Take-Two shelves Manhunt 2

Plans to release game "temporarily suspended" while publisher continues exploring options.


In the wake of international bans and an Adults Only rating in the US, Manhunt 2 won't make its July 10 release date, Take-Two Interactive has confirmed. The game had been expected to ship that day for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo Wii.

"Take-Two Interactive Software has temporarily suspended plans to distribute Manhunt 2 for the Wii or PlayStation platforms while it reviews its options with regard to the recent decisions made by the British Board of Film Classification and Entertainment Software Rating Board," a representative told GameSpot. "We continue to stand behind this extraordinary game. We believe in freedom of creative expression, as well as responsible marketing, both of which are essential to our business of making great entertainment."

While the ESRB's initial rating of an AO for Adults Only doesn't explicitly prohibit the game from being sold, most major US retailers refuse to carry AO games, and console manufacturers prohibit their third-party publishers from releasing AO titles on their systems.

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Avatar image for Dr_Swordopolis

Badboy10605: "44% of all gamers are aged 18-49. Kids under 18 are like around 30%." So roughly 25% of gamers are baby boomers or older? To pharomarc: "There was a time when women were not allowed to vote or blacks not allowed eating at the same place as whites because it was socially unacceptable, until controversies showed that we must change the mob rule and only follow the rule of law." I actually like this argument. It causes one to think. In my own opinion, this game does not better society. I feel we are indeed lucky to have such rights as the freedom of expression, but as the Declaration of Independence states (paraphrase), 'we must use our inalienable rights for the betterment of society'. As with the Hobbes' and Locke's "Social Contract", we set up authorities to govern us and in doing so relinquish some of our rights, in the good faith that they will serve society. If we feel they are doing a poor job of it, it is our right to overthrow them. The basis of this history lesson is that does the production of this game benefit society? Some may say "yes", because it continues to encourage free speech, and the right to make what you want and buy what you want and play what you want. Others will say "no", because it portrays violent killing and could possibly fall into the wrong hands. I understand both of these arguments, but lean more towards the "no" side. It is the responsibility of parents to make sure their kids are protected, but it is also the responsibility of society to protect those who can't protect themselves, and frankly, some parents are just incapable of parenting. Maybe they shouldn't even be parents; that's not my call to make. Thankfully we live in a country where the government hasn't had to step in, which actually would be censorship. This is simply 2 corporations refusing to sell a certain type of game based on policies that were already in place and Take-Two should have been aware of.

Avatar image for EtriusQuill

Yeah - and the console creators have the right to decide what can be on their consoles.

Avatar image for oldsoulco

i dont think it should be released period.

Avatar image for David_I

Well if the game comes out sometime, the publicity they are getting is huge. I was not considering to buy it, but after this I could change my mind. I have been an adult for some time so I have the right to decide what I want to buy.

Avatar image for Ra-Devil

There's goods and bads to parenting. The good is they don't want their kids to play these games. The bad is they won't take responsibility for their little Richard having played it when they bought it for him, or that they didn't take the 5 MINUTES to type the name of the game into the web search bar, and look up what the game is about and what it's rated. 5 MINUTES! Dammit people. Then they attack the developers because they don't think games that graphic should be made, never once expecting any backtalk, as if that was their right they earned when they became a parent!! You have to teach kids that this stuff isn't real, that it's fake. You have to teach kids that they aren't suppose to play these kinds of games. You also have to take the g** damn time to find out which games are the ones you don't want them to play. I don't agree with the concept of this game, but I also don't agree with the idea of having it silenced for being different. Hostel's a movie that people actually wanted to watch! That's f'ed up on their part. Manhunt 2 is a game people want to play as well, and even though I don't like, that doesn't mean I'm going to do what I can to ban it, Because Other People Want To Play It! For whatever reason! The thing is, with the growing population into the gaming world, it will only be a matter of time before people start looking at the great big " M " pn the front cover of a box in the way in which it was intended. These aren't the days of the Atari. These aren't the days of the NES. These are the days in which the gaming industry is being approached seriously and maturely. Pretty soon (I hope), people will look at an "R" for a movie, and an "M" on a game box and say, "yep, that's the same damn thing." As of now, that letter is invisible, and they are stupid. These are the times that make me wish I were a parent already... I suppose i should get to work on that. Hell, if the whole "E to M" rating aren't getting into people's heads, why not just USE the movie rating system of "G to R". That might get people's attention. People were brought up with this ideal, it might actually work that way, so that the gaming industry would be left the f*** alone when something "mature" comes out.

