Uncut Manhunt 2 surfaces on hacked PSPs

Code alterations undo some of Take-Two's changes to controversial Rockstar Game, publisher stresses ESRB knew of game's content in giving it an M for Mature.

Manhunt 2 has been a lightning rod of controversy since it was first banned in the UK and received an AO for Adults Only rating (which would prevent the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii game from being released on any of those platforms) in the US. Take-Two Interactive made some edits to the game and resubmitted it in both countries, nabbing an M for Mature on the second go-around in the US, but still being denied classification in the UK.

The game finally saw a North American release yesterday, and by the end of the day, hackers had already discovered and posted online a way to undo at least some of Take-Two's edits to the game. Given the change in ratings, this raised the question of whether Take-Two's resubmission of Manhunt 2 to the Entertainment Software Rating Board included all of the same violence and objectionable content that originally earned it the more restrictive AO rating.

Take-Two was quick to address the issue this morning, releasing the following statement:

Multiple edits were made to revise Manhunt 2 for its M-rated version.

Hackers apparently have altered one of those edits to produce an illegally modified version of the game that can only be played on an unauthorized, modified PlayStation Portable handheld system.

All of the game material, and especially these specific edits, was submitted to and reviewed by the ESRB in accordance with requirements regarding disclosure that were enacted two years ago and any contrary suggestion is inaccurate and irresponsible.

Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick said, "I stand behind the game and the ESRB ratings process. It is unfortunately the case that no one in the entertainment software industry is immune from hacking. We hope that consumers will not engage in hacking or download illegally modified copies of our games. We encourage them to enjoy our games as they are meant to be played. We would also like to emphasize that Manhunt 2 is intended for an audience aged 17 and above."

An ESRB representative told GameSpot only that the board is aware of the issue and is looking into it.

When submitting 2004's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to the ESRB, Take-Two Interactive neglected to mention the "Hot Coffee" sex minigame, since it couldn't be accessed through normal play. After a hacker discovered the game and released an unauthorized patch to make it accessible, the ESRB bumped San Andreas up from an M for Mature to an AO for Adults Only.

Take-Two Interactive endured a firestorm of criticism, an estimated $50 million hit to the bottom line, numerous lawsuits, and a Federal Trade Commission investigation. Another of the publisher's games, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, was rerated from a T for Teen to an M for Mature two months after its release in 2006, when the ESRB decided that developer Bethesda Softworks failed to properly report the amount of violence in the game, and didn't properly disclose a "nude" female torso texture in the game that could not be viewed without an unauthorized patch.

Shortly after the Oblivion rerating, the ESRB established a new rule that allowed it to fine companies withholding such content during the rating process up to $1 million for a first offense.

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Discussion

319 comments
ganja54321
ganja54321

HAHAHAHAHA U SUCKERS I GOT MANHUNT 2 UNCUT VERTION, ITS GREAT!!!!!!

shadowblade99
shadowblade99

So where's my "blood code" for the Wii version.

snakeboy40012
snakeboy40012

The government always goes crazy over a violent M rated game or a AO game. When The Movie business doesnt have to deal with this, how about the politians go worry about worse things like kids at the age of 10 being able to watch porn freely almost anywhere on the internet.

Eldridge00
Eldridge00

This Game is garbage! If you really want to experience Manhunt then play the first one. This one is just a half assed carbon copy.

