Manhunt 2 sure has had a helluva time making it to store shelves. In case you haven’t read about the trials and tribulations of the "murder simulator", the game’s been banned in countries all over the world, and even censored from release over here in our free country. Rockstar was forced into making concessions, retooling the game and delaying its release for months and months from its original target of July.
One of its bigger gaming audiences will not be seeing it at all, not just yet. Over in England the British Board of Film Classification (the BBFC also rates video games for some reason) has rejected the revised version of Manhunt 2.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:“We recognise that the distributor has made changes to the game, but we do not consider that these go far enough to address our concerns about the original version. The impact of the revisions on the bleakness and callousness of tone, or the essential nature of the gameplay, is clearly insufficient. There has been a reduction in the visual detail in some of the ‘execution kills’, but in others they retain their original visceral and casually sadistic nature.
“We did make suggestions for further changes to the game, but the distributor has chosen not to make them, and as a result we have rejected the game on both platforms. The decision on whether or not an appeal goes ahead lies with the distributor.”
When the fuck did we allow these people to decide our morals for us? When did this happen? This amazes me to no end, that in this day and age when we should have learned from all the stupidity of censorship in other mediums in the past (the Cannibal Holocaust trials, anyone?) we’re still stuck in the Stone Age.
Fuck the BBFC, and fuck David Cooke. Fuck them right in their stupid ears while Brian Cox whispers sweet nothings into it.
On these shores, we’re still going to be getting the game, albeit in the new, tamer version. See, the game was labeled with an Adults Only rating over here, the AO that you never see on game boxes, because the console companies don’t allow AO games on their systems. That’s right- if you make a game for adults you can’t release it. Stores won’t carry it, either. What’s the difference between a Mature (17+) game and an Adults Only (18+) one? Good luck wrapping your brain around that one. In any case, Manhunt 2 was labeled with the dreaded rating, and forced to try and revise the content. The new version was accepted by the ESRB and refitted with the M rating.
The problem with this is that it actually does affect gameplay, according to reports. In the first game, it was made so that you get more brutal kills if you took the time to execute them. In other words, you got a more visceral murder if you put yourself in more danger, sneaking up behind someone for longer. It’d go from strangling someone with a piano wire to slicing their head off. It was shocking and disturbing, and part of the appeal of the game. Now the more brutal kills are being censored and blurred out, so you can hardly see what’s going on. So what’s the point in trying to get the harder kills?
I dug the original for what it was and am still going to get the sequel, but it’s sad to see that I, as an adult, won’t be able to play the real version of the game as intended by the developers. It’s more than sad, it’s sickening.
The neutered version of Manhunt 2 hits the Wii, PS2 and PSP on October 29th.