Avatar image for deactivated-57cdbd2a2875f

I believe that the ESRB felt like they missed the boat by the not giving "Manhunt" an 'A' rating the first time around. Now that they know the game plays just like a virtual snuff film, they got their senses back and did what they should've done before. I believe this practice will also continue on "GTA IV". Side note: It's only a one year age difference in the rating. Why ban it?

Avatar image for Epedemic_Optikz

@mrbojangles Actually Mature is "17+" and AO is "18+". The age difference really isn't a big difference but i'm sure alot of people dont realize that and just look at what the rating is called, heh.

Avatar image for SaintSadistic

Actually, comments get deleted because people downvote the stupid comments. (yes I know the irony that this will most likely get downvoted).

Avatar image for teknicz

Smells like free publicity to me.

Avatar image for rancidbastard

Fascists have infiltrated the video game industry. Thank you Vilgeduin! Smoochies!

Avatar image for RoC1909

@coolcon2000 You nailed it right on the head! I see someone placed a 'negative' on your comment. Must be: A bleeding heart. A underage kid. A very litigious adult. Someone who doesn't take responsibility for their own actions but instead decides to blame EVERYONE or EVERYTHING if something doesn't go their way. Got to love this society. Let's blame the games for making kids do the things that they do. Teens know the difference between 'right and wrong' and if they decide to 'emulate' in REAL LIFE a situation they played within a game, they ought to get the same punishment as adults. @rancidbastard Your comment was deleted due to the the majority of 'children' that inhabit this site. If they don't like what you say EVEN IF it didn't violate GS TOS, they will report you and due to too many complaints, GS will remove it. Got to keep the 'bellyachers' happy around here. This will probably be deleted as well so you may or may not see it.

Avatar image for gotohell83

To all those of you that use the 'violence lies in our nature argument'. Sex lies in our nature more so than violence and is the reason why any of us can post their opinions. Yet I don't see much porn in games or on TV. And I think that at least most of you will agree that such materials should be rated AO and not be viewed by minors So what's with the double standards. Tell me what's more sickening the fact that someone is getting a rise out of watching a porn movie or the fact that someone's getting a rise out of killing people in the most gruesome way possible, because that's what this game encourages..

Avatar image for 0011992288

Who here has played Manhunt 2? Who here has seen the game and knows what violence is contained? Nobody. So first off, let's not hate on the ESRB. Secondly, the thought that only porn games should get an AO rating is not using the rating system appropriately. As one person posted on another forum, "The use of an AO rating only for pornographic games is not using it by it's definition, although it is certainly it's most common usage." (Paraphrasing) So if the ESRB, who I have confidence in, says that it is an AO game so it should be. DO NOT BLAME THE ESRB BECAUSE THAT ESSENTIALLY BANS IT. The ESRB does not make laws that ban games in other countries. Plus it has been shown with GoW and Dead Rising that an M-rated game can be banned in the UK and other countries. Thirdly, one important distinction that must be made is that between passive violence (violence that one witnesses as in a movie) and active violence (as in interacting/ causing the violence as in a video game.) What makes an extremely violent game worse that say, Hostel, is that you are an active participant instead of a passive viewer. I'm just trying to shed some light on the subject.

Avatar image for mrbojangles25

Im confused. Isnt "AO" 18+, and isnt "M" 18+? The rating wouldnt exactly limit their market, would it? Whats the difference? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Avatar image for thescorpion1983

WTF! No AO games on the shelves?..man there is "The guy game" or something with naked **** on a ps2 game. And i never heard parents complaining about this. But a GAME..repeat..GAME...cant make it...freedom of expression is losing once again...

Avatar image for coolcon2000

I bet Manhunt is a good game, its just the parents who let thier underage kids by these games. Its not the games which cause the problem, but the parents.

Avatar image for BadBoy10605

To Lanezy: You said: "Look, all I'm saying is that violence like this should not be encouraged, especially on a medium that is directed towards the younger generation." 44% of all gamers are aged 18-49. Kids under 18 are like around 30%.

