Rockstar baffled by High Court ruling

Creator of Manhunt 2 questions the decision by the High Court to send the game back to appeals committee.

Yesterday marked the latest episode in the almost year-long saga to try to get controversial horror action adventure game Manhunt 2 released in the UK. A judgment made in the High Court ruled that the Video Appeals Committee, which had granted the game an 18-certificate release in the UK, should reconsider its decision.

The crux of the decision rested on the interpretation of the word "harm," which the BBFC argued had been misinterpreted, resulting in an error of law.

Rockstar Games has hit back at the High Court's decision, which took place over a full day in the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday. The company states that it believes the game--which has already been released in the US--should now simply be released in the UK as well.

The company's statement said, "We believe the VAC decision was correct and do not understand the court's decision to expend further public resources to censor a game that contains content well within the bounds established by the BBFC's 18-plus ratings certification."

The same seven members of the original VAC will now reconvene and, in light of the direction from Mr Justice Mitting, reconsider their verdict. This decision is understood to be imminent.

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158 comments
theKSMM
theKSMM

Forget the High Court and any legal retail channels. Black market Manhunt, baby. Now that's entertainment!

TheBlaklyon
TheBlaklyon

If a child get his hands on A game that is labeled "inappropriate", I don't think you should blame the company that made the game, Blame the parents. These days, Too many parents are blaming others for there lack of parenting. Its either music, games or movies. I wish they would stop using various forms of entertainment as a cheap babysitter for children, and take responsibility like a real parent should.

Guest_1001
Guest_1001

"So we should not argue that "nothing should be banned" in a strict sense, but rather argue the definition of "harm"." Outside of the inclusion of a "nanny state" system, I still would think Manhunt would get off either way. As we all know, videogames look less violent than movies for the sole reason they look less realistic. But that apparently means very little to the BBFC and thus, appears to be a bias. "I love Rockstars games, but you have to admit they clutch at straws to shock." Yeah. Rockstar Table Tennis = Gorefest. Technically that is shocking, Rockstar (of all people) having the guts to make a table tennis game, but in a different way. But that pretty much has nothing to do with this discussion so I'll say nothing more about it. "If Rockstar didn't get controversy over their releases they wouldn't sell a damn thing. They've run out of ideas and rely on extreme violence as a game." See the aforementioned Table Tennis. And Bully, a game with no guns, blood, nudity, death and infrequent language, with the quirk of being a character in a schoolyard. How many games have done that? Very few, I'll wager, and none of your garbage about Rockstar having run out of ideas, nor ultraviolence. And then I'll point out that you've probably never played Manhunt. Given that I'd estimate 90% of the game is sneaking and hiding and that you ignored the engrossing storyline, I'd say it's a fair bet you know very little about Manhunt either.

coopg
coopg

The problem is if this does get banned, whether this can provide the precedent for a downwards spiral where media - games, movies, tv programmes, news stories, whatever - gets banned that isn't so "harmful". I don't believe in banning this in the first place, but even if we accept that it is harmful enough to children to be banned, we have to bare in mind this could be the start of a slippery slope towards wider censorship. That's just my fear.

AfterAscon
AfterAscon

They should just complain to the house of lords about the misinterpretation. Problem solved.

LausDomini
LausDomini

rpgisforme said "no one has the right to ban it" The fault with this position is the assumption that the object in question is entirely self-contained. Setting Manhunt 2 aside for the moment, imagine a food company decides to introduce a rat poison breakfast cereal. I think you would agree that the rat-poinson cereal should not be included among the other kiddie cereals, but is it enough to put the cereal on the top shelf, initially out of the hands of children? Considering minors are inclined to climb the shelf (attempt to play an M rated game), we have to assume that many children would eat the cereal and be harmed by it. So we should not argue that "nothing should be banned" in a strict sense, but rather argue the definition of "harm".

rpgisforme
rpgisforme

Simple as this, whether you like the game or not, no one has the right to ban it. Who has the right to tell you what you are allowed to buy and play? A bunch of political stuffed shirts gonna tell you what you are allowed to have? Not me. Glad I'm a Canadian, very liberal here, we don't ban nothing. I don't want manhunt, nor do I play GTA, but Rockstar has the right to make whatever they want. If ya don't like it then don't buy it but no one has a right to make the decision for every adult in a country on what they should be allowed to buy and play.

