Manhunt 2 granted UK release

[UPDATE] Video Appeals Committee has overturned the BBFC's decision to ban the game for the second time; Rockstar "pleased."

Today, in the end of one of the longest legal dramas that the video game world has ever seen, Manhunt 2 has finally been granted a classification certificate in the UK.

The game was originally slated for launch in the country on July 13, 2007, but was refused a certificate by the British Board of Film Classification--the UK's ratings body--because of "unremitting bleakness" and "sustained and cumulative casual sadism." The move made it illegal to sell the game in the UK, which effectively banned the title.

Developers Rockstar responded by resubmitting an edited version of the game, which was granted release in the US and many European countries, but was refused classification again in the UK. The Grand Theft Auto-maker then decided to appeal the decision by taking it to the BBFC's Video Appeals Committee, a panel of seven independent judges, who reversed the decision and recommended the game be granted an 18 certificate.

Soon after, the BBFC took the unprecedented move of taking the case to the High Court, given that it believed that there had been a misinterpretation of the law. The judge agreed, and then sent the decision back to the VAC to reconsider in light of the newly set guidelines.

Today, seven weeks after the last events in the case, and some nine months after the game was first banned, Manhunt 2 has finally been granted a release in the UK.

According to a statement from the BBFC, "In the light of legal advice, the Board does not believe the VAC's judgement provides a realistic basis for further challenge to its decision and has accordingly issued an 18 certificate."

BBFC director David Cooke explained, "As I have said previously, we never take rejection decisions lightly, and they always involve a complex balance of considerations. We twice rejected Manhunt 2, and then pursued a judicial review challenge, because we considered, after exceptionally thorough examination, that it posed a real potential harm risk. However, the Video Appeals Committee has again exercised its independent scrutiny. It is now clear, in the light of this decision, and our legal advice, that we have no alternative but to issue an 18 certificate to the game."

[UPDATE] Rockstar released an official statement this afternoon declaring that it was "pleased that the VAC has reaffirmed its decision recognizing that Manhunt 2 is well within the bounds established by other 18-rated entertainment. Rockstar Games is committed to making great interactive entertainment, while also marketing our products responsibly and supporting an effective rating system." The spokesperson added that the company had not yet decided on a release date for the game.

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175 comments
Weemanrulez
Weemanrulez

Thats nice but i forgot about this whole arguement a long time ago ive moved on now : |

Blood_Diamond
Blood_Diamond

Oh come on!!! how long does it take to give a release date? Last time the set it for 2 weeks after, but the the BBFC came out and said no your not we're taking this to court. DAMN IT!!!

NirdBerd
NirdBerd

Oh, so now they do it? What console is it gonna be released on? Probably a console that has parental controls, like the Wii or... whatever. But let us not forget, us Brits, that the chavs of East London started the Manhunt: Real Life trend.

metalgear-solid
metalgear-solid

Well, I guess it's good for all PS2 users to finally hear that this game will be released after all (in Europe). Ridiculous how much fighting and controversy it has caused.

CowboyHiphop
CowboyHiphop

So, is Condemned 2 coming out in the UK? It seems like it and Manhunt 2 would be about what and what and I haven't heard of any high courts and such becoming involved with Condemned's release.

Timstuff
Timstuff

Don't get too excited, Brits. The game is crap.

liam2007
liam2007

At Long last its being released yay

micky_disco
micky_disco

I've got a ps3 so what f*dge do i care? Go GTA 4. Hope you can still use and immediately then kill hookers to get your money back. Man that''ll be sweeeeeet.

ljm69ljm
ljm69ljm

Good choice, I think the BBFC should stop worrying about violence in video games and start worrying more about their own lives. Can't wait to play this game.

Jason_Morris
Jason_Morris

By and large, I'm anti the censorship of such materials. And in this case I am gald the judge made the sensible choice: its a game, its not real, its just sprites and pixels. Even a film is more real as the stuntmen imperil themselves to help create the fantasy. The sad fact is, though, there is a tiny minority who can't differentiate between fact and fantasy, I believe almost all children CAN, however. I'm not saying Manhunt 2 is suitable for kids, but that its not going to cause emotional instability in itself. Its not over though, you just wait until the next big media childhood murder case, Manhunt 2 will sure enough be a scapegoat, I bet you.

