Media watchdog group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is calling for a Federal Trade Commission investigation into the recent re-rating of Rockstar's Manhunt 2 from AO (Adults Only) to M (Mature).
In June, the group had issued a demand that the ESRB rate Manhunt 2 as Adults Only, spurred largely by the interactive controls of the Nintendo Wii, which would require the player to make various hacking and slashing-type movements as they played the game. A CCFC press release at the time said, "On Wii, players will not merely punch buttons or wield a joy stick, but will actually act out this violence." As it turned out, the ESRB had already reviewed the game and decided that an AO rating was warranted.
After Rockstar submitted an edited version of the game for review, however, the ESRB elected to issue an M rating instead, clearing the game for release. Following that decision, the CCFC issued a statement saying, "Despite industry claims to the contrary, M-rated games continue to be marketed and sold to children under seventeen," as well as calling for the investigation.
"We urge the ESRB to make public their rationale for changing Manhunt 2's rating, including detailing any content that was removed from the game," the statement says. "We call upon Rockstar Games to allow the content of Manhunt 2 to be reviewed by an independent review board with no ties to the videogame industry. We ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the process by which Manhunt 2's rating was downgraded from AO to M."
Manhunt 2 goes on sale October 31.