ESRB tags Rockstar sequel with Adults Only initial rating; Take-Two now exploring its options.
Earlier today, the British Board of Film Classification gave Manhunt 2 a thumbs down, banning it from sale in the UK due to its "unremitting bleakness" and "casual sadism." Now it appears the Entertainment Software Rating Board is ready to hand down its own most restrictive rating to the latest controversial offering from Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games.
A Take-Two representative told GameSpot today that the ESRB has issued an initial rating of AO for Adults Only to Manhunt 2. While not an outright ban, the rating would severely limit a game's sales potential, as most major American retailers have chosen not to carry games rated AO.
As for the reason this is only an "initial" rating, when the ESRB rates a game, it notifies the publisher 30 days prior to publicly releasing its decision. This gives publishers unhappy with ratings the chance to either modify their games and resubmit them for a second assessment, or go before the ESRB's appeals board to challenge it directly.
"We believe the process of rating video games is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them," a Take-Two representative said. "Manhunt 2 was created for mature audiences and we strongly believe it should receive an M (Mature) rating, aligning it with similar content created in other forms of media. We are exploring our options with regard to the rating of Manhunt 2."
While Take-Two doesn't agree with the idea of an AO-rated Manhunt 2, one parent watchdog group believes it's only appropriate. Earlier today, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood demanded that the ESRB give Manhunt 2 an AO rating, saying that "harmful effects of ultra-violent video games on children will be magnified by playing them on the interactive Nintendo Wii system."
The group's announcement contained a statement from Dr. Michael Rich, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston, who explained, "The content of Manhunt 2 and the unique physical interaction with the Wii control combine to take [the game's simulation] a level closer to reality--we can expect that the effects of this experience will be even greater."
The group directed like-minded individuals to contact ESRB president Patricia Vance with their concerns, and Vance today issued her response.
"We have received the letter from CCFC and, while we might take issue with some of the statements made within, we sincerely appreciate their expressed concerns," Vance said. "Our ratings are intended to provide guidance that allows parents to choose games they deem suitable for their children, and that is a responsibility we take extremely seriously."
Manhunt 2 is currently slated for a July 10 release on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii. For more on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.
Ive been playing rated M games since ive been 7 nothings happened to me I dont go kill somebody buy guns or join gangs so why dont they give it a rest they have been blaming video games for all the crimes
Rating manhunt 2 AO is just plain stupid. I mean take a look at gears of war or condemed. I think the reason they gave it an AO rating is because of the idiot parents out there who think their 16 year old kid is gonna go kill somebody all because he played manhunt. The graphics are'nt even all that good. And the red blanket that goes over the screen makes it even harder to see. This is just stupid and ridiculous.
now I just want to play this game more than ever.i agree with every one who ranted violently about the idiotic parents.when I played the first manhunt, I was creeped out by the sheer number of violent things I could do but the game was still great and fun.
Ahh please, rating a game AO that has no more graphic violence than any other absurdly violent games just because you can use the Wiimote is plain hypocritical.Blood is blood, gore is gore, killing is killing.It's no more violent than an R rated movie.I mean, look at 300 for god sakes.Stop bein such goddamn hypocritical pansies ESRB, jesus, it's sickening.
I agree with the decision to make this game... and I do think that they should make more games AO. Some games are just TOO brutal and violent. Don't get me wrong I love fighting games... but this game (and the first one) are like homocide simulators.
have these ppl who rate these games looked at games like condenmed? im not knoking condemned i loved it but it was brutal the fight seens were brutal and you could really feal that crunch of the head that game was given a 15... and i thought that was a bit evil.. i ,llove it mind i just think they have it all wrong just cos its manhunt... i really dont get it when you got games like postal,, already released i am really happy qwith an ao rating but i just hope it gets released... it seems such a shame to pick on one game .. when there are some other really brutal games out there (they just missed it cos they dont actually play games) any ways its just qwrong if we play manhunt we wont go and kill someone in new and intersting ways if we wanted to do that we would just type on google how to kill ppl in intersting ways .. or watch freddy or somethng. totay wierd...
