Manhunt 2 and the future of violent videogames

Could the BBFC's crackdown see more developers cutting back on gore?

Dec 10, 2007

Will European gamers ever see an official release of Manhunt 2? Who knows. With the BBFC having knocked back Rockstar's murderous romp for a second time, Manhunt 2's future is muddier than Glastonbury festival, even though the Video Appeals Committee has allowed Rockstar to appeal against the ban. But Manhunt isn't the only violent videogame. So what effect will Manhunt 2's case have on similarly themed videogames still in development?

Last week, we discovered that the bizarre Wii slashfest No More Heroes will come in two flavours. One, launched Stateside, will be smeared with gory decapitations and bloody violence, while the other, to be released in Europe and Japan, won't feature a drop of the red stuff. And from our contact with publisher Rising Star Games, it seems that the decision to launch a neutered version in Europe was more or less directly influenced by the BBFC's barring of Manhunt 2.

Self-censorship isn't a terrible thing, of course. But given No More Heroes' strikingly overt sexual themes and colourful language are untouched, it's obvious that switching off the gore isn't an attempt to bring Suda 51's mental fun to a wider, perhaps younger audience. It seems more like an attempt to sidestep any awkward links with gratuitous videogame violence. Rockstar itself self-censored Manhunt 2 to win a Mature rating and release the game in America, though even this recut version wasn't enough to convince the BBFC to allow a launch in the UK.

Which leaves us wondering if there are more upcoming games that may opt to cut the claret rather than risk an eternity in BBFC-enforced limbo...

Above: No More Heroes will be released as a censored version for European gamers

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