Manhunt 2 banned
Censor acts to prevent game's sale
Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 has been to all intents and purposes banned in the UK after the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) refused to certify the PS2 and Wii title. Without a BBFC certificate, the game can't legally be sold here.
The BBFC's verdict of the game is damning: "Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing," the organisation said today.
"There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game," it added, and highlighted "the game's unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying and the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer".
The BBFC can demand publishers and developers tweak titles that fail to make the grade, or cut material in order to gain a certificate or one allowing it to be sold to a lower age group. However, the BBFC suggested Manhunt 2 could not be so modified, leaving it no choice but to refuse certification.
While many countries have voluntary game rating schemes, the UK's certification process is mandated by the Video Recordings Act of 1984, ammended in 1993, which obliges publishers producing visual material that depicts realistic or semi-realistic people to have their material certified by the BBFC. The Act applies to games, videos, DVDs and cinema releases. The certificate - U, PG, 12, 12A, 15 or 18 - defines to which age groups a work may be sold. Selling a certified work to an inappropriate age group is a crime under the Act.
"The Board's carefully considered view is that to issue a certificate to Manhunt 2... would involve a range of unjustifiable harm risks, to both adults and minors, within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, and accordingly that its availability, even if statutorily confined to adults, would be unacceptable to the public," the organisation said.
In short, the BBFC believes it's not worth risking the game falling into the hands of kids, which retail restrictions aside, on past evidence we all know it surely will. There are too many parents ignorant of the meaning of game certification, some who imagine gaming's just for kids and others who simply don't care.
Rockstar has the right to appeal against the decision, but at this stage it's not known whether it will do so.
The original Manhunt, released in 2003 was granted an 18 certificate by the BBFC, which did not require any cuts to be made in order for the game to be awarded that certification.
However, today the organisation noted the title "was already at the very top end of what the Board judged to be acceptable at that category" and hinted certification might not have happened had "the BBFC's recent games research" taken place at that time.
Rockstar has a history of causing a ruckus with its games, most infamously Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' hidden sex scenes and, later, the brouhaha over Bully, renamed Canis Canem Edit in the UK.
I'm all for restricted access to things inappropriate for children.
"Games are meant to be about fun and yes I will admit that sometimes an acceptable amount of violence can be fun but there is no excuse for realizing such a game where the object of the player is to be a murder that has to kill innocent people; this is only one victory against the sick minded mentality of the media these days but an important one non-the-less."
I haven’t paid much attention to Manhunt 2, but having played Manhunt 1 (and finished it). In light of the content of Manhunt 1 I would like to comment.
For starters you are an anti-hero.
The games story has you as a death row inmate who is being executed (because your character did murder someone, there is no dispute). The execution is faked and you are smuggled out of the prison and taken to some rich (I think politician) mans private estate. He gets his jollies by taking hardened criminals and dropping them in his custom little playground. He has invited various groups of thugs and killers to hunt you (hence the title of the game Manhunt).
None of the people trying to kill you are ever depicted as anything better or more human then your character (in fact they are often worse). Even the level with the police it turns out they are all on the take from this guy and just as bad as all the other killers in the game.
You are not killing "innocent people". When you are faced with innocents you must protect them.
There are at least 3 points in the game where you have to save people. In the first instance there is a homeless guy you are told you need to get from point A to point B alive and intact through these groups of murderers. In the second you have to save some of your family members (they are not murderers or anything, just normal people) that the rich guy has kidnapped and placed in danger (if you do manage to save them, the rich man has them killed anyway later in the game and you are shown this via some TV sets in the mall level). In the third instance I can think of there is a reporter you have to keep safe (as I remember dirty cops are out to kill her) so she can expose the whole thing that is going down.
Is it a game of huggy-kissy full or moral actions and good? No, it is not. But neither are many entertainment products available to adults with no more control then a rating notice.
Just because you can kill someone graphically in the game does not mean that you have to use those methods. Yes the rich man likes it when you are brutal and if content (art and such as I remember) are a goal they give you more "points", but you have free will.
AFAIK no one has made a game that matches your made up reality of what the content in Manhunt 1 is and after checking the web for info about 2 it seems to be not what you describe either, looks more like a V for Vendetta type situation (but localized to the people who were doing the research).
How about people stop attacking imaginary demons and go deal with some of the things that exist in the real world?
Just goes to show...
... I think the posts on this story highlight just how many responsible adults we really have in this country (not enough, hardly any) and how many selfish people we have with a complete lack of respect for the other human beings that live in the society they share. We have complacent parents because they live in a culture where we cotton wrap our kids because we have killers/rapists/peedo's about. Now the real question is are they prominient now because we are more liberal with our media (films/news/games/TV) or is it because we try and shut these sort of things down that they turn to the real thing.