this doeesn't even look like an AO game, hell, I've seen worse. If this gets an AO rating, then most of my M games should get AO...I swear to god our country is becoming the crotch of the world, and everyone else is screwing it, and getting alot of pleasure out of it as well.
hey i think it'll make manhunt that much better but i dont see why they have to give more games the ao
.................sigh....................... I'm with gamer1288 on this one. The degree of hypocrisy the American/British People have is... unbelievable to me. I don't mean ALL... but a SIGNIFICANT portion. The same people that complain about the violence in "Manhunt"... have played "America's Army", "Counter-Strike" and/or "Medal of Honor" -just to name a few- with a grin on their faces, enjoying everytime some "bad guy" bites the dust at their virtual hands... And how the heck someone -be it an individual or an organization- in the US/UK can have THE NERVE to say what's appropriate and what isn't... when your president/prime minister in this same moment is ANNIHILATING ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS in the Middle East..!?? That's just wrong and hypocrite... but, I've already said that, don't I? o_O
While I would NEVER play this game (I'm too young) many people who are the correct age want to play it and this severely limits it because of anti-AO ratings. As for the Wii making it more violent it doesn't have very good graphics so its a trade off.
"Everyone is too pver protective....ive been playin violent video games since i was a little kid my first was probably gta III--when i was like 7 or 8 i got it..." Wow tell your parents they need to get some morals....
i think AO is a great idea. The ESRB is the new "Video Game Parent" since most parents don't really care what thier kids play now anyway. I think the AO will help the industry more than hurt it. the only thing that it should come down to is how well the parents can keep thier kids away from the game. Like keeping away Cigarettes and Booze, parents should be all over what thier kids are playing!! Except parents these days just use the video games as the babysitter.....
I think its a good idea they should break into more AO games. Maybe using the wii remote to chop people up shouldn't be given to 10 year old kids. I think that the ESRB should hand out the AO rating on more games so its not as bad as every body makes it. if a adult wanted to go out and buy a game with nudity, lots of gore and/or cussing they should have that option instead of the government limiting whats in the game which is whats happening with the AO rating
I've noticed lately that retailers around my home (Boston) are being wicked hardcore about checking IDs for M-rated games anyway, which as implied, they didnt used to do at all. Maybe if games geared toward children didn't suck so bad, they would stop looking toward adult games. In other news i was reading an article i believe in TIME about the VT shootings and it referenced Columbine, citing the shooters as Video Game fueled...i thought with bowling for columbine etc. we would get passed this. o well.
Everyone is too pver protective....ive been playin violent video games since i was a little kid my first was probably gta III--when i was like 7 or 8 i got it...and the funny part is i didnt even know it exsited but my parents got it for me for christmas because they thought the game looked cool and guess what...Iam not showin up to school with chainsaws grenades guna rifles knives or anything else these crazy people think is gunna brainwash their kids into killing just give it a rest people and let me play my fun and violent video games
Seriouslly people. Ignorance causes violence, NOT VIDEO GAMES. I have disembowled zombies. Cut countless locust in half. Stuck plasma gernades to anything that moves. Broke the neck of unaware gaurds. Gone on killing sprees because I felt like it....all in A VIDEO GAME. I have played countless violent games, and I haven't killed anyone! And to the parents: use some common sense and don't LET THEM PLAY IT!!! It's rated "M" for a reason. That "M" isn't just on there for looks you know.
Eh...never really played the first man hunt...i guess i dont really care, but it was stupid that they made it AO.
I lol'ed But anyway, Why should I care ? If I want to buy the game, I'll just buy it Stop making a big deal about it If you can't buy it to a Wal-Mart, go somewhere else, stop complaining:P You see, I don't care about that game, I'm not really into violent games Sure, I love MGS and all, but that's a walk in the park compared to most of what Take-Two does But still, think about it, if you want to buy the game, unless you're one of those 12 year old kill hungry kids, you'll just drive up to a store and buy the game :P
ATTENTION ALL PARENTS. I HAVE A SOLUTION THAT WILL HELP KEEP YOU KIDS FROM PLAYING THESE TYPES OF GAMES!! 1. Dont buy it for them. 2. Set up the parental control on their system so the system wont run it. WOW, now your kid wont be playing these type of games at your house!! Now turn on the TV and let them watch a Saw marathon or better yet, let them watch MTV which will show them how to have sex and disrespect eachothers mothers. Then let them go to sleep watching the news where they will hear about yet another double murder and rape. this is such a double standard. Movies and TV and even the news blast violence all day and night, but only videogames get any attention.
