Manhunt 2 UK release in peril again

High Court puts brakes on Rockstar game once more, says appellate committee misinterpreted law when overturning original ban and must reconvene.

by

LONDON--The controversy over Rockstar's Manhunt 2 is raging on in the UK, even though the game has already been granted a release in North America and many other European countries.

First, Manhunt 2 was banned in the UK by the British Board of Film Classification. Then the ban was overturned by appeal by the Video Appeals Committee. Now the appeal itself has been overturned by the High Court.

In an all-day hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London today, the Honourable Mr Justice Mitting sided with the BBFC's argument that the VAC (the original appellate committee) had erred when considering whether Manhunt 2 could be considered harmful to minors who viewed it. Whereas the VAC interpreted this as "actual harm," the BBFC and Mitting believed it should be taken in a broader scope of "potential harm and risk of harm." The BBFC also argued that the VAC based its decision on whether or not the game would have a "devastating effect on society," and argued that this "harm threshold" was too high.

Rockstar argued that due to the human right to expression, the game should never have been banned in the first place, and that even if Mitting found that the law had been misinterpreted, he should let the VAC's decision stand. Mitting responded by saying he did not feel qualified to make such a decision on the case, having not been involved in it since the beginning, but told the VAC that it should bear this criteria in mind when making their new decision.

During the proceedings, it also emerged that there are several stages to the decision made by the VAC in cases such as this. The first is whether the material is question is criminal (for example, containing child pornography), and Manhunt 2 was ruled to not contain anything of this nature.

The second decision is whether it will cause harm to adults, and once more, it was found that the game was not likely to do this. The third point was whether or not it was likely to be viewed by minors, and in response to that criteria, Rockstar argued that the BBFC's certification worked and that children were unlikely to have access to the game. However, the VAC ruled this was not the case because children were likely to have access.

The fourth decision was whether or not harm would be caused to minors if they viewed or played the game, and the vote was 4-3 in deciding that it would not. All members of the VAC admitted that it had been a very difficult case.

After quashing the VAC's decision, Mitting explained, "In the circumstances, it seems to me the only just method of ending this." He stipulated that the same seven members of the VAC must now reconvene and make a new decision based on the guidelines he laid down in the courtroom today. It is understood that this is likely to happen within the next two weeks, which would in theory put an end to the protracted legal drama.

Discussion

102 comments
wambabonga
wambabonga

Im not actually bothered, not interested in this game

Reaper1117
Reaper1117

You guys arn't missing out on anything, the first one was really cool, but the second is a load of crap, I'm actually sorry I followed the press up dates for this game. God, a good waste of a year

capjoel2
capjoel2

Just because they rate it 18+ doesn't mean anything anybody can still get there hands on it becuase some shops will sell games at any rating to anybody and even shops who don't will sell to parents who I know a 7 year old who has played rockstars game GTA san andres and I've played it myself I'm under 18 a friend lent it to me. But wait a sec man hunt 2 was banned ages ago if they do relese it, it probley won't be any good anyway because iy's an old game anyway and won't compare to new games anyway.

zombey1333
zombey1333

Pffft. Violent gaming is the root of all evil. Come on, where do you think Hitler got his ideas? Duh.

Azwhtknight
Azwhtknight

Why should the High Court waste time reviewing something as trivial as a game release when they won't even give a second glance to more important issues or the relevance of other previously passed bills. As for the whole violence issue, all you have to do is watch the news to see violence and atrocities in the real world that no game could portray. If they repeal the game, what are they going to do about the news? Censor it too? Anyone who buys the game has to be an adult, so let us as adults decide what we should or shouldn't be exposed to!

ahyumifan
ahyumifan

that game sucks anyways. I love the first one, but this time... its just bunch of crap.