Lets face it, if someone is that way inclined, then the material that will give them cheap thrills will only satisfy them for a short while before the tension has built up so much that they need it for real.
Because we are so liberal and blase about things nowadays help's to create certain stereotypes (ie, CHAV - Council House And Violent, in case anyone didn't know what it stood for).
And WooHoo, I'm not the only person who thinks you should need a license to have a child, just a shame that it's covered by human rights.
Reality of the situation is... No people can't be trusted to think for themselves, because generally all they think of, is themselves, human nature unfortunately.
Slightly missing the point
To whoever wrote: Excellent Decision by the UK Censors
The sheer fact you are missing is that everything you wrote is about how YOU FEEL about the choices made by the censor, your writings are your own opinion. You even seem to have an opinion on just how bad the game is clearly without having any exposure to it what so ever.
So you like a game with a little bit of violence, you dont mind telling everyone else exactly how you feel about the game and in this case that happens to fall in line with what the BBFC tell everyone is acceptable to be exposed to. However, a lot of other people may not be overly bothered by the level of violence in Manhunt 2 but are not free to voice their opinions to any forum of influenced and power that will listen and are denied their right of choice to this game.
And yes, it is a game, anyone who decides to re-enact their gaming experience through real life endevours clearly has a problem in the first instance, and if the game didn't trigger the reaction, something else on the market of equal disturbing value certainly would have.
The main gripe here is clearly towards the BBFC removing choice from responsible adults because of having to cater for the lowest common demoninator, shite parents. Its about unknown people who are put in a tremendously hard position making choices for an entire nation. I personally fall in line with the people who are seemingly outraged that the punishment for lacking parental skills and responsibility now affects (effects?) me as an adult. I probably would have bought Manhunt 2 if only because there isnt anything else on the Wii worth buying at the moment but the sheer fact that I am unable to now because a bunch of people decided I'm not allowed to is angering to say the least.
The new Rambo film that now has a trailor out looks more brutal than anything I've seen in ages, and hell I feel sorry for all the 16 and 17 year olds out there who have started a family but aren't actually allowed to purchase explicit sexual content on any sort of available media. I think something needs to be done to actively encourage people taking more responsibility for their kids and a review to make these censorship rules actually make some sort of sense.
I personally wouldn't go out of my way to mod-chip my machine to play this game on import (which seems less likely now its banned in the states too) but what this will have certainly done is put the game on all underaged kids wish list. Forbidden fruit.
Congratulations to the BBFC on attracting many potential underage and overage customers who may never have previously considered buying this game. In an era where online purchases are fast catching up with retail, these games can be bought online for delivery within days, thus making their whole system useless. If I really did want this game, I will simply buy another european version as almost all games now come automatically with language selection on set up.
By banning this game, all the BBFC have done is highlight the game and make it all the more attractive. And once again with online purchase, they may as well be saying "Now children you can't play this game - but I will just leave it on the table!". We may be able to stop a 12 year old from going to the cinema to see an 18s movie but we really have no very little control from stopping him from seeing it on DVD when released. Perhaps we should be looking at some movies like SAW 1, 2 & 3 and Hostel being released only in the cinema and not being given a certificate for DVD release if this is how they plan on dealing with overly violent media. At 18 we are adults and should be able to make up our own mind if we want to buy something or not. They would be better off giving every "overly violent" game an 18s rating and staying quiet than making a big ruckus which only fuels its popularity. As an example, when Manhunt was linked to the murder of Stefan Pakeerah and publicised internationally, our local game stores here in Ireland, in my home town of Cork were all sold out in two days. And this was a game that previously people did not pick up on. I wonder do Rockstar pay the BBFC to ban these games so as to publicise them and bring them to the public's attention - this is better than any advertisement campaign on magazines or TV!
Re: Bravo the Censors | Reply To Comment on my Comment
I am not saying that you should be restricted I don’t actually find the fact that people want to play a game where you are a stalker / murderer offensive at all that’s there own decision which I have no say in, I only objected to the atmosphere of the game and advertising in publications such as Playstation Official Magazine UK along the lines such as “get ready to go insane with Manhunt 2 & the PS2” and “in the mind of a murderer”.
This is all very offensive to mentality ill people which is no great surprise is it really as it’s still deemed as acceptable to use diagrammatize terms such as “nutcase”, “mad” and “maniac” in society these days to describe people who suffer from mental illnesses, imagine if these we're racist, sexist or homophobic terms you’d be stopped almost immediately.
At the end of the day if someone wants to play such a game I'll turn a blind eye to it but I will NOT to such marketing campaigns used to promote such a game, that is why I'm happy to see Manhunt 2 banned!