Is Manhunt 2 worse on the Wii?
GamePolitics has confirmed via multiple sources that Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) has expressed concern over the impending release of Rockstar’s controversial game on Nintendo’s next-gen console.
For McCollum, the issue seems to be the use of the Wii’s motion-sensitive controller. It is widely anticipated that players will be required to simulate slashing, stabbing or clubbing motions in order to play Manhunt 2 on Nintendo’s popular system.
McCollum apparently said as much in an on-camera interview Monday with Fox News reporter Orlando Salinas. The interview hasn’t aired so far. It was originally slated to run this evening, but late yesterday Salinas told GamePolitics he thought it might run closer to Manhunt 2’s July 9th release date.
Among those interviewed by Salinas for the report was anti-game attorney Jack Thompson, who has been beating the drum about Manhunt 2 – and especially the Wii version – for several weeks. A Thompson letter sent to both McCollum and Florida Governor Charlie Crist (R) on May 12th read in part:
Florida retailers are scheduled to sell a very violent video game called Manhunt 2 which will be available, remarkably, for “play” on the kids-friendly Nintendo Wii gaming platform.
The Wii device does not utilize traditional push button game controllers but instead utilizes hand-held motion capture devices… It is a training device.
Despite several calls to his office, it remains unclear whether or not Gov. Crist will take a position on Manhunt 2. However, it would appear that Jack Thompson has gotten the Florida Attorney General’s attention.
According to our sources, A.G. McCollum is not focusing at all on the PS2 or PSP versions of the game. Instead, McCollum is looking into the Wii version due to its motion-controlled simulation of violence. “That’s where they’re kicking up their heels,” one source said.
In February of this year GamePolitics asked Nintendo officials if they were concerned about potential backlash over Manhunt 2’s appearance on the Wii. Beth Llewelyn, Sr. Director of Corporate Communications told GP at the time:
Manhunt 2 is not developed or published by Nintendo. It is one of many titles released by third party publishers for our system that appeal to people of all ages and interests. Just as with movies, television, and books, different video games appeal to – and are appropriate for – different audiences.
A knowledgable video game industry source has told GamePolitics that Nintendo actively pursued a Wii version of Manhunt 2.
[Nintendo exec] Reggie [Fils-Aime] spent a fair amount of time soliciting [former Take Two CEO] Paul Eibeler to get the game on the Wii… Reggie did it to introduce more M-rated content, as he was afraid too many people would pigeon-hole [the Wii] as a kid machine.
It is unknown what – if any – official action A.G. McCollum might take. Florida has no video game law on the books and Manhunt 2, violent though it may be, would appear to enjoy the same constitutional protections afforded to other games.
For his part, Thompson has urged Gov. Crist and Attorney General McCollum to have Manhunt 2 declared a public nuisance under Florida law. But the anti-game attorney tried – and failed – with that legal gambit in his 2006 bid to block distribution of another Rockstar game, Bully.
UPDATE: GP has received the following comment from A.G. McCollum’s Press Secretary:
Attorney General Bill McCollum is concerned about any games which may instill violence in children, particularly games that encourage children to engage in violent behavior, even in simulation. He believes it is important to help protect children from influences which may introduce violence into their lives and stresses the importance of parental involvement in the efforts to keep these influences out of our homes and away from our families.