Following earlier confirmation
that Nintendo and Sony would not release Rockstar's Manhunt 2
with its U.S. 'Adults Only' rating, and the game refused a rating in the U.K., Take-Two representatives have confirmed it has "temporarily suspended" plans to distribute the game.
According to an official statement distributed to journalists, including
U.S. consumer website GameSpot: "Take-Two Interactive Software has temporarily suspended plans to distribute Manhunt 2 for the Wii or PlayStation platforms while it reviews its options with regard to the recent decisions made by the British Board of Film Classification and Entertainment Software Rating Board,"
The official Take-Two statement concludes: "We continue to stand behind this extraordinary game. We believe in freedom of creative expression, as well as responsible marketing, both of which are essential to our business of making great entertainment."
Most U.S. retailers, including Best Buy, GameStop and Wal-Mart, refuse to stock AO rated games as a matter of policy, separately of the console hardware manufacturers refusing its release. This makes it almost certain that the title's content will need to be changed and resubmitted in order for it to reach American shelves - if Rockstar and Take-Two decide to take this parth to market.
Additionally, it is unclear, given the extreme nature of the rating board's condemnation
in the UK, whether a similar resubmission would also work. The BBFC's comment on the game noted: "Manhunt 2
is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing."
The National Institute on Media and the Family has released a statement on the suspension, calling it "a victory for parents and children."
The statement reads: "Because of the their thoughtful decision to give Manhunt 2
its strongest rating, "Adults-Only," the ESRB has sent a strong message to Take-Two and other game makers that they no longer can push the envelope on gratuitous violence in video games. The ESRB showed real leadership in assigning this rating and further evidence it is making significant progress in keeping extremely violent and graphic materials out of children's hands.
"Hopefully Take-Two has learned from its Manhunt 2
experience and will undertake preventive measures to ensure its future games, including Grand Theft Auto IV
, are appropriate for families and gamers.
"As gaming technology continues to change, we hope to continue to work with the ESRB to ensure that future games have appropriate content and context for children. The uniqueness of Nintendo's Wii gives game raters a new challenge when it comes to first-player shooter games. We take the ESRB's decision about Manhunt 2
as a positive step in addressing this new challenge."]