Avatar image for prioritymail

The drama continues.... Im kinda tired of these manhunt stories

Avatar image for deactivated-57fce817a4cf5

@thornh That was an excellent post. I too have mentioned to parents about the content of GTA but unfortunately it always fell on deaf ears. The majority of parents really dont seem to take any interest in what their children are doing. I'm not just talking about games. I'm talking about EVERYTHING that their children are doing. This is whole thing stems from social issue's. I think that Manhunt 2 is just being used as an excuse.

Avatar image for anarchicgoth

oh come on! This is there creative expression to the WORLD! You cant just say its AO and without technically banning it- ban it! There are movies with worse stuff that just get R for a movie to get the same as an AO game it needs to be a PORNO. This is unacceptable and If i was rockstar I would be offended.

Avatar image for mskittykat

Although it will eventually be released, it may be for the better that they hold off. Although I'm all for the freedom of speech and creativity in games, but I promise you as soon as this game comes out it'll just be fuel for an already volitile fire. I myself am NOT one for violent games, but I can't see banning a game when a particualr audience...who knows what they're getting into....wants to purchase it. Politicians and Naysayers have been licking there chops trying to get locks placed on games like these. If this game is released as is now....you'll just be creating a death sentences to any other games that follow.

Avatar image for VilgeDuin

rancidbastard it was likely due to you getting "thumbs down" ratings on your comment. Asinine as that is. I've made a forum post about it asking for answers... << LINK REMOVED >> topic_id=25719777 As it is absurd.

Avatar image for Voodoo2k3

If it's AO then there are clearly elements that go far and beyond what we really need to see, Manhunt 1 was M, so what is it that makes Manhunt 2 AO? There must be some explicit sexuality and violence that we probably don't need to see. I think if Rockstar clips down these extreme parts it will be good to ship. Whatever it is that makes it AO, I don't really need to see anyways, so I'm fine with a cut down M version.

Avatar image for rancidbastard

Did the esrb determine that my comment contained AO-rated content? Why did it disappear?

Avatar image for MonkeyMan1644

That sucks.

Avatar image for rancidbastard

Why was my comment delelted?

Avatar image for Toasteddude

Whatever Take-Two does, it will be released eventually. They spent too much time and money just to have it banned.

Avatar image for xcollector

GTA IV should have an AO rating just to see Sony squirm. But they probably don't care anyways because if they did GTA IV would have been exclusive to the PS3 for a year.

Avatar image for fr33_loader

pharomarc If we let everything socially unacceptable be banned, the American society as we know it would not exist. There was a time when women were not allowed to vote or blacks not allowed eating at the same place as whites because it was socially unacceptable, until controversies showed that we must change the mob rule and only follow the rule of law. Of course a game would not rise to that level of social struggle but the concept of banning “socially unacceptable” things should not be tolerated unless there is conclusive evidence that the harm it causes supersede its benefits (freedom of expression). ------------------------ Your point is well taken. Although, gratuitous torturing / violence will always be unacceptable in my book and it has no benefits or merit no matter how people spin it. I shudder to think if time comes when it is considered an acceptable behavior to which this game seems to promote.

Avatar image for RASTAPUNK777

thank you very much pharomarc,you are absolutely correct.consider my comment everything he said except that i do enjoy manhunt and plan to play manhunt 2.and yeah if GTA IV comes out with an Ao rating will sony ban it and lose profit and let other companies gain ore popularity?

