Rockstar wins Manhunt 2 appeal

The decision by the British Board of Film Classification to ban the controversial action adventure game is overturned.

Just over two weeks ago, a day-long appeal against the British Board of Film Classification's (BBFC) decision to refuse a classification to the game Manhunt 2 was held in central London. Seven members of the independent panel assigned by the BBFC listened to the evidence presented from both sides before retiring to deliberate a verdict.

The argument from Jeffrey Robinson, the legal representative for Rockstar was that Manhunt 2 did not deserve to be singled out, and that it was no more or less violent than similar games currently released in the country, including The Suffering: The Ties That Bind and the original Manhunt. The BBFC's representative, Andrew Caldecott, however, argued that a line must be drawn somewhere and it had chosen to draw it under this game.

Today the Video Appeals Committee panel announced that its decision was four-three in favour of Rockstar, and that the game should be given a classification and released in the UK.

The appeal dealt with the edited version of the game, which is already on sale in North America, not the original version which was given an AO in the US and also refused a classification in the UK.

David Cooke, director of the BBFC, commented in a statement, "The BBFC will carefully study the judgement by the Video Appeals Committee when it becomes available. The BBFC twice rejected Manhunt 2 for its focus on varied and cumulative killings. We recognize that rejection is a very serious step, in which the desire of publishers to market their games, and that of gamers to buy them, must be balanced against the public interest, including the full range of possible harm risks to vulnerable individuals and to any children who may be wrongly exposed to such games. Such balancing judgements are inevitably complex and multifaceted and are made only after very careful consideration of the contents of a work."

Although the verdict has been relayed to the BBFC, the written judgement has not been received yet, which means that the game will not be immediately released with an 18 certificate. A spokesperson for the BBFC explained to GameSpot, "We need to review the written judgement to see if there are any grounds for judicial appeal to the High Court. If we don't see any grounds, we will grant it a certificate."

Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick commented, "We are committed to making great interactive entertainment while also marketing our products responsibly and supporting an effective rating system. We are pleased that the decision of the VAC has recognized that Manhunt 2 is well within the bounds established by other 18-plus rated entertainment."

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Discussion

211 comments
vedomedo
vedomedo

well to all people wonderin, the game has been out for a while.... i liked the 1st one better though all bcuz of the blur... damn censorship

ClassicPlayer
ClassicPlayer

Nice oe Rockstar! Finally the BBFC finally have sense, only one thing, when IS Manhunt 2 coming out? and also will it be on the PSP still?

Wolveric
Wolveric

they just say "our kids are playing this violents gamez, my kid play this game in the wii and make ugly moves with the wiimote" dammm, the game its !!!!RATED "M"!!!!!!, your kids are not !!!!!ALOWED!!!!! to play this games, you group of arrogant brainless people, you buy thos violent games to your kids ilegaly and !!!!!you blame the companys!!!!!, this is a very good game and the blur that they make the company put in the ejecutions ruin the entirelly game....

sonyzoo
sonyzoo

this game is sick i love it

victor_gxultra
victor_gxultra

the only question now is when isthe releaes date fo manhunt 2 ?

victor_gxultra
victor_gxultra

i never doughted them for a second. i knew rockstar would win and now i can finaly play the game and find out what the fuss is all about.

gamecubepad
gamecubepad

The Simpsons Halloween and Itchy and Scratchy are way more violent than this game and they get rated for teens. Like this game is any more violent than some Discovery Channel "wild animals eating each other" show. But in this game they use tools and weapons! As if killing someone with a saw is more brutal than hacking them with a sword or shooting them in the stomach and letting them spill out for 4hrs.

g0b0s0x
g0b0s0x

The game itself really isn't worth all the fuss. Hype + Press >>>> Game Quality.

hellhound1345
hellhound1345

In all honesty, when you think about it the Manhunt series is a really f**ked up disturbing game. They are the most violent games ever created so i can definately see why they are trying to ban it. But then again, its not nessicarily esrb's fault, its the console companies as well, not allowing AO games to be made for there machine. This is why parents continue to think games are only for kids, because sony and nintendo are still trying to keep there family friendly status, especially nintendo. I think it is just stupid that they have gone through so much crap to try and ban this game. For christs sake its a game, people can generally tell the difference between a game and reality. I dont think that the rest of us should suffer because a game is not acceptable for children, it makes no sense. Thats just like not producing an R18 movie because its not suitable for kids.

Weemanrulez
Weemanrulez

sonic_nhl little tip try playing the first one i'm sure that the meat cleaver would bring your dinner up !

sonic_nhl
sonic_nhl

Well Phoenix they arent, because now there taking it to High Court. And quite frankly.. Manhunt 2 made my stomach turn... and ive never had a game do that to me before ever... And people thought Mortal Kombat was bad in 1992.. ROFL

Percypoo
Percypoo

Did you no that Saw III made several people faint in the cinema and have to be sent to hospital? Well that film wasn't banned and they even released two more cuts of the film on dvd that were even more violent, so I don't understand whats going on here.

