail sense is tingling..

mjslfc
mjslfc

pc brigade win again easy to blame video games and movies for violence mankind has been a violent race since we first evolved any normal sane person will distinguish between real life and fantasy playing this game will not make you go out and kill people unless you are mentally unstable we had serial killers and murders well before video games and movies existed and its parents responabilty to stop their children from playing and seeing what they can and can not politicians use these games as scapegoats to pursue their own agendas

Mkherkzen
Mkherkzen

I don't get it. I thought that films are more realistic than games. You know - even GoW doesn't look THAT real. Even more, the graphics of the game are far from realistic due to the consoles' limited processing power (it's not on the X360 or PS3). Why are such movies like 'Saw' and 'Hostel' available? They show REAL people KILLING or being KILLED in them. Sadism of the last 'Saw' made me feel sick. So, why didn't those guys denied classification of 'Saw'? Why don't they ban themselves instead of blocking titles that can be easily blocked by the parental control function? I just don't get it :(

AlekzW
AlekzW

So what are the ratings for? If they rate a game too violent that's OK, but to ban it from sale? That's ridiculous, then just ban all violent games and destroy all rating systems.

ChaosSpaceTroop
ChaosSpaceTroop

Seriously, this sucks. I really wanted to play Manhunt 2. It looked fun. Not that I'd get it for the Wii (particularly an easy choice, given my lack of Wii-ness), I could understand the banning of the Wii version. That I can understand, but on the PSP or PS2? If Manhunt was such a brutal game why didn't they slap that with an AO or a ban? Hell, the story of that one is more controversial than Manhunt 2. Let's compare them, shall we? Manhunt: guy who has to brutally murder people for the enjoyent of perverted and twisted individuals. Versus Manhunt 2, which just has a doctor turned mental patient whose trying to recover his identity. Jeez, people these days are too damn sensitive.

Proman84
Proman84

How about we ban WAR instead? And ban weapons while we are at it too? A game is just a game.

dan-man2
dan-man2

That'll show those Brits

wondo691
wondo691

Ok, how to put this bluntly without pissing people off about what to stand for and what not to stand for? Ok Manhunt in fact is a game, in that your role as the character is to stealth, and "murder" NPC's (non playable characters) for those of you who dont know. Now everyone is on the fritz about how this game can make kids kill and people kill and yada yada yada. Let me ask you a question "you think they should have taken the rogue out of World of Warcraft? i mean his sole role in that game is to stealth and poision. hmmm kinda "lethal" way of disposing of an npc. Or how bout the animal right orginization comming to sue blizzard because they kill bears and tigers, that will teach our kids its ok to beat the family dog with a stick. We as people need to start to realize (in America anyway, im not sure how things are run in the UK) that they are games. movies/stories u play. This game is in no way shape or form( at least the way i see it) different from FEAR, or HALO, or HALF LIFE 2. If u want to live in a life with no violence, rape, crime, etc....go to the moon. start a new planet, because in reality your not going to stop people from buying this game just like your not gonna stop someone from shooting up a bank. I grew up with doom and RE games....these came out when i was a teen, i didnt go around killin people that had skin disorders! Or grab the shotgun, and destroy the universe, because i knew from my parents telling me when i was a kid THAT ITS A GAME....A BUNCH OF SPRITES ON A SCREEN THAT DO WHAT I TELL THEM TO. now in all seriousness....would i let my 4 year old play it...no....because if he/she sees that. At that age they are impressionable, so i agree, but if little kids are gonna play this then the parents should be punished....not the gamers (who are of age that can legaly buy it) and the creators. Now if someone who is 18+ plays this and decides to go on a mass murder frenzy. Go ahead. Blame ROCKSTAR...that u in fact were a dumass and cant pick out reality from fantasy. Its people like that (who cant take the ass whipping when they need one and have to blame "media entertainment") who will in fact be the down fall of American society. not because that the mass population needs the censorship, but because ONE person screws up and blames someone or something else and doesnt have the BA#%& to accept the fact that he screwed up now i understand alot of people probably didnt read all of this or there flippin their wigs because it pissed them of (HOW CAN HE STAND UP FOR THOSE **** AT ROCKSTAR) im not standing up for them per-say.....im just trying to elaborate on a very stingy subject....and all i hoped to accomplish from this comment / blog is to show u "both sides of the story.