lanista
lanista

@Guest_1001 "That wouldn't be because you edited your post, would it? You said killing someone in a videogame is the same as doing it in real life." Given that I only have enough time to post once and then log out, I can't see how? Plus how can I edit it when someone else has posted? How can killing someone in a videogame be the same as killing someone for real!??? You've completely lost me here. "The way you write "desensitise you and turn you into a killer" implies there's a link between the two. Someone who isn't desensitised can be a killer as much as someone who is desensitised wouldn't be." Yes, I'm implying a link. Equally I've said some people will do it anyway. The point being that role playing might give ideas to certain people and/or make them feel more comfortable. It's a similar idea to copying a role model. "In fact, I said the opposite, that I didn't condone underage gaming. How on earth did you take this to mean that I did?" Because of what you said: I'll readily admit something to you; the first violent game I played was Mortal Kombat 2 on the Amiga when I was six years old. You had to be eighteen to play it. And yet I'm not out in the streets slicing people in two with my blade-edged hat, a la Kung Lao. I'm typing this next to my kitchen, naturally a place full of sharp implements, yet I have no desire to pick a single one up and see what "fun" I can have with it. You played underage but between the lines you're saying it's okay - meaning 'look I did it at the age of 6 but it's not had any effect on me, so what's the big problem here?' "So I don't appreciate being made out to be the bad guy in this situation" Hey, I never said you were, so don't be paranoid. "particularly concerning your own prudish attitude that says just because something is violent means it must be banned." Ummm, never said that either. If that were the case then I wouldn't be able to own games like God of War and Ninja Gaiden. But if I were really prudish as you say, then I wouldn't own or play them! "For all intents and purposes, it was [banned], regardless of technicalities you brought up." No, there is a difference. For example if their conclusion was the law doesn't have a category (like R for porn) that they feel they can put the game into. That's not their fault, they simply cannot give a rating. If that means it's 'banned' then factually they haven't banned it, no matter what you or I say. "However, I think the only cases in which a film or game should be refused a rating would be under very extreme circumstances (Manhunt 2 has nothing that hasn't been seen in more realistic, more violent films)." My argument is that there is a difference between the two. I'm guessing they feel the same. "there is no reason why they [ratings] cannot be followed and, if they aren't, the game and the gamers shouldn't suffer for what other people's negligence has achieved." Completely agree, but the BBFC has a duty to society as a whole. In the end we suffer because of the minority. This is nothing new. "However, I refuse to believe that videogames could EVER be the sole cause of something like that." I've not said they are. Just that they might influence some people towards that direction. They still need to have that sadistic instinct in them to actually do it in real life. "Finally, if someone becomes a murderer from playing videogames, I put it to you that that same person would get angry because of a traffic jam, would overreact because of burnt toast or lose their temper because they miss their favourite show on television." Yes they would. But that's not what we're talking about here. "and frankly, I resent the implication that gamers are weak-minded and easily-led. That's what I get from posts like yours, lanista" lol. Wowch! Well take this in my post then Guest 1001. Don't forget I'm a gamer too and no I'm not weak minded and easily led, though I admit I have become a killer with my Samurai sword and having decapitated 10 people (so far) after repeatedly playing Genma Onimusha, I confess I'm seriously addicted. "and think you should have a little more faith in our form of entertainment instead of following the tabloid media view that all games will send us spiralling into pits of violence and anger." Hope not, because I'll be buying GTA IV. The BBFC have a difficult job and but given that they've only twice(?) ever not given a rating, then I can't see we're anywhere near to that. In which case I'd say give them the benefit of any doubt. Compare with other parts of the world that have just pulled the plug on YouTube to impose sudden blanket censorship!

victor_gxultra
victor_gxultra

now the only question left is when is it coming out?

VenomRitual
VenomRitual

@michaelCM hahah you're absolutely right. they made a big deal over a game that hardly caught the interests of gamers. this should prove that reviews really do make a difference in our purchases.

MadMattg22
MadMattg22

I don't even know why some old beggars at the BBFC are involved. There should be a separate certification board for interactive (game) media. They're primarily involved in films which is different ball game all together.

mercedes_5
mercedes_5

As a victory over the 'nanny state' I'm pleased, but as a video game I really couldn't care less. I agree that logic won, a lot of things can influence murder (as well as other serious crimes). I mean they could have looked at all of the deaths that WEREN'T triggered by a video game. If some mad man went out murdering triggered by Barney the Dinosaur for instance (I wouldn't know how they'd go about it, but there are enough bizarre killers throughout history), I'd like to see them ban that. Regardless of whether something is directly violent or not it can cause reactions in certain people's minds, that doesn't mean that its going to happen to EVERYONE or even A LOT of people.

rickjames_ice9
rickjames_ice9

I think they need to do away with the BBFC age brackets. I realise this is probably unlikely since its the model that works for films but computer games get picked upon unfairly imo (a generation thing). If they introduced a less rigid system such as rating the various aspects of a game out of 100 then the distributors mights start to make decisions for themselves. In the case of manhunt brand I personally have no wish to play the games because of what I understand they contain. I put them it in the same category as the Saw movies which I believe are pointless shock movies.

