The British Board of Film Classification has rejected Manhunt 2 for its "unremitting bleakness" and "casual sadism." This means you won't be able to buy it legally in the UK, unless Rockstar resubmits a changed version of the game.
Here's the BBFC's announcement in full. It makes for interesting reading...
“Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly. Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications which remove the material which contravenes the Board’s published Guidelines. In the case of Manhunt 2 this has not been possible.
"Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end videogames by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing. There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game."
“Although the difference should not be exaggerated the fact of the game’s unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying and the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer, together with the different overall narrative context, contribute towards differentiating this submission from the original Manhunt game.
"[Manhunt] was classified ‘18’ in 2003, before the BBFC’s recent games research had been undertaken, but was already at the very top end of what the Board judged to be acceptable at that category.”
“Against this background, the Board’s carefully considered view is that to issue a certificate to Manhunt 2, on either platform, 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.”
Manhunt 2 is the first videogame to be refused classification since Carmegeddon in 1997. Carmegeddon's case was eventually overturned, but based on our own Mahunt 2 experiences, we'd have to agree with the BBFC's quote about "unremitting bleakness." Still, fingers crossed that Rockstar can find a way around the ban.
June 19, 2007