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

Rockstar asked for this and I hope the scumbags get the message. Making a game (that they know will be played by kids) that is nothing but an excuse to act out violent fantasies will cost you. Seriously, are they trying to make Jack Thompson a national hero?

bonafidetk
bonafidetk

For anyone that is intrested. NO ONE will be playing Manhunt 2 , not just Brits. Sony, Nintendo and MS do not allow AO games on their consoles (AO is the rating this game gets). It is effectively banned on all consoles. The only platform that Manhunt 2 could come out on in its current state is PC.

Bauers-Twin
Bauers-Twin

who cares? I dont live in England alhough I would like to visit ere some day and smuggle in copies of Manhunt 2

woolston
woolston

Titan124 the UK is a very liberal country.CCTV is there to protect people.The government do not run any news agencies.

polaris550
polaris550

Frist, cryd_be the Wii is Region Locked. Second, take that all you people who say the wii is for kids. Third, I'm sorry to all you British people this was supposed to be an amazing game.

cryd_be
cryd_be

I'll sell a couple of manhunt 2's on ebay.co.uk when they are released on the old continent.

coupaholic
coupaholic

I Don't F***ing believe this! I have been waiting for this game patiently for ages and now im SO close to getting it they BAN the thing! The Wii thing I get I suppose (even though kids should not be anywhere near this game Wii or not) why the hell should us PS2 owners be refused as well!? It does not do any harm to people who are old enough to play period, I hope rockstar fights this tooth and nail - I for one will support them. Oh and if it does affect you you are either too young, or you needed therapy in the first place...

st1sk8er18
st1sk8er18

i can see why they would ban this game. ah well,its a good thing i'm not british! haha... games may play a role in the violence of society. but overall,people still have a choice to do that kind of stuff in real life. it basically comes down to understanding its only a game...and thats why they arent selling it because kids underage are more likely to be influenced by games like this and start to blur the line between whats exceptable in a game,and not in real life. i agree with their decision,i just feel bad for everyone over there whos old enough and wanted to play it...its a good thing i'm not british!

deth420
deth420

"Irish film board follows suit." way to be your own country! weaklings.

TheChemistGuy
TheChemistGuy

I just wrote in to the main irish newspaper complaining about this. Ok, if you don't want the game, don't buy it. I dislike having the desision made for me.

dannyodwyer
dannyodwyer staff

Check out my profile's video section for an interview with the irish sensor that banned Manhunt 2!

bonafidetk
bonafidetk

Also a couple of things I would like to bring to the attention of people that clearly dont have a clue. 1) In video games you have an active role (you make decisions that effect the game). Where as in movies you have a passive role (you do nothing but watch). This is a HUGE difference and one of the reasons slasher flicks are generally acceptable. 2) There is no such thing as "Freedom of Speech" in the UK. All you UK kids are too Americanised. That is known as "The first Amedment" in the USA in "The Bill of Rights". Its got nothing to do with UK law.

bonafidetk
bonafidetk

Push the envelope too far and the BBFC will snap. I have a feeling this ban is mainly down to the Wii motion controls.