you remember when ESRB made e10, the bridge between e and t? they didn't f*cking need one there! they need a rating between m and ao. an AO rating is the video game equivalent to the kiss of death. the only reason those dumbass parents get any plus from this is that their kids wont play it. because NOBODY F*CKING SELLS AO GAMES! hey, parents! instead of b*tching about how bad video games are for your kids, maybe you could try not buying them in the first place, you f*cking dumb ass's. i don't come into your life and steal your tv and say its bad for your kids!
If you don't like the game don't play it, if you don't want your kids playing it don't buy them it, that's the point of rating to see what's suitable for whatever age you are but no people **** about kids playing it well its not the developers fault it would probably been rated 18 that with good reason why can't people just read what the box says instead of moaning about oh my son play this and I didn't like it. Well it says 18 on the box....
I dont mind that tons of parents hate games. I dont agree at all, but they can do whatever they want. I just hope it doesnt get in the way of me enjoying my games. The only thing that i dont understand is why dont they make this big of a deal about movies? They can be just as bad, but also show real people, not animated people. Im not saying that movies are to violent, but it doesnt make sense to nail video games as hard as you can but ignore almost every other form of violent media.
i hope everyone who wants this game to release, pays 60 USA bucks for it and then realizes its just as boring as the first Manhunter. It was a poor game the first time around (getting at best average reviews from major websites) and why doesnt anyone here mention that rather salient fact?
Hey! I've got an AWESOME IDEA! Everyone go out and buy Manhunt 2, now. Go online, or wherever you have to to get it. Let's make it some INSANE record breaking product. Like 100 million copies in one month. This will cause AO games to suddenly become profitable and then maybe developers will make more AO games trying to get in on the market, and at the SAME TIME! be screwing everyone who's hopes of denying people their freedom's of speech and expression, which are based on the assumption that ratings system do anything other than let you know whether or not you're going to luck into some nudity. Okay, okay. Bias aside. If we all buy the game and it makes a ton of money it'll be a real kick in the @$$ to everyone (i.e. Jack Thompson) who thinks that they can control us! Okay! Spread the word! Let's do it!
Yea the whole AO / M thing is insane. Here is the rhetorical irony of it all. In a M game it is designed for Mature Children (and adults)only, Which basically means its ok for Mature Children to kill a limited amount of(computer Character) Adults but absolutely no children. So here in lies the flaw. Your saying its ok to kill only a certain amount of (computer character) adults for it to be rated M. But its perfectly ok if 12-17 year old children get online and apply their very personality and behavior into their playable character as adults and kill as many children portraying adults as possible. World of Warcraft has like 8 million subscribers and is Rated "T". On average for every one child playing World of Warcraft is a potential 20 more simulated children-to-adult transitional murders a day that's a potential of 160 million children being murdered over and over again in simulated warfare.... But its ok Mario knocked off all of Bowsers kids and those games are rated E. Lets face it ESRB needs to be broken down and rebuilt from the ground up. Their rules are unfair and un-fit to the public market. AO represents Porn, MA represents Murder, T represents Big companies paying off ESRB to keep their rating down to convince moms to allow their kids to buy simulated Teenage murder games. E represents Everyone's ignorance. Lets face it because of these ratings you can not have one child in a single fantasy game unless the game is based around a child. Look at oblivion for example, there's not one child in the whole game unless you count that annoying little bastad that follows you around after beating the Arena Side quest (btw he is very useful getting into the Dark Brotherhood). Lets face it ESRB is completely illogical.
Very strange, very strange indeed... I think the game would probably deserve the "M" rateing for its over the top gore... But to give it the "AO" is a surpise to me... Well, I think they will find a way to make it "M" before relasement I would assume... Because if the game is rated "AO" then alot of publicity will be towards the game and most marketing carriers will not carry the game. So possibly people who are under 18... Better just prey they release a "M" version of the game also.