Azhar85
Azhar85

enough of this s*** !!!!

victor_gxultra
victor_gxultra

i dont know what the hell is wrong with these people. the game did`nt even turn out to be as good as they thought it would be and they still want it banned!!!!!!!!

instantdeath999
instantdeath999

If hostel isn't "harming to society" then why is this?

mattcake
mattcake

Just let them try and ban GTA4, I will show them what going Postal and Manhunt is all about... :)

McDog3
McDog3

It's kind of scary knowing that these materials can just be banned using children as an excuse...... It's been almost a YEAR,the VAC should reconfirm there 18+ rating and let the game come out. It's only a mediocre game for god sakes and all this hype only makes it sell more

sykonfc
sykonfc

I can't believe are ripping on the BBFC when the ESRB and America's rating system sucks even more. Get a clue people.

Chakawn
Chakawn

Poor Rockstar ... I really feel bad for this company. They try their best to make great games and they always come thru. For instance , All of the GTA's from 3 - 4 now. And they also made Bully which I must say so for myself was pure ownage. Everyone is worrying weather or not that children would get their hands on this game as the same with Manhunt. The thing is if the parents of the children would stop buying these violent games ( as little 12 year olds cannot buy M or A rated games ) then there would be no problem.

Metaman1980
Metaman1980

I'm busy playing Manhunt 2 on PSP at the moment (I got a copy from the States) and I gotta say, it's a fantastic game. Rockstar can do no wrong if you ask me! While the overall theme of the game is definitely adult-oriented, most of the violent "execution" scenes have been visually scrambled beyond recognition. In my opinion, the game is no more violent than some of Rockstar's other titles, such as the GTA series and The Warriors. I think it's wrong to have a sliding scale of censorship, whereby movies like Saw and Hostel are given the green light, and games like Manhunt 2 aren't. The rating system is there for a reason. Parents need to pay attention to it, rather than buying whatever game their children ask for.

Dr_Feelgood
Dr_Feelgood

I feel bad for Rockstar. By this point, it seems silly to fight this legal battle because it is questionable if this game will be profitable, but need to fight this for the sake of free speech. I also feel bad for the BBFC, since once the game is released and people see how unprofessional they acted, many will lose confidence in their ratings. After all this is done, the head of the BBFC will be forced to resign I'm thinking.

RyokoSparda
RyokoSparda

"V-IGamer Britain should either allow Rockstar to release the game, or face trillions of dollars in sanctions." What you going to have sanctions on? Games so you will not get Manhunt 3 or have to pay $300 for it?.

Irve
Irve

you know considering that any kid can download hostel 2 on their PC surely they are more at risk of seeing that film than playing manhunt 2 .... and surely ... surely .... it's more a case of restricing sales in stores than in outright banning of material I really hope that the VAC come back with the right decision and allow Manhunt 2 to be sold .. i still won't bother to buy it .. but the new edited verion is about as harmful and a litter of kittens

redlar
redlar

If they base this on "potential harm," why not get rid of other 'violent' games? Better yet, why not remove all movies depicting violence, especially gorgy (Gore Orgy/Splatterfest) movies like Hostel or the Say series, or getting rid of all legal guns? Having guns around constitutes "potential harm." The legal wording too vague; it should open up a whole can of worms, if people would stop discriminating against video games. But of course they don't, and if the VAC allows this precedent to be set, 20 years from now there will be a Saw 18 with little children getting hacked to pieces and skinned alive and millions of people will watch it while video games are filled with cotton candy clouds and bouncing bunnies.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

They are right in that you would expect a minor to have a degree of access even if they were told not to play it. Kids find a way. What I dont understand is why they dont ban all the equally violent games. Why pick on this one?

suprsolider
suprsolider

I liked the game, but I hated how censored it was. I originally bought the Wii verison but got so pissed off at the god damn filters I took it back and got the PSP version so I could apply the hack. It's crap that even though it is a good game, it's contents are still being viewed as evil. What about movies like Saw, Hostel, Halloween 2007? WTF do you call those? Kids can see these 2 online or get someone to get them tickets to the movies or get them the DVD's. Yet they aren't banned, why are only games being crapped on like this.