XXMadManVII
XXMadManVII

This makes me glad I live in a country that still has freedom of speech (until they take that away too).

Zerosumgame
Zerosumgame

Shut rockstar down, what a rotten studio, menace 2 society. Thumbs up for the brits.

KBABZ
KBABZ

It's quite stupid if you ask me. Going back to say that a misinterpretation of the word harm shows that they're just getting more desperate.

thibbledorfP
thibbledorfP

Countries have no problem letting movies like Hostel and Saw go to sale. But they deliberately treat video games a lot more harshly. It is not justified. Many of the people who vote, or who are in political positions, have never played games, so they have an ignorance of the medium. Ignorance = fear. It is a convenient source of blame for the voting base, and for politicians. Try to take away TV shows from people, and see the angry reaction from John and Jane Q. Middleclass. I personally don't like the Manhunt games, but if people want to play them, let them. If parent's groups are not comfortable with the game, too bad. Other adults want to play it, it is their right. There is an age restriction on the game, parents... So I guess you'll have to *gasp* actually control and discipline your kids.

micky_disco
micky_disco

tidyspidey, Why would people who have sex with animals be classed as paedophiles? The would either have to be called zoophiles or some kind of paedophile back story would have to be established. Whats more you would have to actually be a government to make money from a government loan, and how can an entire government be a paedophile? Finally, and I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but I really don't see the potential for a game in your idea. It's ambitious, no one's denying that, but you might try thinking of something that people will enjoy doing in a game and basing your idea around that. Perhaps some kind of elaborate and violent game of death mixing stealth combat and atmospheric horror elements. Yeah, that sounds pretty interesting. Huh? Whaddaya mean someone did that already?!

diablobasher
diablobasher

DrKill09: The ideal solution isn't always the right solution. Inducing some sort of aptitude test would be ideal, but it would cost an absolute bomb on the countries already stretched assets. Simply dissalowing the bottom rung of society to have children would almost instantly improve the entire country, relaxing those resources so that some sort of aptitude test might indeed be viable. Don't take it as a slight on poor people, i myself come from a family who dropped out of school at the age of 14, and never had even a semi decent job, living off benefits for most of our lives. And with no parenting skills whatsoever. Were it not for video games leading me to a secluded life of no social skills, i might even be out there right now talking in slurred english and stabbing people. Edit: Essentially what i meant was those able to hold down a reasonable wage packet each month show at least SOME educational background. Even if it's just GCSE's or whatever. That in turn, in my eyes would be a much more competent parent than someone with no job. As a generalisation. Which unfortunately, is what you have to make when you dont have the resources to test every potential parent in the country.

DrKill09
DrKill09

diablobasher said "solution? Ban children for people under a certain wage bracket." Although I agree with most of what you said, wage doesn't necessarily determine parenting skills. My parents didn't have much money when I was growing up, but they taught me the difference between right and wrong. I feel requiring some sort of parental aptitude test before being allowed to have kids would be more appropriate, and effective.

diablobasher
diablobasher

Children kill each other because they have nothing to do, come from poor families and dont know how to have a hobby, or interact with people because of their bad parenting. Solution? BAN VIDEO GAMES and give them EVEN less to do!! Hooray!! Real solution? Ban children for people under a certain wage bracket.

KadeStorm
KadeStorm

tidyspidey, I can't wait for you to explain how banning video game paedos will somehow change all paedos in this world. Hell, if we ban all games remotely adult, and all paedos don't reform, could we just ship 'em off to an island and leave you there as their consolidation prize? Congratulations, for you have grasped at thin straws like a feeble apologist. Please, go thump some book or help the theocrats in Arabia with their PR. Fail!