Ironically, the game is rated AO which means it has lots of gore scenes and killing associated with blood etc.....and u know what?if the game is full of those scenes and only people above 18 can buy it then I have one sentence: Deal With It People!
Manhunt 2 getting an AO rating = the best marketing gimmick ever. Next to nobody cared about manhunt 2 until it got its AO rating. Now everyone wants it and is talking about it. You know theyve got a rated M version waiting in the wings once the hellstorm blows over.
I think maybe we are finally seeing that there are a wide variety in consumers for games. Its obivous to us as games, but this pushes the point home to MS,NIN,Sony, and Best Buy, Target or whoever that, maybe they need an adults section. Target and wallmart pretty much alreadty have it set up in that they lock their games behind a glass wall. Get the other stores to do the same, and CARD for crying sake. Its not that hard. The avg gamers age has changed DRAMATICALLY since the Atari, as adults we want more adult themed or adult only games. As a adult gamer gowing up playing games since the original atari I feel the industry isnt quite offering what I want anymore, I find less and less games I want every year, esp with the MASS sequals we have. Tony hawk 2012 just isnt cutting it anymore, I want something new. Maybe this is a turning point in saying we need something a little different and edgy, and the industry needs to adapt to us. Manhunt pushes the line in any case overall, but if I can buy Hostel, Saw, and 10 other movies at a min fitting into the same genre, I dont see why I cant buy this. Adults many times buy consoles for kids, but many are playing them, and 90% of the time are the only ones that can afford them, so what does that say? If nothing else I hope this gets at least Sony and MS to take a look at their NO AO standard. I find it to be a HUGE dissapointment.
temporrari - You raise quite an interesting topic, but there is some difference between games and movies where those ratings are concerned. AO is a definite rating, telling people what the content is. Unrated, however, can really be anything from an old cartoon to a superviolentsexnuditylanguageeverythingelse film from another country. My point is, Unrated films don't necessarily mean they're at or above the R/NC-17 level, but an AO rating on a game is crystal clear to those who know what the ratings mean. Hopefully, things will work out in a way that infuriates the fewest number of people.
I think the idea of the adults only rating is ridiculous. M for Mature is restrictive enough. Is that one year age difference really significant enough to warrant an additional ratings category - especially one that all but bars the sale of the game? M rated games are not supposed to be in the hands of children anyway, so an AO rating doesn't really prevent a kid from getting ahold of a game anymore than an M rating would.
Well luckly in Norway they really don't care, I have actually never ever heard of anything in Norway getting banned, or getting like a really strict thingie.
It's interesting that stores have a problem with AO games and no problem at all with Unrated versions of movies.
@ bryan5859 basicly they can say it's not but i've never seen a AO game sold within a 100 mile radius of here in my life now lets see here i'd really would love to know whats the big freaking deal is what is the diffence between manhunt2 and freaking CNN i've seen more violence in the news then i've ever seen in a game i'll tell you the diffence it's really simple the new is real games like manhunt aren't no one gets hurt for real if people would get their thick heads around the diffence between fake violence and real violence the world would be a far better place
Parents are idiots who don't pay attention to what they bought their kids play and then when they do they try to make a big issue about it. They never stop to think maybe its my fault for buying the game for my kid and maybe i shouldn't blame the video game industry whose just tryin to make an honest living like i do everyday. But it would just be ridiculous to think that parents today would think like that
connell66, I have been playing M-rated games since I have been 6 years old, and nothing has happened to me, I'm not some crazy person that goes around killing people, I am normal. And I'm sure it's the same to many kids who play M-rated games. I am yet to see a fault of young kids playing M-rated games.
The problem is that parents let their fourteen-year-olds play games like GTA and Manhunt. I swear to God, if I see a teenager play this kind of game, I'd scold the crap out of their mother and father!
The only reason its gonna be rated AO is because its being realesed on the Wii, that was stupid cus a higher ESRB rating would kinda be obvious due to the remote and that the Wii is mainly advertised children. If it was only released on the PS2 it prob woulda only got an M
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