The would-be publisher of violent stealth-action game Manhunt 2 has vowed to release the controversial title following its outright banning in the UK and its de facto banning in the US. Take-Two Interactive executives said the company stood by the title, which it called "art," and promised it would eventually see a release.
Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick stressed that he believed the company took its social responsibility very seriously. "We also have hundreds of extraordinarily talented people who have worked on this title for three years, and supporting their creative vision and bringing it to consumers as unvarnished and unchanged as possible is crucial to us," he said during the call.
The chairman added that Take-Two subsidiary Rockstar Games, which publishes Manhunt and the Grand Theft Auto series, sees itself as a producer of games rated M for Mature. However, Zelnick did say Take-Two would stand by its game, even if it bore the dreaded AO for Adults Only rating. "We don't see ourselves in the Adults Only business," he told analysts listening to the call. "Having said that, if we find ourselves in the Adults Only business, it would be because we have a title that we consider art and entertainment, that we consider if appropriately labelled AO, and that we would like to bring to market."
Zelnick also was critical of the American rating system, where the game received an Adults Only rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, a certificate intended to ensure that products don't make it into the hands of those under 18. However, the majority of major retailers refuse to stock adult only rated products, and Sony and Nintendo also refuse to allow AO rated games on to their consoles.
The chairman pondered, "What is the purpose of a rating if it means effectively that a title cannot be released?...Having a rating that we don't think is appropriate is one issue, obviously, and a separate issue would be if we feel the rating is appropriate and we can't bring it to market that seems somewhat nonsensical."