Link_Destined_1
Link_Destined_1

@JimBurber: An AO-rating would make a game essentially impossible to sell. I have yet to see ONE major retailer carry an AO-rated game (except maybe GTA: San Andreas).

tidyspidey
tidyspidey

I can't wait to try Rockstars 2009 title "Legions of Paedophiles bully Critically Endangered Animals whilst making money from 3rd World Government Loans" Which side will you pick? I can't wait to level up my badass Paedo and start tearing all sorts of fluffy rare things apart. I love Rockstars games, but you have to admit they clutch at straws to shock.

hart704
hart704

The answer to this and anything like it is good parenting. Laws and rulings will never keep these games out of the hands of kids.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Jack Thompson must be doing some side work for the UK....

Autolycus
Autolycus

its the first start to control the public. THey already show you a biased news....

zoe256
zoe256

God, this has gone on for a while. Don't let nutters or kids buy it and it will be fine. Just release the game already!

KadeStorm
KadeStorm

Okay, fine. I agree. We need to make the world a better place for our children. We need to shelter the little sacks of meat and bone from all the wrong that is going on and raise them to believe that people live on forever, and sex is about sodomising one another with marshmallow **** giving birth to even more little maggot spawns made of sugar and spice and everything nice. You know what the real problem is with this situation?! You’ve got actual news - credible source of information that announces - proclaims every **** day that people are dying, false wars are being initiated, and people are being beheaded in the name of some absurd religion and a very angry, pompous god! But when a mere - fictional - game comes into question, all these conservatives get their **** in a knot! **** ‘EM! Okay?! At least when kids play their games, or revel in their comic books, most of them have half the sense to know that what they’re dealing with is fictional entertainment. Now these ****s want to make an issue out of potential sources that might promote violent thought - why not start at the bottom - ban ideology, politics, news, awareness, education - JUST BAN EVERYTHING!

Mauller
Mauller

If Rockstar didn't get controversy over their releases they wouldn't sell a damn thing. They've run out of ideas and rely on extreme violence as a game.

Guest_1001
Guest_1001

Honestly, the BBFC should trust the VAC's decision even if they disagree with it. Otherwise, what's the point in the VAC even existing? Will they get this kind of circus every time they make a decision?

Irve
Irve

Well , once again i really hope that the VAC still come back with the correct decision and allow this game through .. i've played and seen far worse games and the BBFC are really opening a big can of worms because some smart arse is going to sit back and say .. but game X , game Y and game Z were all passed 18 with more violence and just as grim a narrative.

mariomusicmaker
mariomusicmaker

razu_gamer This is an average game, not mediocre. So stop saying is lame. --- lol and what do you think mid core means???

SuperMario3000
SuperMario3000

(Sword-Hunter277) it does not matter if the game is mediocre its the principal of the matter. Why should the US get the game and us brits don't, it's not fair. There is no evidence to suggest the game encourages violence in the real world anyway.

Merl57
Merl57

bad game. bad legislation to limit it.

getondees
getondees

Yea...I guess if every game to come out would just stay like mario then every1 would be just fine and there would be no violence in the world... Kids should not play these games anyway if thats what every1s worried about.I wonder what violent video games Charles Manson played or more recently the washington sniper guy?? I like manhunt,not just because of the violence.I like the fact that something I grew up loving as a child grew up with me.Amazingly enough,I am sitting at home writing this and not in a prison library.I have played many violent video games and watched many violent movies.....you get the idea.What a waste of any countries tax money tryind to parent parents on being a parent.WoW indeed:)

