It’s Official: Manhunt 2 Rated Adults Only by ESRB

This just in from Take Two Interactive, publisher of the embattled Manhunt 2:

The ESRB has issued an initial rating of AO (Adults Only) for Manhunt 2.

We believe the process of rating videogames is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them.

Manhunt 2 was created for mature audiences and we strongly believe it should receive an M (Mature) rating, aligning it with similar content created in other forms of media. We are exploring our options with regard to the rating of Manhunt 2.

Beyond that, T2 isn’t talking. It is unknown exactly when the AO was assigned to Manhunt 2, but it would have to have been less than 30 days ago, based on earlier comments by ESRB president Patricia Vance.

GP: For a video game publisher, the economic impact of an AO rating cannot be overstated. It means that major retailers like Wal-mart, which by itself accounts for about 25% of retail games sales, will not carry Manhunt 2. There is an appeal process available to game pubilshers who wish to dispute rating assignments.


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  1. 0
    nicko says:

    I don’t think seeing a girl topless or her butt should make a game a/o even with a sex scene it’s not real and kids should know that. What amazes me is how travel channel at 8pm prime time can show what they call "Indigenous Nudity" meaning they can show female’s topless yet the girls gone wild commercials have to be censored? What kind of double standard is this? If you ask me cover up and censor what’s on travel channel i don’t want to be flipping channels and see things hanging to the amazon floor. Either every channel can show girls topless or none. I vote for all just like i’d vote for london escorts to be considered equal to other jobs.

  2. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Are you legally retarded?  I think you need to be classified as that if you arent.  You think it should be rated AO so minors can’t buy it?  Mature only is 18+, I’m not sure where you are from but that’s not a minor, also FYE sells X rated movies, which are mostly placed in malls…where most teenagers go…I can guarantee more stores sell minors rated r movies than any video game store sells to a minor, they have improved more than any other faction.

  3. 0
    Morghan says:

    I know that games don’t inspire violence in people who aren’t already predisposed to it, but they do make a good scapegoat when some idiot does something atrocious.
    Of course I would much rather have my children playing this than watching some of the things I’ve seen on the Disney channel as of late. If you ask me there should be a special rating for preteen skanks like the cheetah girls and hannah montana. Nobody is trying to pressure my daughter into going on a killing spree, but it seems like everywhere I go people are trying to convince her it’s alright to look like she should be standing on the corner in the red light district rather than going to elementary school.

  4. 0


  5. 0
    Don says:

    Go to hell, I bought manhunt not knowing what it was some odd years ago! I ended up enjoying it and now I can’t get my hands on the 2nd game? I understand that it is a sickly game, but I think the younger crowed has a say in this too, personaly I’m 15 years old and I’m not a social outcast who is going to go rampaging down the street doing exicution style murders to random people so come on…. I have givin’ you basiclly all the money I have, I’ve supported the game community since I’ve been able to read. Now after years of waiting to get this 2nd game your going to slander it by slapping a AO rating on it? How could you do this to me, heck us for that matter? ESRB I understand that you have to rate the games according to a certain scale, but why did manhunt 2 get an AO rating when the first game only got an m? AO is going to make it impossible for me to get this game. AO should only be used in porno video games. Now me, the little guy can never get this game. Think about it, Game Rush, Game Stop, Wal-Mart, so on and so forth will not bring it onto there shelves, so I’m screwed!!! So up yours ESRB and all of your employees to!!!!!

  6. 0

    […] Gamers seem pretty divided on the topic of Manhunt 2’s Adults Only rating from the ESRB—not to mention the outright ban in other countries, including Ireland, the UK, Australia, Italy, and probably Germany soon enough. The banning won’t be necessary if the publisher doesn’t adjust the game so it can earn an M rating: Nintendo and Sony have already announced that they will not license AO-rated games for their systems, and even if they were to allow Manhunt 2 on their consoles, most game retail chains don’t carry AO-rated games anyway (including Wal Mart, which accounts for 25% of game sales alone). In other words, assigning a game an AO rating is basically the kiss of death. […]

  7. 0

    […] While many of the news outlets are running stories today about the Supreme Court decisions involving free speech, many of us are looking at related issues that run close to home. Manhunt 2 has been rated as AO by the ESRB, and both Sony and Nintendo responded that they weren’t going to have any AO titles on their systems. At the same time, England’s advisory board refused to rate it because of content, thus making sales of it illegal. Meanwhile, the ESRB has been actively working to control content on the Internet by asking for online trailers to be removed due to mature content. […]

  8. 0
    fck the esrb says:

    tst, its cencorship at its slezzyiest, if the AO content was allowed on the systems and sold in stores, it would of got a M, the esrb is a bunch of ppl randomly selected to give ratings to games, so of course a bunch of soccer moms would wanna ban this game, that tom guy IS more qulified to rate the game, or better yet get ppl who review it to rate it or somthing, that way we can contain our own media instead of puting it into the hands of a bunch of bashers, the esrb was founded for no reason, america is just a fcking dumbass contrny and ppl need to stop getting pissed at things that they see on t.v. and shit, if a kid when he is little watches horror movies, he grows up to b normal, if a kid watches his first jason flick at 17, he goes out and kills some bitches like he saw in the t.v. and besides this is the real worlds, ur not protecting ur kids ur shielding them from the truth, ur kids gunna have sex, id rather him know wtf hes doing seen it b4 so he knows its not that amazing and doesnt go get a std, but no u can let ur kids learn about sex when there 18 and go rape some chick or some shit. normal human behavoir and shit makes up seek power sex and nutrition, so i dont even think games with sex should b for adults only, i know 12 year olds that know more about sex then some grown men, there not wierd, they just wenrt sheltered little puppies getting exposed to the harsh thing i call reality, yeah ppl die, somtimes very violently, its fun ina game, hell i oculd run ppl over in gta for hours, in real life i like to fight, but not to the point where some1 gets hurt, because its funny when no1 actuly got hurt but when some1 does u realize it, so in other words if ur physco and play manhunt two u just got more ways to kill ppl wich u were gunna kill anyway, if ur normal and play it (assuming its a good game) u say holy shit that was awsome, but damn it must suck ot b that guy. then u go about ur normal life. the esrb is a usless peice of crap that no we dont need, selling violent games to children is fine cuz there gunna see stuff like that eventuly, but if they see it early it wont b as much as a shock and theyll get used to it and u can teach them that it is wrong. trust me only ppl who are gunna like killing ppl no matter what would go and do somthign cuz a game, even twisted gammers like myself do not like to see ppl hurt in real life, no one does

  9. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    try Biko 1-3 or any..well….70% of hentai games are glorified rape feasts…blah…at least biko 2+ added non rape sex scenes,artificial girl and sexy beach are not rape based thank god… ,OMG sex in games the world is ending…….

    considering of all the games and movies out manhunt 2 dosent really push any boundaries that hard,what it is is high mature level media being raped for the mainstream because the mainstream sales to kids,if was a movie it would have been watered down to R or PG13 and then released as a NC17 unrated DVD if it was a book it would go up their with American psycho,but because its a game the sky has to be falling.

    Like I said in another thread here, the world needs to wake up and make a rating level for mature games and make it where kids are protected from them but adults can have access to them that is a mature way of dealing with the problem taking away everyones “steaks” because kids can’t eat it is a path to a sad gray world.

  10. 0
    buckdutter says:

    I can’t wait for Rockstars next game: “Rape”.

    You take on the role of Ed Geisler, escaped serial rapist. In order to survive you must rape and kill a woman before your energy bar runs out. The more brutal the rape, the more energy you are awarded to continue exploring the outside world. There are many options of things you can do to the women (or men!), and you can be as brutal as you like, in fact, the more brutal the better. Women, men, and even children are not safe while you sustain your rampage. So go ahead, own a life.