Phoenix2Raven
Phoenix2Raven

geez, will they give it up already. the game is no more violent than anything else u see in entertanment. this is the reason why parents really need to get their head outta their ass. no one monitors the children so the government's gonna do while stepping on us to get it done. i've actually took the time to play this game with and without the blackouts, n it really isn't all that bad. i mean the graphics are ps2 graphics, its not that terrifying, the whole thing could have been much worse.

crossdx
crossdx

Good, I guess. A small, diminutive step in the right direction. Now hopefully the unedited version gets an official release in the future as the "director's cut" version. I can dream, can't I?

Fusion_Master
Fusion_Master

unedit it, put an R18+ rating on it. get game stores and companies like sony and nintendo to carry the games. the rating is enough. you need to prove you are 18 to purchase it. if you are 18 you should have the right to play whatever you wish. here in australia you are legally an adult at 18 so who are they to say you cant play it if you are a legal adult? you make your own decisions and you slab a rating on it so only adults can get the game. if an adult lets their child play it, it's their problem, not the game company. the system works. f'ing run with it.

DarkStreetDev
DarkStreetDev

I'm going to agree with "alexbhp" - games are not for kids only. It's the parent's responsibility to monitor which games they play, the same as it's their responsibility to monitor which movies they watch.

KBABZ
KBABZ

"...including the full range of possible harm risks to vulnerable individuals and to any children who may be wrongly exposed to such games." Oh so children need to be separate from "Vulnerable individuals". I thought kids WERE that!

DIMANICUS
DIMANICUS

In contrast to the argument below, the ESRB IS ACTUALLY HARSHER THAN THE BBFC. The BBFC have banned 2 games in total (0 if you count re-releases), so why the Americans say our government is taking our gaming priveledges is beyond me. Hey, at least we don't have an angry Austrian jumping down our throats about violent games, despite being the face of violence. Americans need to learn more about the UK and stop being so damn ignorant.

Blood_Diamond
Blood_Diamond

I saw in the metro (I know not reliable) that there is a real potability that the game will be out before Christmas so they said

alexbhp
alexbhp

Video games are not only for kids, I think they should be able to release AO games. The Gaming industry has to make the leap that Video games are not toys, they are entertainment, like a movie, if a movie gets a R rating, we should have a R rating for video games. In my opnion AO Rating should equal R rating for movies.

RockaWuzHur
RockaWuzHur

They allowed "Ties That Bind" to be released but they got their panties in a bunch about this game? That's stupid!!!!

petermcgloin
petermcgloin

Any idea when the Game will actually be released now?

KingKoop
KingKoop

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

KingKoop
KingKoop

After all the hype surrounding Manhunt 2 I'm intrigued to see what it's like now, if anything at least it's another title to the collection :)

nappan
nappan

Hooray... a mediocre game with outdated gameplay and graphics can finally be published in a watered-down form. I'm so ecstatic.

BloodMist
BloodMist

Good, i'm very glad about this.The decision to ban the game, even with the god awful censoring put in, was one of the dumbest thing i've ever seen.Censorship in general is, but flat out banning a game for no good reason?That's simply lunacy.

cheamo
cheamo

At least Brittan has the balls to go out and ban games instead of America where it's like, "Oh we'll just give it an AO rating, but not allow and adult only game to be sold in stores." Although, I definitely still think they're right to go back on their decision, since really, Manhunt 2 is not a very violent game at all, and for all the horrible censoring they had to do to get it released, the least countries could do is allow for it to be sold in stores.

gamepunk86
gamepunk86

damn british government. actually damn all those stupid governments trying to ban media. too bad we coudlnt see manhunt the way rockstar made. the world will never know because of the stupid rating boards and constant censorships. jesus, i mean let the parents take care of the kids if they're so goddamn worried

gulamh
gulamh

Yay! now I can get Manhunt 2............nah.

helix0207
helix0207

Im glad the ban has been lifted, im still not sure why they feel the need to ban a game when they can just give it an 18+ rating and let people decide for themselves, Surely an adult knows the difference between real life and a game, and if they wanted to find more of the kind of stuff in the game they have other places to look. Im sure it wont be long though before a parent buys this for their kid then blames the game when something goes wrong. The rating system only works when people take notice of it and parents just dont seem to care.

GavSalkeld
GavSalkeld

"Finally its coming out here i am sick of BBFC banning games" The last time they banned a game was 1996. So thats two games in 11 years. Hardly something to be 'sick' about. Having played it through myself, its no worse than the first Manhunt thanks to the censoring applied to get an M rating.

StevenJWeir
StevenJWeir

Finally we can decide if we want the game or not. Still don't want it like, but I'm glad I have the choice.

