Sad news today for anyone in the UK who had been looking forward to Manhunt 2, the soon to be released sequel for the PS2 and Wii: The game is no longer going to be released in the UK.
In a statement on its official website the British Board of Film Classification has explained why it has refused Manhunt 2 a rating. Under UK law this makes it illegal for any retailer to sell the game, effectively banning it.
It has been a decade since the BBFC refused to classify a videogame, and in that instance the ruling was overturned on appeal. That was, however, in the early days of the BBFC rating videogames, so such an outcome seems very unlikely for Manhunt 2.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, was quoted as saying, “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 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.“
As a horror fan growing up in England in the Eighties and Nineties, I saw the BBFC go from a strict overbearing body that cut films to shreds to having a much more relaxed and liberal stance towards violent movies. Whether this has anything to do with the controversy that surrounded the first Manhunt in England (which was tenuously connected to the murder of a teenager by the press) or whether or not Manhunt 2 really pushes boundaries that much we can only speculate on at this time.
I really hope for my countrymen back home in the UK that at the very least the BBFC will reconsider its stance on Rockstar submitting a cut down version of the game, as to just say the game could never be suitable for adult consumption however it is changed harks back to the days that the BBFC refused classification to films such as the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre for being “too intense.”
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