    Rockstar…because too far is never far enough.

    I can’t wait for that one, but I hope it get an M or even a T rating. I already have my copy preordered.

  11. 0

    […] So recently I haven’t been at post as often as I should have been. So a lot of problems with Manhunt 2 have came up. The game was banned in the UK, banned in Ireland, been issued a AO rating by the ESRB.Surprisingly the AO rating is not due to the fact that the Wii’s controls will simulate murder the closest that any Video game will be. And finally it is reported that Nintendo will not give a license to the current Manhunt 2 on the Wii. Can you smell an Unlicenced game? | | | | | | | | | | | Permalink| […]

  12. 0
    Scott says:

    Marketing…..If you wanted some free advertisement for a game – why not just give the game an initial AO rating and then tweak it down for a more wide distribution rating that would allow it on the shelves of your local computer store. Oh wait, that is what is happening here.

  13. 0
    C Gomez says:

    There is no reason Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft should be forced to allow anything on their consoles. It’s their console platforms.

    That said, I think Rockstar has every right (in the United States at least) to release the game to PCs, even in Windows. The PC platform can be differentiated as one that is more open technologically. You can install whatever OS or whatever applications you wish.

    I personally think AO ratings shouldn’t mean a virtual ban. I understand the marketing reasons for it from the console manufacturers, but I think they do themselves a great disservice. After all, if AO means you can’t make ANY sales (even direct mail sales because no retailer will carry it), then all that means is a constant upward pressure on where supposedly “M” rated games can go.

    Let AO be AO and M be M. If retailers don’t want to carry AO games, fine. Consoles should at least allow AO games to be played because that means the ESRB will be more free to properly rate M games. They won’t do it, but it would be better for everyone if they did.

  14. 0
    DragonBomber ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Dylan:

    Oh yeah, I own Manhunt 1. I know all about the game. I know how the media twisted the poor U.K. kid’s death around and how he actually played the game and not the kid who murdered him. I know how unfair the system is now for developers. It’s a game in itself and they either play it and hope to change rules along the way or they bust.

  15. 0
    DragonBomber ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Dylan:

    If you read the ESRB rating descriptor for AO, it is worded so they can rate games that include “prolonged violence” and/or, mind this, OR “sexual content” into this taboo box. The problem is they don’t rate games fairly and M titles are often just as bad but without the sexual content America is so afraid of in an adult game. No one has their HEADS in their asses. They can rate the game however they choose. The fact they rated it as AO is suspect based on the press they knew was to come. The ESRB only wants to deal with so much hell from politicians, lawyers, and the media.

    Say the game was given an M, based on the fact it doesn’t have sexual material (we don’t even know yet if this is true, it may) even though it COULD be given the AO brand due to the “prolonged violence”. They have the ace card but this time, as they had many times before, they slip it by under the fence. A month later the game comes out and people globally shit themselves, and the phones between the ESRB, Nintendo, Sony and Congress, Rockstar, the anti-violence movement, and media are burned up. Some legal action is threatened or taken and the game gets pulled until it is sorted out, if it is found that the AO rating was applicable in enough people’s minds to force the hand.

    Instead of balking, Rockstar ran the gambit and the ESRB (under heat already and wanting to avoid more), used the rating that would make the most “influential” people happy and cause them less grief. It forced Rockstar’s hand to make some decisions since there is NO support from Nintendo and Sony thus far on this. Nintendo wants to keep the parents’ eyes on them as a children-friendly company just as much as they want adult gamers to continue to plunk down cash. It’s very fake and somewhere down the line it can’t continue. Either a company will step up and take the heat of adult material just like television, movies, and music has before them OR they’ll back off and watch their software library become stale because developers are stifled from making statements and producing art.

    There’s a big disconnect between videogames and society. It’s loaded with hypocrisy and self-serving profiteers, and it gets second-class citizenship for any number of reasons. It isn’t seen as serious art, although its material can be some of the most awe-inspiring vistas witnessed. Each form of media outside borrows from games more and more, yet videogames continue to be seen as child’s play despite the actual player demographics. Videogames traditionally made the bulk of its technological progress in areas that were not over-the-top adult-oriented. There were no porn titles selling the systems. No one remembers Mystique (Swedish Erotica) and other adult titles for the 2600. No one remembers the Panesian titles for the NES. These games were unheard of and hidden. Violence has always been a part of software sold but not the driving force of the sales. Television (cable television especially), VHS sales, the Internet, and so forth were forged ahead on the stream of adult-oriented sales and programming. Those mediums grew a pair in the process because they had to if they wanted to keep the medium alive.

    When the industry takes those steps, helped along by developers either forcing them to break open the marketplace OR developers releasing games via their own channels for play (forcing court cases or compromises with the console’s companies) then we will have what EVERY other media form enjoys. This protection and fair consideration is a long time coming. I don’t think Rockstar will challenge Nintendo and Sony, releasing the game anyway via their own channels or profiteering vendors. A court battle would ensue. It could do it, deny the agreement signed and risk GTA IV making the lineup officially. It’s all about licensing at this point, and they could sidestep it if they felt they could force Nintendo and Sony to cave in. Not likely, but it would be interesting. Color Dreams lost against Nintendo though, so I doubt Rockstar stands a chance especially considering they have contracts and agreements already. It is surely going to be an interesting two months.

  16. 0
    Dylan says:

    What the hell is wrong with all of you? Did any of you actually play the first manhunt? Yea, the idea was grotesque but the gruesomeness itself was far less than what I have seen in many more rated R movies. No game deserves and AO rating unless its a hardcore porn. Wake the hell up and get your heads outta your asses.

  17. 0
    Colin says:

    I think there needs to be more transparency in both the ESRB and MPAA’s rating system. Both are literally “good ol’ boys” kind of groups that decided their rating not only on a non-public and likely not even truly set list of rules, they do so behind closed doors with little to no outside input.

    The MPAA rated “Midnight Cowboy” X until it won an Academy Award, making them change it to R as a nod toward the Academy. Directors and screenwriter often are blacklisted by means of a too-high rating for the movie’s target audience for simply personal reasons.

    The ESRB has been argued of the opposite, rating too low to help sales rather than censoring to protect minors. (And by the way, as a former retail clerk, M rated games get sold to minors through even questioning grandmothers.) And favoring violence over any kind of sexual content at all.

    My thought is since Congress is forcing retailers to use the rating in limiting sales of both games and movies, then the process for setting the rating should be transparent as well. Not as a government office, but as in full disclosure of the process for public scrutiny.

    In a sense like how the Comic Code is a published set of self-censorship for an industry that in the 1950s was feeling the same wrath as video games are today. The transparency gave credence, which gave it support. Rather than censor, in the case of the CC, merely say, in plain language, what brings the decision for a certain rating with as little wiggle room as possible.

  18. 0
    Zodiak says:

    I think that the ESRB’s decision to make Manhunt 2 an AO rated game, was fair. The original game was violent as hell. The new one promised even more violence and blood, and based on the given rating, that’s exactly what we…possibly could’ve gotten, and might even be getting, still.

    I think Rockstar should just KEEP AND ACCEPT the AO rating. And yet, still revise the game, dull it down, make an M rated version, and release TWO versions of the game.

    The M rated version.
    And the AO rated version.

    One can be sold as “Manhunt 2: Uncut” as an AO rated game, on Rockstar’s official website. And the M rated one can be sold in retail stores.
    It’s really that simple.