alpha_company
alpha_company

woohoo... better get myself a copy of manhunt 2... :D

Jak55
Jak55

It`s foolish really, they don`t realize the way things are now... Hell, in my school, the kids talk more trash than us High schoolers, they play GTA, but they don`t know how to hack or even begin. Why be concerned over something they can`t do? And if they can`t hack, even less can they mess with a game`s code. The parents conserve rights as to what they play or what movies to see. And hey ESRB, the PSP has Parental Controls too (gasp) So really, it`s not their fault, the parents let em play it. And besides, GTA nor Manhunt 2 even come close to what the Saw movies do or even those zombie movies like Dawn of the Dead. (The goriest game on the psp right now is a lego game fools) Like the San Andreas mod might have been some developers killing time and they forgot to delete it, the manhunt game had the excessive blood and gore censored, ISO images allow you to see what files the game has, a hacker found reason enough to play something as was intended. Wow, it`s really amazing as the nudity you see in a game (hell just women showing skin) as to movies that show everything without censors, yet that doesn`t get banned. ESRB must be REALLY bored or jealous that when they where younger they played without anything or with moving lines on a TV I.E - Atari.

Tomdogg
Tomdogg

Seriously, when are we going to get real gronw-up games?

wwefanforlife
wwefanforlife

I dont think this game should be banned or censored the people who buy this game should play it in a responsible manner and not going repeating what you see in the video game.

peebert
peebert

I resent that, as an adult, I don't have an option to remove the censorship and decide for myself what I can handle. As such, the uncensored version of the game is infinitely LESS offensive. Thank you, hackers.

RoboWizard
RoboWizard

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances just in case everyone forgot. how about everyone mails the esrb that to remind them, i did but i doubt they'll see it. the more the merrier though." The ESRB is not a part of the United States government, it's an independent organization that works closely with retailers to help set standards in terms of what these businesses will and will not sell, and to whom. This has nothing to do with congress passing laws; it has everything to do with industries regulating themselves, which is why I think the federal/state governments need to back off and let the ESRB do its job, albeit it would be nice if they did it a little bit better from time to time.

sypher455
sypher455

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances just in case everyone forgot. how about everyone mails the esrb that to remind them, i did but i doubt they'll see it. the more the merrier though.

RockaWuzHur
RockaWuzHur

Im tired of these political sissies. Why can't the game be releaaed in its uncut form? Companies realese uncut DVDs all the time! And for the violence, I've played the cut version of the game and I must say , I have seen much, MUCH worse than this in games.

Jack-o-Thompson
Jack-o-Thompson

I think it is a publicity stunt to sell more copies, you buy the game and take the iso "backup" into your memory stick, apply the patch, and there you go...uncensored fun for all.

capt_pepper23
capt_pepper23

I hate people interfereing with video games, when they don't know **** about video games.

ahyumifan
ahyumifan

I don't think Manhunt 2 got AO rating because of the violence they censored. Of course that is part of it, but slight. If you actually look through the disc's file (especially on level section) you might realize the stage count is skipped in sum part (for example, after 'stage 4' folder, next folder is the 'stage 6') Although you can't say for sure, it is the possible that those missing stage, (the deleted folder stage) is the one they actually deleted in the disc to get the lower rating. It's just speculation, so it is not definite, but it is one of the possible angle to see why AO rating got M.

creepster32000
creepster32000

i agree but im not dumb an its not us americans complaining its a group of housewives bored in there life tryin to ruin games prolly for a number of dumb reasons they thought up in there head an hillary clinton stands behind those group of housewives

da_znake
da_znake

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

Vbartilucci
Vbartilucci

"We encourage them to enjoy our games as they are meant to be played." Of course, the game was MEANT to be played WITH all the gore in it, and that was changed by the rating. So this patch is actually allowing us to play the game as it was meant to be played. Personally I don't have a problem with a rating system, just as I don't have a problem with a rating system for movies. This is just another example of how ingenious programmers are. And if you think that the folks at rockstar didn't have something to do with the patch getting released so fast, I'll bet you still think Night Wolf was in Mortal Kombat 2.

vbdevpro
vbdevpro

This is sad, really. Pirates and these hackers don't care a wit about gaming. They just want to prove how "leet: they are. Manhunt 2 almost never got released because of this. The Dreamcast died a slow death because of them and the PC gaming hobby is in danger because of them. People like to blame the publishers for things like DMA and forced registration, but it's these greedy idiots that are hurting gaming. I say lock them all up and throw away the key.