lcooldude
lcooldude

Nice.. A victory for Rockstar. Well done to them for not giving in!

jjr10
jjr10

Well, that means no AU date.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

With a story like this, I consider the fact that a game isn't banned to be the important factor, rather than what the game actually is. Carmageddon I could sort of understand...even though by today's standards it's laughably unrealistic and harmful, no more so than deriving pleasure from blowing all the lemmings up. I consider this a victory of common sense over "Won't someone PLEASE think of the children!?" Kudos to Rockstar for sticking to their guns.

MichaeltheCM
MichaeltheCM

well that's good for the game. however it doesnt change the fact that it's still a mediocre game

brazenhead
brazenhead

People arguing over a now-tired story about videogame censorship, in regards to a most-likely mediocre game that will most definitely be coming out, unaware that their futile debates will change absolutely nothing. Hmmph. I must be on the internet.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

LOL, well this entire comments page has proved one thing, that by making a big fuss over quite litterary nothing it is possible to generate sales of a product, not by its reputation but because of the contreversy generated by the media etc the BBFC have done a better marketing job for this game than any Billboard poster / TV Ad' could ever do. Who cares that this is a cowpat of a game, it will sell well mainly because of the Ratings fiasco. Hats off to Rockstar...... very clever.

Guest_1001
Guest_1001

"Lets be fair manhunt 2 isn't exactly a great game anyway so perhaps they we're doing us a favour banning it!!" . . . It's not banned . . .

uklegendkiller
uklegendkiller

Blah, blah, blah!! Thank god this whole thing is over i was getting sick and tired of hearing about it to be honest. Lets be fair manhunt 2 isn't exactly a great game anyway so perhaps they we're doing us a favour banning it!! :lol:

Guest_1001
Guest_1001

Oh, I feel so honoured . . . -"You totally lost me when you said killing someone in a game is the same as doing it in real life because I was appalled by its stupidity." -"Can't find anywhere in my post where I said that." That wouldn't be because you edited your post, would it? You said killing someone in a videogame is the same as doing it in real life. "Therein I disagree with your assertion that desensitising people doesn't as a result cause them to become violent." Actually you implied that yourself in that post: "Second there are people like you and Guest_1001 who aren't inclined to violence at all and playing violent games doesn't desensitise you and turn you into a killer." The way you write "desensitise you and turn you into a killer" implies there's a link between the two. Someone who isn't desensitised can be a killer as much as someone who is desensitised wouldn't be. "Given your statment about yourself, it sounds like you're fully in favour of the freedom to give a six year old copies of 18 rated games, so that could include: Ninja Gaiden, God Of War. Isn't that condoning it?" I'm going to take your argument here and say "can't find anywhere I said that". In fact, I said the opposite, that I didn't condone underage gaming. How on earth did you take this to mean that I did? I admitted that I had played videogames underage but continued that I didn't condone it. Again, there is NOTHING to say that someone who played games underage has to condone it nor that someone who didn't cannot condone it. So I don't appreciate being made out to be the bad guy in this situation, particularly concerning your own prudish attitude that says just because something is violent means it must be banned. "Actually the game has technically never been banned in the UK." For all intents and purposes, it was, regardless of technicalities you brought up. "Completely agree. But if you follow your argument through to it's conclusion, then why should any laws need to exist?" I've no idea what you're saying here. Did you think I disapprove of the law? Not at all. The BBFC, for the most part, is there for a reason. Without them, countless films and games would be criticised because they didn't have a rating. However, I think the only cases in which a film or game should be refused a rating would be under very extreme circumstances (Manhunt 2 has nothing that hasn't been seen in more realistic, more violent films). I was supporting the ratings, if anything. The idea is that because the ratings exist, there is no reason why they cannot be followed and, if they aren't, the game and the gamers shouldn't suffer for what other people's negligence has achieved. The system, in a sense, is idiot-proof in theory. "Yes, but that child doing a life of crime would do so by preying on society, hence an elected democratic government is expected to take steps to protect people in society." Again, you think I disapprove of the BBFC. I don't. "All I'm saying is that SOME people could be weak enough that they are influenced to copy what they've done in a game. In which case what do we want our governments to do? If nothing, then that is also an answer." And I've never said that couldn't happen. However, I refuse to believe that videogames could EVER be the sole cause of something like that. For one thing, there is a huge leap to be made from being influenced by videogames to going through with a murder just because you saw a fictional, unrealistic character do the same. For another, I'm going to fall back on the old gamer argument of "if they're influenced by one genre, why not the others"? If someone desires to murder because they played Manhunt, wouldn't they also want to play tennis because of Wii Sports, want to become an explorer after playing Uncharted and wanting to be a fast-moving hedgehog after experiencing Sonic? Finally, if someone becomes a murderer from playing videogames, I put it to you that that same person would get angry because of a traffic jam, would overreact because of burnt toast or lose their temper because they miss their favourite show on television. To think someone has, or would, ever murder someone SOLELY because of a videogame is ludicrous and frankly, I resent the implication that gamers are weak-minded and easily-led. That's what I get from posts like yours, lanista, and think you should have a little more faith in our form of entertainment instead of following the tabloid media view that all games will send us spiralling into pits of violence and anger.