    If Square Enix can put out Final Fantasy X-2 in 2 different version, letting Japan have the “extended” version. Then I don’t see why Rockstar couldn’t just release 2 versions of this game.

    It may cost them more to do, but in the end, fans will be MUCH happier about the result. And those that are under 18 will still be able to play the game.

    This way, fans don’t complain that their precious Manhunt 2, was dulled down, and censored due to an unwanted AO rating. As they could simply buy the AO version on the internet, assuming they have and own a credit card.

    And from what I recall, only those 18+ are allowed their own credit cards, anyway. So it’d work out, just fine. They should just make Manhunt 2: UNCUT (AO version) a “credit card purchase only” item. Thus, assuring that all buyers of the raw version of the game, are 18+.

    However, I doubt this will ever happen. And Rockstar might just end up dulling the game down to an M rating, if they lose the appeal to have it changed to M, without revising anything within the game at all.

    If you ask me, they should just release 2 versions. AO and M. That’ll make everyone happy. Adults will get the raw version. And everyone else will be able to enjoy the M rated version. It makes everyone happy, that way.

    But like I said, it probably wont happen. And if Rockstar refuse to change the game, they might be FORCED into only making it available, online. Which is fine with me. As I purchase most of my games, online anyway.

  19. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    Continued message that was cut off for whatever reason-

    Sony and Nintendo do not currently allow AO games on their consoles and according to Rockstar the only systems it is currently trying to be released on is Wii, PS2 and PSP. No mention of PC release has been mentioned so right now its an option but Rockstar hasn’t even mentioned it so don’t get your hopes up.

    If Sony and Nintendo decide to let an AO rating slide and it is granted special permission to be released onto either console then maybe they will sell it at Best Buy or other retail stores(unlikely) but chances are if such a unlikely event did occur you would have to purchase it offline or in a store that does not have policies against AO rated games.

    If it remains AO Rockstar also could release it for PC, in which case no it most likely wouldn’t be carried in retail stores, you would have to purchase it offline. I am not sure if any of their contracts with Sony or Nintendo prevents them from doing this but my bet is that it is a possibility.

    If Rockstar makes some changes, resubmits to the ESRB and gets a M rating it will most likely be available everywhere unless retailers decide not to carry it. But if it gets a M rating you can buy it online.

  20. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    Jon_Bonsey and to all who want to buy the AO version-

    If manhunt 2 remains rated AO, then no you can’t buy it. It wont be in any store in the world. It wont be available online. You wont find it on the black market, you wont find it anywhere. You wont beable to buy directly from Rockstar. You wont get it.(.

  21. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    E. Zachary Knight
    M is not a defcto R its range is from PG13 to R face it the ESRB waffles a bit and now is rounding up to AO to protect whats left of its rep.

    I’ll even go futher to say AO is not NC17 because a lot more theaters will show a NC17 movie now a days AO is more like X was.

    I think AO needs a retooling and a rename in order for it to drop the stigma.

  22. 0
    upgray3dd ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Nintendo and Sony won’t have this on their consoles. Jerks. Especially Nintendo. They “cater to all audiences.” Right. As long as their under seventeen. (:

  23. 0

    […] There was some big controversy stirred up yesterday as the ESRB handed down their initial sentence rating of AO (Adults Only) for the anticipated game <a href=””>Manhunt 2</a>. The game is to be released on PS2, PSP, and Wii simultaneously on July 10. For some reason, both <a href=””>Nintendo</a&gt; and Sony have adopted policies that they will not allow licensed third party software providers to release AO content on their console (meaning that only games without the license on the package, such as the white wii stripe at the top of Wii games and the “Playstation 2″ on the side of PS2 games, can have such a rating). This means that Rockstar’s upcoming title has no choice but to either abandon production (a stupid move for a game that’s already complete enough to be handed a rating) or take out enough of the content or mood to change the rating back down to M. […]

  24. 0
    Sam says:

    We all seem to be assuming that T2 will not tone down the game to get a M rating?

    This seems to me to be the most likely outcome … perhaps unfortunately.

  25. 0
    upgray3dd ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Wow, this is one of the most popular stories I have ever seen. T2 should first appeal to try for an M without censoring anything, then release it as is and try and strike a deal with as many online and retail stores as possible. I’m thinking EB Gamestop might be open to it if they think it will generate enough sales. And the “too extreme for Wallyworld” marketing will generate huge sales. If done right, I could see Manhunt 2 AO making almost as much as M and providing huge motoriety to the company.

  26. 0
    Merc25 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    First this is not censorship, if they banned it then it would be; however, as we all know that isn’t the case. If the retailers refuse to carry AO titles, then it is they who should bare the burden of our ire, not the ESRB. Send all your hate mail to retailer side, they will bow to public pressure. Remember policy is for sale, if demand is high enough they will buckle to the consumers’ clout.

    R* brought this upon themselves, more so than anyone else in the equation.

  27. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    come and join the rating system discussions in the forum if you can withstand my grammar that is 😛

    BTW I see no reason for it to be AO, this could be bad but at the same time if theres enough demand for the game it might break the “curse” on AO.

  28. 0
    DragonBomber ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I agree that game ratings need to be tweaked by the ESRB, but do not feel we need to use AO less. Using the set wording to match the content is the only way any faith in the ratings will be had. If that means more games are labeled as AO, and more pressure on retailers and the ESRB to accomplish the two things you mentioned.

    1) The current system needs to be revised to accurately depict what is considered adult and what is not. If A is adult, fine. Having M and AO is confusing for parents. Not as confusing as movie ratings, but still confusing. A lot of games are being put into the M box that are more AO and thus out in the open for kids to see and parents to fume about at major retailers. The gap of a few years basically equates to needing 2 different categories. How does that make ANY sense? You can have sexual relations at 18 or younger legally but not see the tape yourself or a visual representation of it in a game? Very lame reality. By continuing to push some games into the AO ghetto without fairly putting more into it, you delegate the M box as an invisible moral line. It’s ok to to see violence but not sex, which further continues America’s backwards stance on this issue.

    2) I agree that these titles should be sold, stored in whatever manner the chain desires. Open, in special cases, whatever they want. A child need not be allowed to merely roam free if the parent has issue, case closed.

    However, as I said in other posts, if a parent is to take legal responsibility for the content, there needs to a EULA or similar agreement. There is no such warning now although it is common sense. Many parents decry violent games but buy these games for their kids only to further decry them when it suits them. There needs to be a legal agreement to scare adults into doing their job and also covering the game developer from use that was not designed for them. Much like an electrocution warning on hairdryers, I know, but some people don’t USE their brains and expect to be told what to do.

  29. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:


    I agree with you 100%, Id be happy to have a simple rating system such as that. Its simple and it would work fine. I’m sure it would also discuss(as they do on today’s ESRB ratings) what content is in the game such as drug use, violence, sex, ect.

    I think Learning Games should having a wide range of ratings so parents could easily distinguish what games they buy. I mean you wouldn’t want to buy someone in 1st grade with a 4th grade game right? But I also think that the “average joe” ESRB shouldn’t be rating educational games. That should be reserved for people trained to educate children as they a much better idea of which grade that educational game belongs.

    But then again you could drop the educational games and have another professionaly trained organization do the ratings for those.

    I think ETA would be a great rating system. Easy, fair, and simple.

  30. 0
    Scoops says:

    I actually think parents would be less likely to mindlessly buy an AO game in general, since it mostly limits you to having to go online to get it, but I actually think it would help if they sold them in stores too. The key would be that they not display them at all, just have them there if you ask for it. I think that kind of “hidden behind the counter” idea would most clearly illustrate to parents that they might need to think twice about getting this game.