Ghosts
Ghosts

OK, personally, I like what ESRB does as a teenager. Its good that they let you know whats it in. However, ESRB should do ONLY that. They should ONLY TELL you whats in it. ESRB has no right to say that a game can't have that. If the makers want a damn sex game in it,let them have it! And they can't change rating because of a hackers work. If someone wanted to they could make elmo in san adreas having sex. ESRB is taking its job the wrong way. It's the parents choice to let them play those games, but most don't care because they know that it wont matter and thats theres worse to worry about. And big deal about some nudity, hell lots of people over 13 have seen tons of nudity, is video games really going to make a differnce? Pretty soon,video games won't have anything if people keep to them selves and don't voice their opinion. If the goverment gets their way, you won't be able to play most of the games on this site. Oh and by the way, 80-90% of the games I play are rated M, Yet, I have no wanting to hurt anyone.

Autokiller
Autokiller

bla bla bla bla... i dont care wat ESRB says.. as long as the game is fun to play i dont care.

bennylo
bennylo

Doesn't adult play games? I need AO rating games

shadowHYREN
shadowHYREN

when was the last time any of us gave a damn about what the ESRB had to say?

ardent163
ardent163

An uncut manhunt2? What's new?

Hellfireknight
Hellfireknight

I really dont know what the big deal is, most parents today don't even care what their kids watch or play. I don't think rating even matter to people anymore, in movies or games, accept for a rare set of parents that do care. And I've been watching violent movies and playing violent games for years, and no one sees me going out and killing anyone or becoming a prostitute.

exiledsnake
exiledsnake

i hear people saying that games like Manhunt 2 shouldn't be banned because there are even worse movies out there. Well, as you would very well know, a game is immersive and it can affect the psyche, even by a little. Even if you're an adult doesn't mean you can't be affected.

guiltyspark1969
guiltyspark1969

If the dumbasses at Take Two have not figured it out by now..."it" meaning to completely remove that content from the code...then maybe they deserve to get slammed again by the ESRB. I'm really not one for censoring games to no end like some people would like to see happen, but let's face it...when an entity as powerful as the ESRB tells you to remove that content and it doesn't happen and someone finds a way to exploit the "precautionary measures" taken by the company, I would be inclined to think that company is thumbing it's nose at the ratings and trying to circumvent the system. I won't lose any sleep over it, but Take Two is dangerously close to finding themselves being sanctioned again!

TarkatanWarrior
TarkatanWarrior

This is ridiculous, we have kids at the theatre I work at constantly sneaking into Hostel, and Saw movies, ratings do next to nothing to prevent children from watching violence, and nudity. As great as the Wii is, it seems like they feel forced into releasing mature rated games, as almost every one they've released are remakes of other games - Resident evil 4, Scarface, etc. The odd original M-rated game on the wii surfaces, and it's bs like "escape from bug island". Yes the Wii is a system for everyone, but adults are classed under everyone. I'm more offended at the idea of great games being cencored, and banned than I am at the idea of a kid playing manhunt 2, because their parents weren't able to prevent them.

foolwestcoast33
foolwestcoast33

prioritymail- you don't have to submit a game to the esrb but almost 90 percent of stores won't sell the game if it hasn't been rated

lord-of-gamers
lord-of-gamers

lol - we want our games to be played as they were meant to be - so we decided to make it possible to unlock the gore :P - great thinking

Mariofan1314
Mariofan1314

Completely Agreed Sandro909. If they can do it in the movies then they can do it in the games.Books on the other hand do matter because you can't "See" the violence or nudity so it's very different with books.

