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High Court orders Manhunt 2 release to be re-evaluated

Gory game to hit the shelves at last?

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The controversial ‘slasher’ videogame Manhunt 2 is to be re-assessed by the UK's Video Appeals Committee (VAC) after the High Court this week judged its decision that the game should be released was legally flawed.

Manhunt2

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The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) ruled in October 2007 that the game is too violent to be allowed on UK shelves, but developer Rockstar appealed against that verdict.

Reviewing the appeal, the VAC said the game should be given a release in the UK.

However, following a day-long hearing at the English High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Mitting noted that the VAC based its initial decision on the game’s likelihood to cause "devastating harm". He said that the law made no mention of this degree of damage, and that the VAC should therefore reconsider its decision.

A spokeswoman for the BBFC told Register Hardware that it will decide on its next course of action once the VAC has re-assessed the game. “There are adults who could be classed as vulnerable and we’re legally bound to protect them from games like Manhunt 2, as well as children,” she said.

It’s impossible to speculate, at this stage, what the seven-member VAC panel’s second verdict will be. But the original ruling was a close one: When it originally ruled against the BBFC’s ban, the VAC’s decision was based on four people in favour of the game’s UK sale and three against.

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