    I also agree that the M/AO distinction is stupid. R/NC-17 serves a purpose in a theatrical context, but not at the video store. Games are like the video store. To my mind, there needs to be only 3 or 4 ratings – depending on whether you think educational games for little kids actually need a separate rating:

    L – Learning games
    E – Everyone
    T – Teens
    A – Adults

    They should all be sold in stores. They’re self-explanatory. From there on out, parental discretion is advised, as they say. If you want to let your 16 year old play A-rated Metal Gear Solid 4, fine. If you don’t want them to play A-rated Manhunt 3, fine.

  31. 0
    linenoise says:

    So its AO. Big deal. Everyone would agree it’s not for kids either way. The distinction between M (17+) and AO (18+) is stupid in and of itself, but hey.. to me it shows the system works. The ESRB’s concern should not be whether the rating will hurt sales. Giving it AO shows they didn’t bow to pressure from T2.

    The ironic part in the whole thing is the rating doesn’t mean anything, parents will still buy this game for their 12 year olds without knowing what it is, then act shocked when they see what its like.

  32. 0
    Ryan T. says:

    @ Scoops

    Just to Clarify, I don’t hope they become amazingly liberal regarding its use, but I think it’s certainly possible that games have been released before now that likely didn’t receive an AO rating when one would have been warrented, and the rating was not given due to how rare the AO rating has traditionaly been. You’re correct in saying it would be very bad if the ESRB just started tossing it around.

  33. 0
    Scoops says:

    First off, good on the ESRB. I thought the first Manhunt should have been AO, and I’d be surprised if the sequel were less extreme.

    Secondly, would you people all stop complaining about censorship, please? Maybe it is censorship – self-censorship on the part of the industry as a whole. Self-censorship can be a good thing. Governmental censorship needs to be feared. And stop getting mad at the ESRB over this. If you want to be mad at anyone, be mad at retailers. The ESRB makes no requirement about carrying AO game, retailers do.

    Also to people beating the old “AO is for porn games” drum, please read the breakdown of the AO games that I did at the GP forums. I’ll throw out the highlight for you: 10 of the 23 currently published AO games come from two publishers. They are, in fact, sex games. One company makes interactive movies for PC, the other imports and translates H-games. For about 2 years each, they submitted games to the ESRB for review. By 2002, they had stopped submitting, but still publish unrated. Since them, the games that have gotten AO have been, by and large, mainstream games that couple overt violence and sexual content. Basically, the AO as porn thing is skewed by two companies who tried to feel around the ESRB rating system for a while.

    Finally, I saw someone comment that they hope that the ESRB uses AO more now. I don’t hope that. I hope they use AO as appropriate given a game’s content, whether that be frequently or infrequently.

  34. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    E. Zachary Knight-

    Not quite, many M rated games wouldn’t be rated R, case and point Socom 3. Get your facts strait

  35. 0
    Ohma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, this would all be fine and dandy, if it weren’t for the fact that retail outlets refuse to sell AO rated games. Don’t get me wrong, I buy nearly all my games online (no thanks to GameStop/EB Games for having 16+ used copies of The Matrix, but not a single copy of Galactic civilizations 2), but unless physical game shops grow some backbone, then an AO rating will forever stay an effective ban, and as a result the whole rating system will stay rather skewed. (AO is equivalent to an R rating after all, and how many big name games in the last year would have benefited from having an *Adults* Only tag attached to their name?)

  36. 0
    Manuel says:

    Why is there even an AO rating in the first place? The MA rating says for 17+ year olds which are considered adults in most states anyway. It seams it would make much more sense to get rid of the AO rating altogether and make the MA rating 18+. I haven’t played the game, I don’t know how graphic or grotesque it is, but I just saw the movie The Hills Have Eyes 2 recently and that was pretty dame grotesque, and it was on cable. How is this game any different. Walmart and those PC friendly stores don’t carry music with Explicit Content, so why do they even carry M rated games in the first place? Then again, why do they sell cigerettes there anyway if you have to be 18 to buy them? In the end it comes down to the purchaser. If someone is buying a product for themselves, they should do their own research. If they’re buying it for someone else, regardless of age, they should already know if that product is appropriate for that person.

  37. 0
    LokiBNE says:

    The ESRB did its job. I don’t quite get what you guys are so upset at them for. I assume that this has to do with pornography or with the same thing that almost gave The Punisher an AO rating. Interaction.

    The fact that you can strangle someone, making a sawing motion with a Wiimote is pretty intense.

    Keep in mind, as well, that the M rating for video games is a very, very liberal rating. Do you wish to tell me that Diablo 1 and 2 had the same graphic content as GTA or Gears of War? No, they didn’t, I think that this game could have pushed it far enough to get an AO rating, which is allowable.

    The ERSB (I hope) doesn’t think about what the rating will do to the game, that is between the publishers and the retailers. The ERSB did their job to rate the game, and tell everyone what is in it, nothing wrong with that. What it effectively did to the game isn’t their problem.

  38. 0
    VaMinion says:

    Is it also possible this is also fallout from Hot Coffee? That the ESRB looked at the content that Rockstar submitted to them and said “You know what, this is right on the borderline of M and AO. They hid stuff from us the last time; better to look like we’re too strict than allowing ourselves to be fooled by Rockstar again”.


  39. 0
    illspirit ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    After more consideration, I think it might be possible that Nintendo ditched the policy and that Sony never adopted it now that they have parental controls. And seeing as the current MS/T2 contract is the only one I’m sure disallows AO titles, and the game doesn’t have an Xbox version, maybe R* anticipated the rating. Why else would they develop the game for everything but Xbox?


  40. 0
    Kirk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    As I remember it rumors were going around that Nintendo went after TT and others to put M rated games on the Wii to help remove that “Kiddy” monicor that it has bee stuck with over the past 10 years or so.

  41. 0
    None says:

    ESRB is not the one responsible for trying to force ratings down our throats. They’re the organization trying to prevent bull shit legislation against selling video games to minors and the like.
    Jack Thompson wants to make it a crime to sell M+ rated games to minors. The ESRB is trying to be strict to prevent such ridiculousness from happening.
    As for Keaton2008 being surprised that Nintendo is putting such a “morbid game” on it’s console, I’d like to remind him/her that Resident Evil 4 was initially a GameCube exclusive release. Nintendo’s not just for kids and it’s time people stopped thinking that way.

  42. 0
    Keaton2008 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    meh. I think the AO is rather appropriate.

    The wii controls for Manhunt 2 had always bugged me since I read about it on IGN.

    Hard to what Rockstar will do now. Kinda far to change the Wii version now. They may end up canceling its release or risk a AO release.

    I’m still surprised Nintendo allowed Rockstar to put such a morbid game on its console.

  43. 0
    Pawsie says:

    people will still order it.. so I don’t see the problem. But I never saw the need for a middle man. If Take Two sold their own games, they can make more profit.

  44. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To DoggySpew,

    “That’s the point. If movies get an R rating no matter what level of gore in it, why shouldn’t that apply toward videogames ?”

    Then it all comes down to a conclusion that these anti-game people are just mindless freaks, these people only first strike the things that they don’t like and that is, games of course. But that doesn’t mean that they only attack games though. They may attack movies as soon as they finished their ‘job’ with games.

  45. 0
    DoggySpew ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That’s the point. If movies get an R rating no matter what level of gore in it, why shouldn’t that apply toward videogames ?

  46. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To DoggySpew,

    “If Manhunt 2 is been given an AO rating, then why didn’t Resident Evil 4 get a AO rating (Considering the decapitations in the game).”