Sandro909
Sandro909

It's ridiculous how touchy everyone is about violence/sex in videogames nowadays. It's not a problem at all in movies in books, but no0o0o0o0o, if there's a nipple or excessive gore in a game, it's basically insta-banned. It's just silly. People need to realize that gaming isn't just for kids.

catach
catach

i love rockstar games, and GTA it's the best game/genre of all time IMHO. But common guys, you can't just put a #define command on the code, or something like this to remove the "banned" code. The best way is to remove it, or at least comment it out. If hackers can get the code to run, it must be accessible inside the application code. It's impossible to "create" code, hackers are just making it active. Obviously Rockstar knows that, so they are taking unnecessary risks. Just remove this code man, it's easy. Long live GTA.

prioritymail
prioritymail

I thought that going to ESRB was only voluntary in the first place! they cant go around fining people! (BTW, I know that the console owners require games to be graded by ESRB, but ESRB has no authority to do what they are doing)

anyjabroni
anyjabroni

Really who do the people at the ESRB think they are? one million dollars for the first "offense" ? What there the video game cops now? Is this even legal? Did I ask too many questions?...doh!

jayme22
jayme22

its ok because Rockstar submitted everything that was in the game this time. Its only when they dont submit things like hidden sex minigame textures and files and keep it secret from the ratings board. Then they get in trouble

thetealcaptain
thetealcaptain

Hrrm fedex128 I guess this isn't really comparable to a movie having both a rated and unrated version on the dvd.... Except the fact that it is, and you don't even have to hack the dvd to get the unrated content.... I know some people will say that it is not the same. Currently it isn't, however, my point is that enough is enough and video games should finally be realized as a valid media form and be subject to the same rules and regulations as movies and such. In my opinion a video game is just like an interactive movie. Additionally what they in essence did was apply patches to the game to lock down the content. Which was re-submitted to the ESRB w/notification no less. With the knowledge of the "locked" content in the final release canidate they were satisfied and gave it an M rating. If they did it any other way they would have had to re write the entire game, which would take months.

hilltops
hilltops

hackers..at least they have done something constructive :D

skrat_01
skrat_01

Hacked PSP lol. I think of mine as a PSP with fully realised capabilities more than a 'hacked' one.

Mythlacar
Mythlacar

Erm, why is this news? Who cares? 90% of people are only worried about AO violence because a child might see it. (We all assume these children have never looked at a TV or movie screen, but thats another topic.) What eight year old just happens to have a modded PSP, Manhunt two and knows theres a mod that unlocks the violence. Oh wait, maybe they read gamespot...

Fedex128
Fedex128

I believe that ESRB should fine R*, i`m not against the company or manhunt, but i think it`s poor company policy and a lack of social responsibility (which i`m convinced all companies must have) to put games on the market that have code that has not been rated. I`m not saying that its their responsibility to watch who plays the games they develop (thats for the parents or the end consumer), but to make alterations that could be undone and massively distributed just to make an M rating, is a lack of brains and respect to the law and the institutions made to protect it.

tonitrus_acutus
tonitrus_acutus

This could go just like the Hot Coffee Mod. R* took out that stuff from San Andreas but someone managed to unlock it and ESRB gave it an AO. This time, R* had to cut it from the beginning just to land an M. If ESRB treats this the same way, it's going to be hell for R* But then again, bloody and gory violence isn't as bad as pornography around here. There's a chance they may not get too worked up about it.

kerrman
kerrman

Why are people mad about that? It takes someone with no life to sit there and hack the game, PLUS have an already altered PSP in order to get some of the uncensored features. Any person unknown to such things won't just "stumble upon" these AO features in the game, Completely ridiculous in my opinion.

kori911
kori911

Even uncencored, most rated R movies are worse.

vass86
vass86

"This might be hard for you're fragile ears to hear, but I find the need to hack a game just to view AO content desperate and pathetic. Hacking is nothing to be proud of or to get excited over" the only thing that's pathetic is that people in this day and age have to resort to illegal acts like this just to play a game the way it was intended.

JesusFreak1990
JesusFreak1990

Hacking is stupid. I can't belive how many people don't follow the law. I hope any hackers that do stuff ileagaly get arested.