ESRB refuses to detail Manhunt 2 re-rate

Aug 29, 2007

Despite the demands of Calif. State Sen. Leland Yee, the Entertainment Software Rating Board said it would not disclose why it re-rated Manhunt 2 from an AO to an M.

"Publishers submit game content to the ESRB on a confidential basis," said ESRB president Patricia Vance in a statement Tuesday. "It is simply not our place to reveal specific details about the content we have reviewed, particularly when it involves a product yet to be released.

"What can be said is that the changes that were made to the game, including the depictions themselves and the context in which those depictions were presented, were sufficient to warrant the assignment of an M (Mature 17+) rating by our raters."

Take-Two and Rockstar's Manhunt 2 was originally slapped with an Adults Only rating by the ESRB in June this year, essentially banning the game from a retail release. Rockstar Games announced Friday that the game was re-rated with a less restrictive M rating after Rockstar made certain modifications to the game. Take-Two will now release the game on October 31.

Yee, a strong opponent of the games industry's handling of mature games, subsequently demanded that the ESRB disclose the reasoning behind the re-rating. "The ESRB and Rockstar should end this game of secrecy by immediately unveiling what content has been changed to grant the new rating and what correspondence occurred between the ESRB and Rockstar to come to this conclusion," he said in a statement this week.

The new rating for Manhunt 2 incudes the descriptors, "Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content and Use of Drugs."

Yee and supporters at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood insist that with an M rating, Manhunt 2 will be actively marketed and sold to children.

But Vance argued that the rating and descriptors are a "very clear and firm warning to parents that the game is in no way intended for children."

Vance's statement added, "Rather than publicly second-guessing what is unmistakably a strong warning to parents about the suitability of a particular game for children, which presumably neither Senator Yee nor CCFC have personally reviewed, we feel a more productive tack would be to join us in encouraging parents to take the ratings seriously when buying games for their children.

"...It is a parent's rightful place to make choices for their own children."

Article taken from Next Gen.


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