JangoWuzHere
JangoWuzHere

finally geez how long this been going on maby 3 moths?

damswedon
damswedon

finally this story needs to die.

Stabby
Stabby

You wait, its probably going to be released in a while... so long it will be the last PS2 game ever in the UK at this rate lol! But still great news and a loved the first game. I don't think young children should play games (all games period0 but why should the 18+ old gamers suffer? This is also a great thing whether you care for the game or not... or even games in general since its a blow to the PC brigade who are slowly eroding liberties.

jamyskis
jamyskis

About time. The BBFC were using this game as a scapegoat. I have and played through the first Manhunt, and I didn't find it particularly shocking or particularly good as a game. Rockstar were right, unfortunately - the BBFC using phrases such as "unremitting bleakness" and "callousness" smacked of a sensationalist moral panic. There was no or little objectiveness in the decision. The problem is that a few individuals were using the media scare from the first Manhunt in the UK - see below if you don't know what I mean - to make a point about violence in games. For those that don't know, a 14-year-old boy by the name of Stefan Pakeerah was murdered by a 17-year-old in the city of Leicester. While we can all doubtless have sympathy for Mrs. Pakeerah's loss, she was a fervent anti-gaming campaigner and used the death of her son as a campaigning tool. I, personally, found this descipable, especially as a number of psychologists testified in court that the game had nothing to do with it. Still, while Mrs. Pakeerah failed to convince the BBFC to withdraw the 18 rating (no evidence that the game was responsible), she succeeded in pressuring game retailers to stop stocking the game. The tabloid backlash got the BBFC scared, and they've been reacting on every media scare going since. Not only that, but there are a number within the BBFC pushing their own agenda against so-called "killer games". Let me get one thing straight again - I do have sympathy for Mrs. Pakeerah's loss, but I don't condone the use of her son's death for her moral crusade. At the same time, I do think that age checks should become mandatory, as too many of these games are getting into the hands of kids. The brother-in-law of my girlfriend is buying 18-rated games here in Germany for his 6-year-old son, and I had a kick-up about that too. Of course, mandatory age checks don't make for good headlines, do they? Only sensationalism.

Romperstomper74
Romperstomper74

You may have very well worked in a game store and seen many parents come in and buy this sort of game for their children, but dont you think its about time that these parents got a kick up the backside for doing so, as someone else has already said "I pay these guys taxes so they can decide what I can and can not play" As an adult over the age of 18 and 21 I should have the right to view any content I deem appropriate, and another thing this game deals with horror and murder so my previous comment stands what are they going to stop us from playing or watching next ?

wwefanforlife
wwefanforlife

Finally its coming out here i am sick of BBFC banning games its annoying its a good job Rockstar Games kept on pushing them. As always it should only be responsible gamers and parents should never buy it for kids unless they can trust them not to attempt anything from the game. But i cant wait to buy this game. Rockstar do offer the best games.

Soul_Of_Snake
Soul_Of_Snake

UDarkling - They say why, they just wanted to draw a line somewhere, and decided to do it with this game. It still may not be released, pending the appeal by the High Court, if its succesful, they may not still get a certificate for it.

GillsMan
GillsMan

I work in regulation myself, so I do understand the processes of such decisions, and I don't totally disagree with the reasoning behind the BBFC's decision. That said, I'm glad that the decision has been overturned - I agree with other posts: you can't legislate for nutters, and for every person that copies the actions of this video game, there's a million others who did nothing.

papowwww
papowwww

and the new manhunt easy that bad it goes into a flashing red screen when you assissinate some one

UDarkling
UDarkling

FINALLY!!! I guess Manhunt 2 will be out in UK sometime soon, but the BBFC never banned any GTA games, Mortal Kombat games, Manhunt, The Suffering and The Suffering Ties That Bond so why should Manhunt 2 be banned.

upstartrex
upstartrex

Observing violence does not damage a child inherently. Bear in mind an observation impressing itself upon the witness or eliciting a change in him is not harm though the resulting changes could be harmful. What is hurtful by nature is to threaten a man with violence so his wealth may be taken from him. These men do not know themselves who hate sellers of violent videogames while their wealth is derived from extortion and the "good/proper" alternatives they suggest to children knowing violence through the purchase of videogames include new bureaucrat-committees which necessitate more wealth's theft from subjects and orders to their muscle (policemen) to capture whoever disobeys the BBFC.

xero_33
xero_33

Mec´o`nate (Chem.) A salt of meconic acid. what the hell.. i thought it was the scientific term for gay wat a loser...

Gamer_152
Gamer_152

Excellent, this is equality in rating and exactly what Rockstar desrved to get orignally.

dbowman
dbowman

This is a great day for gaming.

ClassicPlayer
ClassicPlayer

I'm just glad that Rockstar can finally release Manhunt 2 over here, like they said, there ARE more violent games then this. They forgot to say Mortal Kombat as well.