    That’s because maybe Manhunt 2 is gorier than Resident Evil 4, considering the fact that both are horror games, there could be a possibility that Manhunt 2 has a much stronger horror content than Resident Evil 4, besides, the latter is being made in 2005 while the former is just in development, but I don’t understand why these anti-game fools just open their mouths and bark about it.

  47. 0
    Mjk1985 says:

    Well after all this, at least you guys in America get the game, the BBFC here in Britain wont even pass it, so we either have to import a copy of the game and a console to play it on (assuming its that important to you) or wait the six weeks for R* to try their appeal. If it does go through, the likely result will be that certain parts of the game are cut to appease the final board.
    Hopefully R* will fight them all the way.

  48. 0
    monte' ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Thanks for looking up the info. So i guess Sony and PC are the only ones who have no rules against AO rated games. Still, as you mentioned, Sony may have changed it’s policy after GTA was rerated, which in turn means is always possible for nintendo to fine tune their policy… such as adding a little exception that states that the only games they will not except are AO games with a great amount of Sexual material… thus Manhunt2 passes by under the new rules.

    It will be intersting to hear Nintendo’s take on this issue… Will they demand that Manhunt2 be edited and resubmited before being released on the wii, or will they make an exception and allow the game… afterall, they are trying to get rid of their “kiddie” image, and telling Rockstar to spend the money to have the game edited down might make developers think twice before making mature games for the wii; Especially when you consider that it was Nintendo who asked Rockstar to make the game for the wii… really that feels like a real bitch slap to me…

    Incorrect, Ao being only for porn games is a misconception. While it’s true that nearly all of the time they are, the ESRB has shown that a heavy amount of violence can get an AO rating. It happened with atleast two games in the past; Thrill Kill which was never released, and The Punisher, which was than edited down and resubmited to get an M rating. Both games were rated AO for their violence…. So the ESRB is probably being consitent and the game probably is just that violent. And considering you haven’t seen the footage that the ESRb has seen, you can not possibly compare it to Resident Evil 4.

  49. 0
    DoggySpew ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The ESRB should be more consistent. AO is in the past only given toward porngames. Now suddenly towards violence ?

    This is more so a political rating to please the politicians. If Manhunt 2 is been given an AO rating, then why didn’t Resident Evil 4 get a AO rating (Considering the decapitations in the game).

  50. 0
    LightWarrior ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’ve read the first few dozen comments and I must say.

    I like how in defense we always refer to the ESRB as a parental tool and how people should use it…yet when something like this happens against the fovor…….now suddenly the ESRB is not creditable?

  51. 0
    tony selby ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @majestic- AO is not the equivalent to unrated movies, it’s the equivalent to NC-17 there is a huge difference

    not rated just means that there are some scenes in the movie that were not present when the movie was sent to the MPAA, most of these scenes would never change the movie in the first place (in fact the only times where the unrated really seems to mean something is in the stupid teen comedies where the unrated means more boobs) the fact is unrated for movies is a marketing gimmick

    however NC-17 movies are generally not released in theaters, or available in retail stores (except in select stores and select theaters) very much like AO games are

  52. 0
    Majestic_12_x ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The problem with this rating is the double-standard when compared to movies on DVDs. I use to work at a movie rental store, and we openly displayed “Unrated”, “Uncut”, and “Nonrated” movies all the time. Why are movie DVDs allowed to occupy store shelves when comparable games are not? The politicians won’t give you a straight anwser for that.

  53. 0

    […] Jun 20th, 2007 by Pooch There must be some really angry executives at the Take Two Interactive office when Manhunt 2 got banned in Britain. Now the official announcement that Manhunt 2 will receive the “Adult Only” rating from the ESRB must have been a really painful blow. According to Take Two Interactive: The ESRB has issued an initial rating of AO (Adults Only) for Manhunt 2. We believe the process of rating video games is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them. Manhunt 2 was created for mature audiences and we strongly believe it should receive an M (Mature) rating, aligning it with similar content created in other forms of media. We are exploring our options with regard to the rating of Manhunt 2. For a video game publisher, an AO rating will mean that major retailers (such as Wal-mart, who accounts for 25% of retail game sales) will not carry the title. An appeal process is available for publishers who want to dispute the ratings assigned by the ESRB. (Source: technorati tag: manhunt 2, wii, playstation 2, esrb, take two, take two interactive, rockstar games […]

  54. 0
    JC says:

    @Shade, I was typing my comment and didn’t refresh to see your recent post.
    I never played Manhunt, but you got me interested in the seemingly complexity of sneaking around because of the newer AI.

    I’ve only read comments about Indigo Prophecy, and many claimed that the sex scenes weren’t needed, I’d like to know your comment about that. I did love the complexity of the story, but some felt that it was a cash in at some point given the open ended ending.

    One more thing, I’d like to see you put a review up somewhere when you do play Manhunt 2, provided it meets your expectations.

    @Ryan T’s latest comment
    On the AO rating, I agree with your points. I don’t think the end result of retailers refusing to carry it will change much however. Retailers like Gamestop gain more profit from reselling used titles as new ones, and Walmart gains more from hoping to sell more items by getting you to come to the store. So I don’t think profit margins will be affected much if they still refuse to carry AO titles. As for UK retailers & rating (especially since it is banned) I have no comments.

  55. 0
    JC says:

    I must say there are a ton of comments worth reading, while about 5 are just plain trash, took me about 30 minutes to read all these comments (150 ish).

    I agree with GamerDad, there should be a measure taken up to allow for local retailers to provide the game from behind the counter. Although there are such policies, they should still have a place for adults to acquire it. A special requirement or something. The policies must be very old by now, and should acknowledge that many gamers are in their 30s and I’m sure some are in their 40s if not 50s. Some of these individuals should be allowed to purchase it.
    I’ve looked for some online retailers for AO games to see how easy it is, and I couldn’t find a physical medium option. Perhaps my searching abilities aren’t as great, but I couldn’t do so. So, how would it be possible to obtain this game if I wanted it?

    As for the “intense” violence and that article stating that there’s a sex scene going on in the movie theatre scenario, it seems very likely that either both got it the AO rating, or it was purely the sex scene.
    However, judging by past reviews of the original manhunt having gruesome violence I’m pretty sure pushing the bar further would’ve got this rating.

    Someone mentioned earlier that the meeting with Thompson and CEO was likely a discussion about the rating and how it wouldn’t be marketed to children; and for thompson to shut up.

    films are edited heavily, there’s always editing involved as to which scene to use or what could be “racy” In fact, sometimes one little detail has to be changed for it to be rerated properly. I know of a commentary that just wanted a pubic hair to be shown, but that’d have them lose the R rating, so they nixed the pubic hair. Thus, you’re very correct on movies being edited after reviews. For premieres though, I’m pretty certain it is rare they edit them afterwards.

    I don’t know what the intended audience is, but I would think the ones who played the original and loved it. Now, it has been almost 4 years since the original was released on PS2. Even if they were 14 at the time, they are likely near or will be 18 by the time this game releases. I don’t think the rating will affect sales much, but may just excite certain teens to wanting to buy it even more now.

    I myself, am intrigued to how violent the game must be in order to obtain an AO rating. I recall reading about Thrill Kill receiving it, but that game never released and screenshots just basically show the possibility of beating your opponents with severed limbs from “previous” opponents.
    It either must be extremely horrible with some moments that’d make me turn away (similar to the eye scene in Hostel), or just hurtful from imagining it. The only example would be a scene from Battle Royale the movie, where Niida is stabbed in a certain region by Chigusa.

    Anyway, I’m very interested as to how everything will work out, or if the game will be toned down in some aspect. Many of the problems: retailers refusing to stock AO games; Nintendo policies; advertising; etc.
    I’m curious as to how everything will unfold.

