Manhunt 2 Banned in the U.K.


The British Board of Film Classification has rejected Rockstar’s upcoming videogame Manhunt 2, meaning the title cannot be legally sold anywhere in the U.K.

Both a PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii version had been submitted for classification, and both were rejected. While the BBFC typically recommends modifications to games in order to accommodate particular ratings, in the case of Manhunt 2 this proved unfeasible.

“Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly,” said David Cooke, Director of the BBFC. “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.”

The original Manhunt title was rated “18” in 2003, but according to Cooke, it “was already at the very top end of what the Board judged to be acceptable at that category.” He said the game’s “unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying,” in conjunction with a “different overall narrative context,” differentiated Manhunt 2 from it’s predecessor and resulted in the ban.

Rockstar can appeal the ban to the Video Appeals Committee, an independent body chaired by John Woods. According to Sue Clark of the BBFC, there have only been about 20 appeals since 1984, and about half have been successful. The bulk of games to be banned by the BBFC have been pornographic; the last mainstream game to receive a ban was Carmageddon in 1997.

As well as the BBFC, Manhunt 2 has also been banned by the Irish Film Censor’s Office. It has not yet received a rating from the ESRB in North America.

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