lanista
lanista

Hmmm, I've clearly stirred a few people up, but in a good way so we can debate. "Hyork Ianista... purrlease! Im pretty sure the Cray twins didnt play GTA, and yet they were responsible for quite a lot of violence. Dont think Fred and May west ever played Manhunt. There is no link between games and violence. Fact. At worst they desensatise the population to the idea of violence, but that's not the same as causing people to be violent." My opinion is there are broadly three groups of people in society. Those who are pathologically inclined to violence and are desensitised to doing it, which is where the Cray Twins probably fit in. Second there are people like you and Guest_1001 who aren't inclined to violence at all and playing violent games doesn't desensitise you and turn you into a killer. Thirdly there is a group inbetween the two, who can slip one way or another. I don't remember seeing any published link anywhere between games and violence, and I'd have doubts over any government (or Rockstar) funded research into it. I will make my own mind up. Therein I disagree with your assertion that desensitising people doesn't as a result cause them to become violent. I'd say it provides the foundation such that when an opportunity arises (for people in the third group) some take it. "Guest_1001 I'm going to take a wild guess and say you're not a gamer" An easy way to check is to click on my alias. You'll also then notice that a lot of my games are violent. Similarly my taste in films (movies) are action / martial arts / military / western / thrillers, which invariably portray a large slice of violence. "Guest_1001 the first violent game I played was Mortal Kombat 2 on the Amiga when I was six years old. You had to be eighteen to play it. And yet I'm not out in the streets slicing people in two with my blade-edged hat" I guess you're in the second category of people I described above. I'm not sure your parents could have known that when you were six, hence may have taken a risk in exposing you. "Guest_1001 I'm not condoning playing video games underage" Given your statment about yourself, it sounds like you're fully in favour of the freedom to give a six year old copies of 18 rated games, so that could include: Ninja Gaiden, God Of War. Isn't that condoning it? "Guest_1001 this was to judge whether or not Manhunt 2 was banned or got an 18 rating" Actually the game has technically never been banned in the UK. BBFC only attach a rating, however they felt there wasn't an available rating category in UK law they could put the original game under. Their comments are published on that so I won't repeat here. Without a rating the game cannot be legally sold. Slight difference with porn in the UK because you can give a higher rating of 'R' which is an 18 rating but is also restricted in that it can only be sold in specially licensed sex shops (stores). "Guest_1001 One of the points made against Manhunt 2 was the possibility that children might play it. If they do, why is this the game's fault? Why should Rockstar and gamers suffer because parents cannot parent their kids properly?" Completely agree. But if you follow your argument through to it's conclusion, then why should any laws need to exist? If everyone is sensible, parents, adults, whoever, then everyone can exercise their freedom while keeping to their own sense of good conduct and everything should be okay. However I somehow don't think so. Hence a government usually takes steps to set standards (defining what UK society is) and hence making impositions (laws). This isn't anything new, religions do this by saying what is okay and what is not. "Guest_1001 If they make the wrong decision, and their child does go into a life of crime from playing videogames (slimmest possibility in the world), then it's still their fault as parents." Yes, but that child doing a life of crime would do so by preying on society, hence an elected democratic government is expected to take steps to protect people in society. "Guest_1001 You totally lost me when you said killing someone in a game is the same as doing it in real life because I was appalled by its stupidity." Can't find anywhere in my post where I said that. When consoles and games are advertised we are reminded that you can "be immersed in the experience". Graphics, sounds, gameplay all allow you to "play the role". This is different from films. It's not of course doing it in real life, but the closer you get to virtual reality, your brain might not know the difference! Hence those gamers in the third category I described could be more likely to cross that boundary and try it in our "real world". "Guest_1001 If you're going to blame all of society's modern ills on videogames" Can't find that in my post either. "Guest_1001 For one thing, find me a single game with happy-slapping and hoodies and I'll give you a medal." Agree that I may not find one. But read what I've said above. All I'm saying is that SOME people could be weak enough that they are influenced to copy what they've done in a game. In which case what do we want our governments to do? If nothing, then that is also an answer.