Avatar image for thornh

to dryden555 And there it is, plain and simple. You don't want to play the game, therefore you will not. Free choice. Be thankful you have the right to choose. For those on the other side the choice is being made for them. That's where the problem lies. People have tried to stop Rockstar before and, for the most part, have failed. To this day, GTA remains one of the highest rated (9.6?) games on this website. Obviously the public outcry has not been loud enough to keep Rockstar from pushing that envelope. Quite the opposite. Their games have been some of the most popular of the previous generation. It will continue this way as long as their is a market. I, again as a parent, place 100% of the responsibilty on the parents or legal guardians of every child out there. I remember being in an EB store a few days after GTA 2 came out. A young boy about age 11 came into the store with his mother. She asked him if he knew which game he wanted and he proceeded to go over and pick up the box for GTA 2. He headed back to the counter, placed the box on it and his mother started to reach into her purse to make the purchase. The clerk had been busy stocking shelves and I was standing there watching ths take place. I couldn't let this happen so I said "Excuse me, but do you realize what type of game that is?" She responded that she wasn't sure and I asked her to please read the back of the box, observe the ESRB rating and filled her in on some of the gameplay objectives. The boy stared at me in utter disbelief that I had the nerve to say something and ruin his day. After being informed the mother resolutely told her son NO, thanked me and left the store. Unfortunately, I'm sure many 11 and 12 year old boys left stores that day with GTA 2 in hand.... Parents MUST take responsibility for what their children are doing. They should be the ONLY ones allowed to censor material. I can play games like Manhunt 2 today, as an adult, because I learned what is right and wrong as a child. I learned what is real and FICTION. I can separate the two because my parents gave a $%^#. I plan on instilling this sense of responsibility in my children so they can make informed decisions in their lives. I hope we all do that.

Avatar image for rancidbastard

I don't understand why my comment below is blanked out. I didn't use any obscenities.

Avatar image for Dr_Swordopolis

Just a thought. If the objective of the game is kill or be killed, which many games actually are, then why even have the overly gratuitous violence? Why even give people the option to inflict torture on their enemies? You can choose to kill, or simply knock unconcious, enemies in games like MGS or Splinter Cell. But this added element is what sets this game so far apart from your average game featuring killing.

Avatar image for comthitnuong

Come to think of it...Where is Jack Thompson in all of this fray? I would expect that he would be laughing his head off and saying how he was right. Anyways, I think the game will eventually have to be edited. That seems to be the only way around it.

Avatar image for mark_c_128

to fr33_loader - you dont get 'points' for killing in manhunt you kill to survive in a kill or be killed game world

Avatar image for fr33_loader

To people trying to compare movies from games. Movies= Watch passively as the story unfolds. Im not in control with what will happen. Most of the time clearly differentiates the good guys from the bad thus it actually tells people somethings are just morally wrong. The main thing that concerns me is if I still have enough soda and popcorn to last the movie. Games= I hold the controllers as I repeatedly hack the guys gut out. Apparently the game developers encourages me to hack some more to increase the points I earn. Violence is glorified and making it acceptable and making it an acceptable social norm.

Avatar image for Chirico_Cuvie

Anyone remember Thrill Kill? It was a wontonly gratuitous violent fighter that, ironically took place in an asylum, where various psychopaths tortured and mutilated each other. The game got so far as to receive an ESRB rating of AO right before it was to ship. EA bought up the developer, then stated that the game had no place in the company's lineup and it was officially trashing the game. Some time later a beta of the game had leaked out, probably by a disgruntled development team member, (most of whom got the axe by EA) and the game made it's way to people willing to jump through the technological hoops to play it. The general consensus was EA was right, the game was horrible, and the violence was the only thing the game had going for it. I'm thinking the same thing is going here to some extent. What I've seen of the game goes beyond what the first one did. The first one had weapons that you used to dispatch enemies that were used to do just that, stop them from killing you or others. This game has pliers and other such things that not only do you beat or shiv people to death, you actually pull out a vertebrae with them instead of just pummeling him with the pliers. I can only imagine what else is in there. This does feel excessive to me and while I feel the game should let you choose how you want to dispatch foes, this is part of what I think brought on this controversy. My 2 cents: Release the game in an AO version through some online manner, possibly only for PC. Then make a re-worked version for consoles. I remember Mortal Kombat for the SNES having tame fatalities, while the Genesis had the gore. A code might work as well, but you going back to Hot Coffee territory again with hidden content, so that is probably unlikely. Rockstar could always call up Sony and say "You want GTA4 exclusive to PS3? Then let us release Manhunt 2."