  56. 0
    tony selby ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    i’m sorry but we really can’t compare an AO title to an unrated DVD, the fact of the mater is unrated DVDs is a marketing gimmick and most of them if they were submitted for rating would likely be rated the exact same thing as the original release

    an unrated DVD simply means that there is material added to the movie that was not present when they submitted the film to the MPAA, this could be because it was cut for fear of getting a stricter rating, or even simply cut for time constraints (for example the unrated versions of the Dukes of Hazard, or Alien vs predator just of the top of my head)

  57. 0
    Jatone says:

    *shrugs* If I was TT/R* I’d release 2 versions 1 the AO and 1 an M rated. That way they can have their cake and eat it to. Along with the rest of us.

  58. 0
    Ryan T. says:

    I think it’s more important now than ever that the AO rating either take a more active role with the ESRB, or go away entirely.

    The trouble with AO taking an active role, is that many retailers would likely begin to stock AO games as it becomes something more than just a “porn game” rating. What everybody has said thus far is largely true, retailers generally downright refuse to stock an AO game. But I think that reasoning is more circular than everybody realizes. It’s somewhat of a chicken-egg relationship. Do they no stock the games because they are porn, or do they not stock them because they have the AO rating. I say it’s likely the former, and that if the AO rating becomes more commonly used, and on more high profile games like Manhunt 2, retailers will begin to stock it due to ACTUAL DEMAND for those games. Lets face it, there aren’t many games on the “AO 23” most reasonable human beings will want to play except for maybe 1 or 2 (Indigo Prophecy, Director’s cut, I’ve played the edited version and it’s actually quite fun).

    If AO becomes more common, the retail industry’s dilemma changes from:

    Stock AO games(Current system):
    Cost: Outrage from people who don’t like to see it on the shelves (cause it’s mostly garbage)

    Gain: Maybe 1 or 2 sales per month

    Don’t stock AO games(current):

    Cost: Nearly nothing
    Gain: You don’t need to listen to people whine

    To this:

    Stock AO games (AO rating more common):
    Cost: Still some mild outrage, but it can be stemmed by hard restrictions on buying (card people who want to buy the game like they do for porn) so it’s not nearly as much

    Gain: Quite a few sales, because the AO games are now higher profile, and have slightly less objectionable content. (Note, I’m classifying Manhunt 2 as less objectionable than some of the all out sex simulators currently on the list, if this is true is a matter of opinion)

    Don’t stock AO games(AO rating more common)
    Cost: A decent amount of sales, because a lot of gamers may stop shopping at your store entirely

    Gain: Not nearly as much as before

    You see, the more the ESRB uses this rating, the less power of censorship it has because retailers can be influenced to stock highly popular controversial items.

    What honestly concerns me is this: Using the AO rating on stuff like manhunt 2 weakens Mature when it’s used on something like GTA. It actually becomes easier for kids to dupe their parents into purchasing a mature game by saying something like:
    “Well mom, you see, Mature games aren’t really that bad, if something’s really violent they label it “AO”…. So buy me GTA4!”

  59. 0
    Gameboy says:

    Hmmm. After reading or at least skimming all the comments, I’d say that this game deserved an AO rating. Yes, few if any retailers will stock the game. Yes, there have only been a handful of mainstream games rated AO (oddly enough most of the seem to be from Take Two/Rock Star). No, we don’t have the full story of what is in this game.

    People mention trailers, but I doubt that Take Two would really show everything in the game, especially if its a bad as the ESRB would seem to imply. They also wouldn’t want to spoil the surprises of what the game has in store for the player.

    People have mentioned Walmart and they stupidity/hypocrisy. (I mean, come on, they sell Beer and cigarettes, but I can’t get unedited Korn?) A while back some friends of mine were looking around the movie department and found an oddity. A hentai. Yes, Walmart apparently had accidentally stocked a hentai in the anime section. They bought it and gave it as a joke gift to someone else, if memory serves me right.

    @ EvilZombie

    It’s funny that thought had crossed my mind, too. Did Zelnick take the opportunity to inform Jack of the impending rating? Did he then say, “Not a peep out of you, you worthless human filth!”? We may never know. Kinda surprised considering Hack’s track record.

  60. 0
    Shade says:

    I’m 23 and recently replayed Manhunt just to remember how “bad” it was… It’s almost funny playing it now and remembering all the craziness that followed it’s release. It’s a sneak game that lacked depth… but it wasn’t all based on the killing!

    Manhunt was a game based around stealth, and an evil director filming you… the kills were fluff… stealth was the game, heck, to even execute a good kill you had to sneak around behind your enemy for awhile. From what I’ve read on the game play of MH2, sneaking is now far more complex with you needing to complete mini games to stay hidden.

    Manhunt’s story was trash, hence the game felt very repetitive and got some weak ratings for good reason. Somehow those mediocre ratings turned into everyone basing the game for only being about killing… more realistically is was bashed for; no story, same thing over and over, and stupid AI. The premise was good, the game wasn’t.

    Manhunt 2 looks good, it’s been in development for almost 4 years now and looks to be a definitive title on the Wii. The AI now acts naturally, turning randomly and hunting you like a real person. The executions are back and better than ever. Take2 literally built Manhunt 2 to fix the weaknesses in the first and thus may prove to be a superb game.

    Bash the excessive violence all you want, but to short the game merely because you assume they spent all there time on gore and not game play is stupid. R* and T2 have been very vocal about the depth of 2 and it looks pretty darn good.

    I have no complaint against the AO rating itself, I agree with the majority that it’s the way game player’s are viewed… as kids. The really funny part is that the majority of game buyers (the people that actually push the market) are over 18, yet gaming is still “for kids.”

    One thing I found funny as I was looking at the wiki page of the 23 AO games, I saw one I just happened to play on my PC, “Fahrenheit(main title); aka Indigo Prophecy Director’s Cut (US title).” It is one of the best games (it’s like a full fledged movie in front of you, a seamless combining of story and game) I’ve ever played and it got that AO rating for sex scenes and extreme violence, of course, this violence and nudity was used perfectly to bring to life the story you see occurring before you.

    I beg you all to find a “source” for Indigo Prophecy and check it out, it’s a movie in a game, and shows PERFECTLY how adult themes can be used in games to tell a compelling story… FOR ADULTS.

    Don’t judge MH2 purely for it’s violence, judge it on it’s game play, it’s story, it’s immersion… If you were to just look at the violence in Hostel or Saw, you might think it’s just a crap, hack and slash, gore movie, but in the context of their respective story lines, they become compelling horror movies.

    So let us ADULT GAMERS show that we can’t be pushed around, I was going to get MH2 before, but now I am going to make sure not only I, but every one of my friends with a Wii/PS2/PSP pick it up. We need to show the studios WE’RE the purchasers with the money, and we prefer good adult titles.

  61. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m not certain of the facts, but I’m pretty sure a fair percentage of films have to be edited after their first rating review, particuarly the more deliberately ‘racy’ ones.

    The difficulty for Rockstar is, especially after Hot Coffee, it’s not simply a question of ‘cutting out the unwanted bits’. Programming doesn’t always work like that, sometimes you cannot remove what isn’t wanted without in some way re-structuring large sections of code, kind of like refilming the movie, with the costs involved. Good programming helps, but sometimes those situations are unavoidable.

    Does the game deserve an AO rating, difficult to say, I’d certainly support an 18+ rating in the UK, but 18+ in the UK isn’t anything like 18+ in the US. I suppose it is the wider aspects of the rating that make it so unfortunate from Rockstars point of view, not the ‘value’ of it.

