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Manhunt 2 shut out by Sony and Nintendo

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Both Sony and Nintendo have confirmed that they will not authorise the release of controversial video game Manhunt 2 on their games consoles - the PS2, PSP and the Wii - in the US.

The news comes in the same week that the game was refused certification in both Britain, the Republic of Ireland and Italy. Manhunt 2 is the first video game to ever be banned by the Irish Film Censor's Office (IFCO) and the first game ban in the UK for ten years.

The IFCO issued a prohibition order in relation to the game under Sec 7 (1) (b) of the Video Recordings Act 1989 which refers to "acts of gross violence or cruelty (including mutilation and torture)".

In a statement, the censor's office said: "IFCO recognises that in certain films, DVDs and video games, strong graphic violence may be a justifiable element within the overall context of the work. However, in the case of Manhunt 2, IFCO believes that there is no such context, and the level of gross, unrelenting and gratuitous violence is unacceptable."

In addition, on Tuesday, the US Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) opted to give the game an Adults Only (AO) rating. Such a rating is usually considered the kiss of death for publishers because it means that leading retailers such as Walmart won't stock it.

Moreover, given that Sony and Nintendo have both said they won't bless the game's US release unless publisher Take-Two Interactive either wins an appeal or alternatively edits the game in order to receive a Mature (M) rating instead, it would seem as though hardcore gamers may never get the opportunity to play Manhunt 2.

The first Manhunt game, which was released in November 2003, also courted controversy and was banned in a number of countries because of its extreme violence. Manhunt 2, which was scheduled for release in July.

Both games have been developed by Rockstar Games, the company behind the notorious Grand Theft Auto series.

Rockstar is a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive whose chairman, Strauss Zelnick, described Manhunt 2 as a "fine piece of art" earlier this week.

"The Rockstar team has come up with a game that fits squarely within the horror genre and was intended to do so," Zelnick said in a statement. "It brings a unique, formerly unheard of cinematic quality to interactive entertainment, and is also a fine piece of art."

Copyright © 2007 ENN

Register Hardware's Tony Smith contributed to this report

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