From90ne
From90ne

What people don't realise is that the BBFC ---KNOW--- that if the game was released it would fall into the hands of 10-17 year olds, and they know that they cannot stop this, but these are the people who they are primarily trying to protect with this. But in my opinion a game with no substance, which is purely an excuse to maim, torture, stalk and kill as grotesquely as possible is just plain diguisting and morally wrong. Yes, I know this sounds hypocritical since I play all sorts of other games in which killing plays a large role, but there is a line, and this game way oversteps it. Oh and don't give me none of this 'it's unamerican' bullsh*t about censorship, this is censorship of the GOOD kind, not the population knowledge controlling and mind washing bad kind...

mai_sam
mai_sam

dude i want this game ....

jknight5422
jknight5422

At the rate & popularity Rockstar Games has with the gubmint, I guess Unkle Softy is gonna have to buy 'em out so they can keep making games for a platform & population that can handle the content in a civilized manner (platform being: 360/PC & population: America).

candy_krueger
candy_krueger

damn stupid retards why do they always ban the cool stuff . im sick of this crap

markop2003
markop2003

Really they should just make it an 18, but i can see that this will probably continue as you can buy games on the internet while under-age all you need is a debit card.

Giggilygault
Giggilygault

When u ban a game people will become courus and want it evan more and wot the hell happend to freedom of speech!!!!!

PerfectParadox1
PerfectParadox1

i saw the wii version being banned a mile away i jusy#t hope the psp version comes through

dryden555
dryden555

The first game wasnt very good. Rockstar clearly fumbled the game and I'm surprised they are making another one.

softeffects
softeffects

I do not think that this game should be banned. I do think that children under the age of 18 should not be able to play the game. There are reasons for these age restrictions. Children under the age of 18 are not mature enough to separate the fiction of the game with the real world. I don't mean that a 15 year old is going to go around with his wii remote trying to kill people. I think that seeing these extremely violent images desensitizes children. The more kids see this sort of stuff, the more desensitized they may become. For example, look at someone who hasn't been raised with this sort of heavy violence - our grandparents (parents if you're old enough, I suppose). I would never take my grandmother to see hostel, because it would seriously disturb her. I, on the other hand, find it morbidly fascinating. Do you think that comes from the proliferation of violence on the tv and in games?

-DaNuTz-
-DaNuTz-

lol, it's just a game ...

a_delorentis
a_delorentis

2 Gamingcucumber, And so we enter a figurative and age long argument. If we are going to talk about 'who does and who doesnt deserve to die' should we not first ask who is making that decision? But this is not the point - because it is an argument far beyind the scope of this game. See my post earlier. The issue here is exposure of violence to children, sucessfully regulating that exposure and our social responsibility. Not money, hype or headlines which Rockstar no doubt knew they would get. Clever, and rather tasteless marketing.

GruadTheGray
GruadTheGray

All you pro-censorship people, I'm with you if you'll agree to one thing. If they ban stupid, meaningless entertainment like this because of the one or two crazies it might inspire (who will find something to "inspire" them no matter what -- cuz they're CRAZY) then lets ban all religious books. All of those have caused even sane people to murder in the name of them. If you believe in banning one, you must believe in banning the other.

Gamingcucumber
Gamingcucumber

Well, I didn't expect anything else even though a sick mind like me would happily get my hands on that game. However, not everyone can handle that kind of violence, same with GTA and I honestly believe that Manhunt 2 could give some people some pretty gruesome ideas. You never know. However, why Manhunt 2 gets banned and Hostel 2 or Saw doesn't beats me. In my eyes, Saw and Hostel is far far far more violent since the people you kill in Manhunt deserves to die, while the people in the above mentioned movies usually doesn't.

qaz88aof
qaz88aof

Good thing too... i thought the first one was horrible... such mindless violence should not be encouraged in video games

bonafidetk
bonafidetk

"Films are getting more and more violent as time goes by, but the BBFC hasn't banned a film in 15 years" - You dont know what you are talking about. Many films get cuts to be acceptable to get an 18 cert in the UK in recent years. It has also been already explained that you have an active role in video games. Unlike movies and books where you have a passive role. B-I-G difference. If parents and guardians werent so ****ing stupid and took game ratings seriously and stopped buying little 9 year olds 18 cert games in the UK then we wouldnt have this problem. I saw a granddad being talking into buying what looked like a 12 year old kid GTA: San Andreas on the PS2 as recently as last week. Also this manhunt ban can be over ruled. Just like Carmageddon in 1997. It still might be released.