Carlito911
Carlito911

Good, because I wanna play the game:D

victor_gxultra
victor_gxultra

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

slayersdeath200
slayersdeath200

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

godvigor
godvigor

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

LsTr_Of_SmG
LsTr_Of_SmG

One of the BBFC's reasons for banning the game in the first place was that underage kids could get hold of it. This in itself reeks of hypocrisy seeing as it is the BBFC's responsibility to ensure that this does not happen - you cannot ban a game for what should not be happening in the first place. Instead the BBFC should be doing a better job of bringing public attention to the ratings system, half of the people I've spoken to didn't even realise it was against the law to buy a 18+ game for an underage child. The problem is that most people see these ratings as guidelines not rules, however this problem is the BBFC's not the games industries. Games should NOT be persecuted because of a lack of competence from the BBFC. We've long left the days were a public hanging worked as a deterrent - at least I hope we have. As HuxleyHobbes said before me: 'This isn't a victory for gamers, Rockstar, or fans of Manhunt. This is simply a victory for the concept that individuals, not governments, have the right to decide what they watch, hear, play, and otherwise experience.'

HuxleyHobbes
HuxleyHobbes

This isn't a victory for gamers, Rockstar, or fans of Manhunt. This is simply a victory for the concept that individuals, not governments, have the right to decide what they watch, hear, play, and otherwise experience.

Lab4lover666
Lab4lover666

Hooray! This is a victory to all Manhunt fans and Rockstar :D Happy days!

gandalf_storm
gandalf_storm

good news for rockstar, but who really knows what it was all reaally about, could have been a publicity stunt, we wont ever know, banned twice, now it will get a release, its going to sell on that basis because people are easily seduced by things they cant have, one thing that does concern me is the amount of parents who will now buy this for theirunderage children, I was in a game shop today, i saw some women buying 3 18 rated 360 games for her kid, he must of been about 12(ish) - when the sales person said "do you realise how bad these are adult only games" - the mum replied "i dont care he can play what he likes"

Strike_Zer0
Strike_Zer0

I personally don't have a desire to play this game but I'm very very glad it's gonna get a release. As if they got away with banning it that would have just made it that much easier to ban the next thing that comes along, and so on and so forth.

Vypor
Vypor

if red bloods the reason for a ban change it to green and say its acid

kayn83
kayn83

Too bad Manhunt isn't that great of a game...

bublinec
bublinec

This is what people want to play the games they choose and what gives the right for thebffc just to make that choice for us i played manhunt and found nothing wrong with it so why all this ban after ban it is just a load of crap

AnthraxAngel
AnthraxAngel

CAN'T...EFFIN'...WAIT! Just hope it lives up to its predecessor, which I thought was a very decent game.

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

good news them bbfc idoits are actually gonna let me make my decision as an adult weather to get manhunt 2 or not. it is wrong that they can ban stuff like this i should always have the choice as an adult weather to buy something. these goofs at the bbfc should not be making decisions for me it makes me sick.

delta3074
delta3074

i have read a lot of people complaining about lack of blood in games, personally i don't think it makes a difference there was no blood in the old spectrum games really and it didn't stop me playing games people seem so bloodthirsty these days. on the point i don't think it was wise for the bbfc to be overruled, they have been pretty lenient with games i think and the fact that they chose to ban manhunt was for good reason it's one thing being a cop or a soldier and spilling blood in games but to play a mental case and just torture and kill people for the sake of it should be considered rather offensive to most normal people, personally i have children and i find the concept of the game distasteful so i won't be playing it. Hat's off to rockstar though for staying the course.

Guest_1001
Guest_1001

"Too true...i played the original manhunt and was bored 15 minutes through" To be fair, that got better as it went along.

blightfear
blightfear

HOOOOORAY!!!!! Finally its going to be released! That took far longer than it should, though.

scamisimran
scamisimran

Just because a game is controversial doesnt necessarily mean its got to be good. Too true...i played the original manhunt and was bored 15 minutes through...i hav no intention of playing manhunt 2 coz it just looks like more of the same but with even worse graphics and death animations

Hyork
Hyork

Its not even about the game any more. Its more about what the BBFC's actions in twice refusing to rate the game mean for the rest of the games industry, and how they go about releasing violent games in the UK. You can see the consiquences already, what with No More Heroes being released in the UK without blood, unlike the US version. It means developers are more likely to tone down their games for the UK in order to be sure of a release.