Karjah
Karjah

Honestly there's a line between art and flat out violence for the sake of violence. Manhunt crosses that line. GTA did dance on it but at least we all know how hard it can be for minors to get a hold of that title. Manhunt is honestly just hours of runnning around murdering people in the most brutal ways possible with a bit of stealth and horror thrown in. It shouldn't even be released here in America. It's over the line IMO and I've played some pretty violent stuff. And yes go ahead and scream to the heavens about freedom of speach or what have you but I'm ashamed rockstar is part of the gaming industry. They do nothing but give us all a bad name. The sooner they go the better for us all since it means more room for real games like Okami, Trauma centre, no more heroes and the like.

somberfox
somberfox

People saying that the game should be banned on the basis that it's bad need to shut up and look at the bigger picture. If it's banned, it will lead to more bans on games that aren't even offensive in a slippery slope effect.

Kfoss
Kfoss

nice, ya know by banning it its just gonna make it THAT much more popular to import...and an incorrect interpretation of the word "harm"...are you kidding me??...who writes this stuff?....and if they uphold there decision then what..there just gonna out right overrule them cause they have this all high and mighty stance??? and if they cave then what...the appeals process is undermined completely cause it looked like they caved to pressure. ack what a mess..

aDhAmMe13
aDhAmMe13

it is not like it is the first violent and 18+ game 2 b released!

Briantb_2008
Briantb_2008

Old people who are on this High Court is the reason for it getting appeled plus the fact that americans enjoy violence

razu_gamer
razu_gamer

This is an average game, not mediocre. So stop saying is lame.

Percypoo
Percypoo

For all those who think this game would no be a piece of crap had it not been censored, don't let it get you down, watch the Saw films and only watch the uncut versions, they will blow your minds!

gameloverx
gameloverx

hahahahahahhahahahahahahahahaha hahahahah

Canitbe
Canitbe

It should be banned , if for no other reason then to save customers from spending cash on a piece of crap. Diablobassher, dont bring the argument of freedom of expression here, about a console(Majority of console game sales are to children, period). If you want to play any game you can ever imagine, just load it up on your PC.

diablobasher
diablobasher

Jumburber: 18 IS the AO rating in the UK. These guys want to ban it altogether.

diablobasher
diablobasher

Anyone who is even looking at the title of the game, let alone commenting on it's low standard is a complete MORON. This is not about Manhunt 2, and has never been about Manhunt 2. It is about our freedom to choose which media we want to view, and the potential effects an uncontested ban could have on the future of that freedom. If you can't see how important this battle is for the industry in the UK, then GTFO and stop commenting. Go live in your little bubble world where politics doesnt effect you.

AceCometh
AceCometh

Funny that everyone keeps calling the game a piece of crap. It wasn't too long ago that gamers in the USA were outraged by the AO rating, rendering them unable to get their hands on the load of crap that is Manhunt 2. Would the unaltered AO rated version have been better? Probably not. I'll get off my soapbox now.

JimBurber
JimBurber

Seems like they should probably just settle with an AO rating and let it go.

shinchy
shinchy

What a complete waste of public money. :(

fatty5xl
fatty5xl

such a hubbub for a realy crappy game be glad you cant buy it cause it sux

resident_rozza
resident_rozza

all this fuss over a pile of crap? Honestly is there anyone who cares about this Manhunt "controversy"? Such a waste of time.

lanista
lanista

"Fang_lord I dont see why this is banned, yeah its violent and bloody, but No More Heroes has buckets more blood than this, and that wasnt even considered to be banned..." I've removed the word 'retarded' in the above as that's considered offensive in the UK. I don't think the censors issue was with the blood and violence, it's the way the violence is committed and the fact that it's 'you' (as you play the role in the game) who does the violence in that way Because of their concerns I think they're trying to avoid psychological effects on people who play They believe that's a difference between a similar type of violence seen in films, but where you are detached, hence they treat games more harshly as you are immersed in a world where 'you' are committing the violence I hope that makes sense

shabulia
shabulia

Why the uproar about this game? I honestly don't know a single person that owns it, let alone has ever played it. It hasn't sold well, it hasn't rated well... WHO FREAKING CARES!!?!?!?!??!?!