_ButterS_
_ButterS_

By the time this is settled all over the world, GTA IV will come about... Maybe then the spot light can be taken off this game =/

V-IGamer
V-IGamer

Britain should either allow Rockstar to release the game, or face trillions of dollars in sanctions.

remmbermytitans
remmbermytitans

Geez, just when you think its over... They come from behind and own you...

midisurfmind
midisurfmind

From article: "However, the VAC ruled this was not the case because children were likely to have access." Doesn't the idea of having 18-rated games become pretty much irrelevant if we're rating games on the assumption that children will have access to them anyway?

latejake
latejake

Why this again.Rockstar won the case so they can sell it in the uk. BBFC appeal against it,not letting the british public to see what the problem about the game the cut version. But they let films in this country much worse than a game. like saw 1,2,3,4 hostle 1,2. and they think it a good thing letting films in than playing a game. their old farts that doesn't know anything. first person shooter should be banned by them because you could use telescopic sights and shoot people in the head and watch blood quirt out of heads. banned racing game for crashing.drunk behind a car game whatever next.if that the case we shouldn't be watching the news. killing death floods

Arty_Wadd
Arty_Wadd

I generally love everything that Rockstar puts out and I understand the principle behind the controversy, but the sad fact is the game was doo-doo. Save the fight for something worth fighting for. It's over Johnny, it's over.

benjaminjoel
benjaminjoel

@ Onilink3 Have you ever played Rockstar Presents Table Tennis?

jmace86
jmace86

baker_boy, you are so right! If all these retard parents who know nothing about games would just pay attention to the ratings system that is put in place for their benefit, so that they know what games contain content that is inappropriate for their kids, (and if the ratings system was more thoroughly enforced by stores) then none of this would be necessary because the game would not be getting played by people under 18 anyway and the whole topic of whether it is harmful to kids would be a moot point!

baker_boy
baker_boy

God this is all caused by mothers buying 7 year olds GTA games, then they complain about the "evil" games, they are 18s for a reason!

baker_boy
baker_boy

God this is all caused by mothers buying 7 year olds GTA games, then they complain about the "evil" games, they are 18s for a reason!

Chuck1289
Chuck1289

Im english and im about to play this game lol

KBABZ
KBABZ

Alright, now they're just making up excuses. I'm sure the VAC totally understood. When you're in a position like that it's kinda important to not make mistakes. "Rockstar argued that the BBFC's certification worked and that children were unlikely to have access to the game. However, the VAC ruled this was not the case because children were likely to have access." And this is just blatantly admitting that the UK Rating and whatever they do to stop kids getting their hands on it DOES NOT WORK. With enough will and skill, a kid can get their hands on the game (crazy uncle or pot-smoking cousin, anyone?), but that's the fault of the relatives not the ratings system. But when they say the above quote, they're admitting in public that they don't believe the current system works. C'mon, at least let it appear in 18+ XXX Adult Stores, like, where it would be logical to put it there without little Jimmy stumbling across it.

Jaeme
Jaeme

You have freedom of speech or you do not. The fact is that the court is basicly saying that children could get their hands on this game, just like they could get their hands on porno, cigarettes, Taxi Driver, other "R" (or their equivalent) movies and should therefore be banned just like Saw 4 and Hostel 2. If they hadn`t banned the remake of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre children would have been irreparably harmed, so I`m glad they did it. Obviously they are treating games the same as they are every other form of media. I went with sarcasm rather than the vitriolic stream of obscenities I wanted to prove that videogames do not cause rabies. On a separate note, I have no use for Manhunt 2 and I will never play that game. I am undecided as to whether we need games with that sort of subject matter, but I believe I SHOULD HAVE THE CHOICE. I believe in free speech no matter how vulgar or unpleasant. I tolerate Dr Phil, and "reality" TV despite the total lack of redeeming value because all speech must be free. In 10-20 years the children or grandchildren of the people on the boards today will look at us like we`re off our meds when we tell them about crap like this just as my son looks at me like I`m making crap up when I tell him about "back masking" and how Dungeons and Dragons were corrupting children and causing them to.... I don`t remember what D&D was supposed to make us do. Drink too much Dr. Pepper I think.