  62. 0
    SilverStar says:

    The difference between an AO rating and an NC-17 rating(and trust me, I’ve seen LOTS of movies that should have been rated NC-17, on the shelves at Blockbuster when I worked there. Advertised right there on the new release wall, nestled in between whatever else came out in the past 10 months), is that movies can readily be put to market on DVD, unrated. And they’ll still be carried. And in a fair number of cases, there’s R rated versions of movies, along with unrated versions that have all the stuff kept in, that was removed for the R rating.

    Video games don’t get such an opportunity in the retail space. Either they’re rated, or they’re not sold on store shelves, period.

    So, for everyone who cries about the ESRB being unfair in their ratings, and saying that the MPAA would do a better job(looking at you, Tom), remember that movies don’t have to be rated at all, when they hit the home.

    And for all the massive media blitz around this game, I don’t think it’ll even be possible for it to just fade away quickly. It’s going to sell damn well, to the very people who are the intended target audience.

  63. 0
    Wiggymaster says:

    The problem is that the AO rating amounts to corporate censorship. An NC-17 rating in theatres is referred to as a ‘box office death sentence’, and an AO rating is similar to a video game. It would be different if retailers actually *carried* AO games – it wouldn’t matter, but they do so on the basis that they don’t want to risk selling porn to a minor as there are *laws* against this.

    Since Manhunt 2 is not porn, it’s going to suffer unfairly from this rating. Fact of the matter is, no movie would receive an NC-17 rating (which replaced the ‘X’ rating in the 80s) for violence. It was a rating created specifically for porn, much the same way AO was for games. Giving it this rating when it’s not porn pretty much assures that it’s going to fall flat on its face. Fact is I can think of no store in my area that will carry it.

  64. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Anon

    I do understand that most retailers will not carry an AO game just as they will not carry an NC-17 movie. THat is their business, their rules. I am sure that there will be plenty of places to buy the game even if Wal-mart and Toy-R-Us don’t carry it.

    As for advertising, I think they have had quite a bit of advertising don’t you. Between JT and CCFC and the BBC they have had plenty of exposure, so I am sure no being in Nintendo Power won’t hurt them any.

  65. 0

    […] 23rd Game Ever to Receive An Adults Only Rating  It seems that the Florida Attorney General’s crusade against the Wii version of Manhunt 2 has caught the attention of the ESRB.  Manhunt 2 has become the 23rd game to receive an AO rating. This just in from Take Two Interactive, publisher of the embattled Manhunt 2:The ESRB has issued an initial rating of AO (Adults Only) for Manhunt 2.We believe the process of rating videogames is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them.Manhunt 2 was created for mature audiences and we strongly believe it should receive an M (Mature) rating, aligning it with similar content created in other forms of media. We are exploring our options with regard to the rating of Manhunt 2. Click here for more on the Manhunt 2 AO rating( Click here for more on the Florida Attorney General vs. Wii Manhunt( Published Tuesday, June 19, 2007 11:45 PM by Dark T Prophecy Filed under: Manhunt 2, ESRB, Take Two […]

  66. 0
    marc says:

    Somethings people might not have yet considered- along with not being sold in major retail stores, most media outlets (magazines, television, g4) might also decline to advertise the game also. for the casual gamer who only reads the occasional magazine, they might not even hear about the game. that hurts the sale also. Im sure tv shows like x-play or what ever that one show on Spike tv is wont cover this game for reviews maybe the occasional news update on the feed or something like that but i doubt you’ll see adam sesler or morgan webb giving a review on the game.

  67. 0
    Anon says:

    Actually, we are not the ones crying for the AO rating beleive it or not.

    You do realize, that the AO rating effectively kills the sales of this game. The AO rating gives this game porn related status. Therefore, it probably wont be sold at toys r us or walmart etc.

    The double standard is when movies like hostel and saw 1,2, and 3 are put into movies when they are 17+ type movies, and not NC 17 etc etc.

  68. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I love this. For months I have been reading this site and for months you people have been yelling for the ESRB to step up to bat and use the AO rating more liberally.

    Now they have and the same people are crying “Censorship!!”

    You people make me sick with your twisted views and flip flopping. The AO rating is for anything that is deemed too inappropriate for any child whether that is sexual content or violence.

    This is not censorship. This is giving people what they want. They want a rating that tells them what is in the game and what age the game is appropriate for. That is what the ESRB has done. Get over it. The game is not banned from sale in the US and never will be. Just because you can’t go to Wal-mart to get it does not make this censorship.

    Grow up people.

  69. 0
    SilverStar says:

    You know, after seeing responses across the internet, it makes me wonder..

    How many of the people crying foul about the game getting an AO rating, are both mature enough AND old enough to be able to handle playing it?

    In general, it feels like the ones complaining the loudest, are the potty mouth preteens who get mocked on youtube for screaming about their chocolate milk, or being told to go to bed because they have school the next day, or the anonymous entitlement halfwits who think everything should be without limit of any sort.

    IE, either those too young to buy the game by themselves, or those not mentally stable and emotionally mature enough to understand that life isn’t always about what they want. Both of which would be very much NOT the correct audience for a game of this nature.

  70. 0
    Kincyr ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “How long till JT decalares victory?”
    I don’t know, he predicted that it would get an ‘M’ rating. And he didn’t say “at least an ‘M’ rating” so his prediction, like nearly everything else he’s tried, failed.

  71. 0
    Matt Laidlaw says:

    The ESRB is doing what the MPAA has done with movies viewed as to violent or overly sexual by rating it Adult or NC-17. So what I see happing soon is an underground indi following of games viewed “not normal” or “counter culture”. So have hope we can still get the game, all these “letter writters” have done is pulled it off the shelves and made every kid want to play it. I mean every person knows if something is wrong then of course kids want to do it. I bet Jack Douche Bag Thompson is looking at this as the vehicle to destroy free speach and artistic expression. If only parents would stop being so considered what their kids are watching, reading, listing to, and playing and just be responsible loving parents and stop blaming kids “problems” on what they do; try instead looking at how you have been raising your children then you might realize whats really wrong. We live in a society of me,me,me and buy, buy, buy, work, work, work. If parents didn’t work so much to pay off that brand new SUV of death and stop putting their kids in day cares, and stop expecting schools, teachers and other parents to take care of their kids then maybe, just maybe we wont have some much violence caused by youths. I thought this was the land of the proud and the free, well every day I feel less proud, and even less free.

  72. 0
    Mr. Blond ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I still have the belief that AO and NC-17 should be reserved for sexual content. Manhunt 2 may be the goriest game out there, but I feel that if it gets this rating for violence alone, it will set a bad precedent.

  73. 0
    JBourrie says:

    “It’s official…Manhunt 2 has been officially banned in the United States.”

    Not quite yet… they have the option of toning down the worst bits and resubmitting for a new rating. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what they choose to do, especially if Nintendo/Sony won’t allow AO games on their systems (it would be their only choice).

  74. 0

    […] Earlier today, I broke the disappointing news that Manhunt 2 was deemed too harmful for an overprotected British public, pushing back the progression of civil liberties several decades and making me wonder if I lived in the UK or communist China. With that in mind, it seems that America has no intention of being left out of the overreaction happy fun party as the ESRB has seen fit to slap an 'Adults Only' rating on Rockstar's much maligned boogeyman-in-DVD-form. […]

  75. 0
    PlayItBogart says:

    I do like how everyone assumes kids all over the world will be playing Manhunt 2 on their Wiis the instant the game comes out.

    If you’re so stupid that you buy a game with a cover like Manhunt 2, and a title like “Manhunt” thinking it’s some cuddly game with teddy bears and graham crackers, then your kids deserve to play Manhunt 2, because they sure as hell aren’t getting any sense of reality from you.