Avatar image for pharomarc

Dr_Swordopolis wrote "For those comparing an R-rated movie to this AO rated game; your argument doesn't even stand up." The nauseating movies like the SAW series or Hostel are rated R, I think nothing in that game can be more disgusting than the sickening torture senses in those movies, especially that the graphics quality of the game is in no way comparable to the movies quality of graphics. "How far do we let someone continue to create "art" as freedom of speech? What if they make a painting using recently harvested human blood?" I am not sure who are the "WE" and who appointed that "WE" as the moral compass for the society as a whole. Also in performance art and painting they have been using blood and urine and others bodily fluids for ages. Most recently Pete Doherty is painting pictures using his own blood. Disgusting and disturbing yes, but it is still classified as art. "thesegames are "socially" unacceptable, despite what you and I may think ourselves." If we let everything socially unacceptable be banned, the American society as we know it would not exist. There was a time when women were not allowed to vote or blacks not allowed eating at the same place as whites because it was socially unacceptable, until controversies showed that we must change the mob rule and only follow the rule of law. Of course a game would not rise to that level of social struggle but the concept of banning "socially unacceptable" things should not be tolerated unless there is conclusive evidence that the harm it causes supersede its benefits (freedom of expression). I personally will probably not watch those gory movies I've just seen few clips enough to make me gag, I'll not play those games, or watch the crazy artists mutilating them selves; I played the first Manhunt for one hour then stopped. I was not having fun with the game; however, I do not think because I'll not be playing or watching something it should be banned, but let the consumers and the market place do the talk. I also have to wonder if GTA IV got the AO rating will SONY dare to bane it too, leaving MS XBOX and Games for Windows be the only platforms free from AO limitations.

Avatar image for Legir

They should just change the game into a dance game/horror then it'll pass the rating. That's a new genre I'd like to see.

Avatar image for sicness10

i hope they decide to ship now with the current rartings and bans in whatever places and countries are willing/able to sell them. because at least then we have the CHOICE to see what its all about for those that want the game. and then later it can be edited for the mainstream. i know i personally wont be satisfied with an edited version becasue editing manhunt is like taking master chief out of halo. it takes away from what the game is at its core. manhunt is a game based around violence. sensoring it stops it being manhunt and it becomes something completely different. it wont stop me buying an edited version, but i would prefare the original.

Avatar image for Lanezy

To Lanezy: your argument is exactly what's wrong with the ESRB and much of society. As an adult, I should have the right to decide what is proper and decent to consume as long as I take personal responsibility for any consequences. Your contention that games are getting to violent is a matter of opinion, and shouldn't be projected on me or any other free thinking person. And as far as protecting kids from objectionable material; I'm all for it, but its primarily up to the parents of these kids to monitor what they're watching, listening to or playing. I'm also tired of these corporations like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft from philosophically neutering adults by banning these games on their consoles for the sake of political correctness.Manhunt 2 won't make a kid any more or less likely to commit an act of violence, so stop blaming the media for the decay of society. ITS TIRED!!! To NEVERDEAD: Look, all I'm saying is that violence like this should not be encouraged, especially on a medium that is directed towards the younger generation. Also, I'm not blaming the media for the decay of our society. I love the Sopranos and action movies, but there are major differences between what we see on TV/films and what we interact with. Do I think this game should be banned? No, but it certainly isn't necessary for it to be mainstream.

Avatar image for Paul_TheGreat

Rockstar should have known better what might happen.

Avatar image for serpx

There's a lot of potential money in AO games. Don't ban them. =)

Avatar image for Dr_Corndog

The ability to handle seeing gratuitous violence in the real world is maturity. Deriving pleasure from pretending to inflict gratuitous violence is sadistic.

Avatar image for paradyme777

Bummer. Hope you guys get something done. It would be horrible to have to bite the bullet on this one.

Avatar image for Dr_Swordopolis

For the record I actually am against excessively violent movies and other media. I saw Grindhouse, and was actually disappointed in myself for doing so. I am not making a judgment on anyone else who saw that, or plays this type of game, but I personally feel that society is becoming obsessed with pushing the boundaries. As for war footage: well, unfortunately, that's the reality of the world we live in right. Books: these make you conjure up the images in your own imagination, which can be toned down depending on how your mind thinks. They are not visual representations created by someone else, simply words that are used and you make the image based on connotations of said words. We have enough violence in the real world. Do we really need to bring this gratuitous violence to the fictional one?

Avatar image for Rasgueado

Well... there's always a PC port I suppose.

Avatar image for Dr_Corndog

dryden555: I wish everyone were as honest about this as you.

Avatar image for wenbin09

this is sad.