Yao-kun
Yao-kun

well, UK players should we relieved, they won't have to play this PoS

stevo-millz
stevo-millz

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

ketsuatama
ketsuatama

Only giving a crag game more publicity; those guys at Rockstar are so smart!

ctg867
ctg867

Just let it go. UK is a country of politicians who don't go by the same morals of free speech that the US goes by. And even we have a big problem with video game bashing in the government between Hillary Clinton and Jack Thompson. So that's saying a lot. Forget about it Rockstar. Unfortunately, the game didn't live up to expectations, and mediocre sales in the UK after all of these expensive legal battles wont change that.

kainen666
kainen666

@supermariofan does this make you as proud? :-In late 1942, the Nazis had used up the last of their Tetra-Ethyl Lead (TEL) which was needed as a fuel additive to make leaded gasoline. They needed TEL to prevent engine knock in their modern combustion engines. Without it, no tanks could roll, and no planes could fly. And yet somehow, Hitler managed to saturate London's city streets with an endless rain of bombs. For those of you who want to learn WHY the Battle of Britain and the carpet bombing of London took place, read Charles Higham's books Trading With the Enemy, or any books by John Loftus, a former OSI Nazi Hunter with the US Department of Justice. The carpet bombing of London was made possible by an American named William Farish, who was the head of the Ethyl Corporation, a subsidiary of Standard Oil. Farish gave the Nazis the patent for TEL, and the technical knowledge needed to make their own supply so that the war could continue... this one act of treason by Wall Street prolonged the war by more than two years, and made billions for Wall Street. You see, Will Farish was a Republican, and best friends with one Prescott Bush, grandfather of George W Bush. Republicans like Bush, Farish, Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh were in business with Hitler and the Nazis, and opposed to helping Churchill fight Nazism. You might even say they were appeasers as well as being profiteers. Bush was busy making steel for the Nazis at Consolidated Silesian Steel, a company in Poland. Bush was the managing director of CSS and continued to make steel for the Nazis to use against American soldiers even after Pearl Harbor. He also used Jewish slaves, subcontracted from Auschwitz Concentration Camp, which was being run by German conglomerate IG Farben. The proof of this is found in Vesting Order 248, issued against Union Banking Corp, CSS and Prescott Bush in 1942. The biggest irony in all this is that in 2001, George W Bush appointed Will Farish III, grandson of the man who made the carpet bombing of London possible, as Ambassador to the Court of St James (ambassador to England and the UK). It's like appointing Hitler's grandson as ambassador to Israel. completely out of context I know but some people need reminders

mitu123
mitu123

Exactly what clyde46 said, this is just, ugh.

Mystearical
Mystearical

I'm actually having a kick reading this... this is soooooooooo amusing! By the way, I don't care if the game rocked or sucked - just this whole back and forth clash - lol reminds me of V for Vendetta (never thought something like that may EVER happen... but you never know) I guess movies like SAW with REAL-LIFE ACTORS getting ripped to pieces is less effective than video game characters... oh boy

clyde46
clyde46

yawn, its getting boring now.

Super-Mario-Fan
Super-Mario-Fan

I've had this game for about 2 and a half months, and I'm proud to be an American.

kainen666
kainen666

"the Honourable Mr Justice Mitting sided with the BBFC's argument that the VAC (the original appellate committee) had erred when considering whether Manhunt 2 could be considered harmful to minors who viewed it. " ok so lets sit a handful of minors in front of hmm lets say texas chainsaw massacre, saw and hostel. Then sit them in front of a cartoony looking computer game, I wonder what would disturb them more?!?! That judge should be renamed 'the right honorable ignorant tit' sigh, will this never end...