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BBFC Upholds Manhunt 2 Ban in U.K.

| 8 Oct 2007 16:12
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The British Board of Film Classification has again refused to assign a classification to Rockstar's upcoming Manhunt 2, meaning the game remains banned in the U.K.

Despite the submission of an edited version of the game that removed much of the explicit violence and gore that led to the initial ban, David Cooke, director of the BBFC, said the changes were insufficient to warrant a classification. "We recognize that the distributor has made changes to the game, but we do not consider that these changes go far enough to address our concerns about the original version," he said. "The impact of the revisions on the bleakness and callousness of tone, or the essential nature of the gameplay, is clearly insufficient. There has been a reduction in the visceral detail in some of the "execution kills," but in others they retain their original visceral and casually sadistic nature."

Cooke said the game may have seen the ban lifted had further changes been made, but that Rockstar declined further revisions. "We did make suggestions for further changes to the game," he said, "but the distributor has chosen not to make them, and as a result we have rejected the game on both platforms." Manhunt 2 is being developed for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii consoles.

Following the decision, Rockstar issued a statement indicating it had not yet given up the effort to have the game released in the U.K. "We are continuing to appeal the British Board of Film Classification's (BBFC) decision to deny the edited version of Manhunt 2 an 18+ certificate and thereby ban its release in the United Kingdom," the statement said. "The changes necessary in order to publish the game in Britain are unacceptable to us and represent a setback for videogames. The BBFC allows adults the freedom to decide for themselves when it comes to horror in movies and we think adults should be similarly allowed to decide for themselves when it comes to horror in videogames, such as Manhunt 2."

Manhunt 2 was originally banned by the BBFC in June, and also received an Adults-Only (AO) rating from the ESRB, effectively banning its sale in North America as well. An edited version of the game was later given a Mature (M) ESRB rating instead, clearing it for production and distribution, and the game is now slated for release in North America on Halloween.

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