Less than 24 hours after its release, the PSP version of Manhunt 2 has been hacked to restore the violent content of the original AO-rated version.
The hack demonstrates that Rockstar Games merely disabled the most extreme content in the game in an effort to get an M (Mature) rating from the ESRB, rather than removing it entirely. With its original AO (Adults Only) rating, the game would not have been available for sale through conventional outlets in North America.
The situation is nearly identical to the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas “Hot Coffee” controversy in 2005, in which that game was hacked to restore an otherwise-inaccessible minigame involving sex between game characters. As a result of that, the ESRB changed the game’s rating from M to AO, forcing Rockstar to pull the games from store shelves and re-release a modified version which had the offending content removed entirely.
The AO-rated PlayStation 2 version of Manhunt 2 has already been available via the internet, as a result of a leak by a Sony employee who worked on the project.