  76. 0
    BmK ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So the game is rated AO. Personally i wouldn’t care but since no retailers will sell AO rated games and none of the big console companies will allow AO rated games on their systems it is essencially banned unless a PC version is made and is sold over the internet.

    Personally i am at the point where i think the ESRB and MPAA should ditch their hightest ratings (the AO and NC-17) since their are essencially unreleasable due to moralist prudes. To be perfeclty honest i wouldn’t mind seeing all age based ratings systems done away with altogether as age limits are inherently arbitrary and replaced with just content warnings instead. Maybe rate games and movies for their sex/nudity, violence, foul language, substance use, and other objectionable material on a scale of 1 to 5.

  77. 0
    Black Manta ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Evil Zombie

    Your theory might hold water, and I even wondered the same thing myself. Take 2’s press release stating they intend to appeal the AO rating casts some doubt onto that however. Otherwise, they would have said they were pleased with the rating rather than want to contest it.

  78. 0
    Josh says:

    First off let me say that if the game is as violent as I have heard then I agree with the AO rating. BUT what I don’t agree with is the fact that the AO and NC-17 ratings are the kiss of death to products. These two ratings ARE censorship! It’s either change it for a lower rating or suffer as your product is unable to reach mainstream audiences.

    I just wonder how long before we see “unrated” videogame releases in the form of digital distribution. Wal-Mart carries “unrated” DVDs only a few months after the censored versions leave theaters. Perhaps when digital distribution is THE way to get video games will the ratings actually do their job of protecting children, and not just damaging video game company’s profits.

  79. 0
    Bandit1108 says:

    you people are saying this might deserve an AO rating, but head over to newgrounds or a place like that and I guarantee you that there will be stuff much worse than this. I believe that violence alone gets an M, and violence and sex get an AO. Also, the retailers should stock it anyway. they carry unrated movies, so why not this?

  80. 0
    Lichbane ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Sounds like a good move. Will this stop adults who want it from ordering it directly from Rockstar? Not really. Will it stop it getting into the hands of the “kiddies”? Not really …. but it will stop parents from buying it over the counter for their 13yo little Johnny without thinking about what their doing.

    So what’s the problem?

  81. 0
    finaleve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Shariq Ansari, while it may be true that both games and movies are 2 different forms of entertainment. THey both fall under the same catagory of what they show. While games invlove the players to act out the role of the characters, you see those actions. Movies are about the same, though without someone playing them (based within the movie of course). There are some really violent movies out there, and some of them are easily purchased by kids. My brother purchased an R movie when he was only 16. You shouldn’t be allowed to do that, yet he did.

    I’m still getting this game. I respect that the ESRB doesn’t want to take any flack if the game gets a mature rating. I wouldn’t either. I played Manhunt 1, and it shouldnt have gotten such a low rating (M i believe, which wasn’t enough).

  82. 0
    EvilZombie says:

    Maybe this is what JT and Rockstar had a secret meeting about. Atleast now JT can’t go after it. It’s rated AO, kids can’t get it at stores, what more could he want.

  83. 0
    Kirk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Just to point something out. On Kotaku they have a list of all the AO rated video games (23). Most of them are PC. And alot of those are just pron games.

  84. 0
    SpaceGandhi says:

    Give me gratuitous amounts of death or give me…well, um…death. I have nothing against Manhunt 2 being given an AO, it’s a amazingly violent game. I mean it has testicular mutilation for Jack Thompson’s sake! I think thew AO rating might in fact help sales. Use it as an entire add campaign, “Manhunt 2, the game they don’t want you to play!” So, Take 2, I say to you, release Manhunt 2 in all its gory glory with a full AO rating and tell the ESRB “We’re not afraid of you!”

  85. 0
    me says:

    The biggest problem here is that most retailers still see video games as kids toys. That’s a huge overlying issue on why AO games aren’t sold in stores.

  86. 0
    Garrett ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I liked the first. Hell, I like all “sneak games” which is essentially what Manhunt was about. I’ll buy it, even if it is AO. The ESRB is probably giving the game AO under the fire that it’s receiving, but we won’t know ’till it comes out.
    Ordering from Rock* shouldn’t be a problem. It keeps the parents from accidentally, stupidly buying the game for the kids. And if a kid is smart enough to order it online, they are smart enough to order porn, illegal items, AND keep it a secret. Sure, it will hurt that it can’t be in stores, but if Rock* can gain some kind of intelligence (even after last year’s fiasco) this can be turned into a hit, with the proper advertising. Well, if it doesn’t suck.

  87. 0
    illspirit ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Found a PS2 license at findlaw, and it doesn’t appear to have a rating limit. ‘Tis possible they’ve changed this after the Coffeegate fiasco though..

    The MS contract is rather brutal in regards to AO. If a game is re-rated to AO, the developer has to eat all the costs of the of a recall, and if a developer chooses not to fix the rating (due to re-rating or pre-release), they’re still required to pay MS the royalties for the agreed upon minimum amount of units.

  88. 0
    Austin Lewis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Congratulations ESRB, you have done nothing of any worth yet again.
    Oh no! A 17 year old can’t buy the game! Wait, one of his 18 year old friends can!

  89. 0
    monte' ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Terrible Tom

    ok, based on what illspirit says, assuming it does amount to that you would NEVER see an AO rated game on nintendo or microsoft (also possibly Sony… aisde from GTA:SA… which is kind of evidence that, if Sony does have a poilcy like Nintendo and Microsoft, would prove that companies can make exceptions to their licencing agreements)… you could also blame those companies for Psuedo cencorship… i guess PC’s stand alone there. But still, can’t pin blame on the ESRB, who is just doing their job in what they see as the most effiecient and unbaised approached… playing the game wouldn’t help much, so that would be inefficient, and using gamers to rate the games could easily create a bias in how the games are rated and make the ratings useless to those who need them the most.

  90. 0
    Volcanman says:

    //My only question is what separates an M game from an AO game? one year right? I’m curious as to what magically happens in that one year that makes the difference. //

    I’ve always thought of that, and never really understood why. I guess it’s just that AO generally tends to mean porn which is illegal one way or another to sell to minors, while M rated means something else other than porn (the worst I’ve seen is T&A) as well as / or alot of violence.

    And sorry for the double post, the computer I’m using right now sucks >

  91. 0
    Grombar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    If you think it’s wrong to rate the game AO based only on what they’ve seen, what makes you so sure it should be rated M when you’ve seen much less than they have?

  92. 0
    monte' ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Terrible Tom

    The least you can do is complaign to the right poeple. Your primary concern seems to be the psudeo cencorship, then the ones you should be attacking are the retailers, not the ESRB. The ESRB is just doing their job, if the game is violent enough to warrent an AO rating, then it must get an AO rating. The ESRB is not going to give a game a lower rating just so it can be sold, that would be going agianst their policies… i mean really, you complaign that the ESRB is no good but than expect them to give a lower rating just so the game will be sold? being bad goes both ways, you can judge both too harshly or too lienently… survey’s have shown that most poeple agree with the ratings as they are, while some think they are too harsh and others think they are too lenient. The ESRb aren’t the ones who told retailers not to carry those games, that was all the retailers doing. Like i said, if the retailers were carrying those games you probably wouldn’t be complaigning right now.

    As for playing the game when rating, how much more can you really learning by playing the game as opposed to just watching footage of it. What about playing the game would actually give you a different impression of the game. The Developers send the ESRB all they need to see; all that playing the game would do is help them confirm what they already thought about the game from the footage… Really, the difference would probably be very minimal at best.

    as for those who rate the games, the ESRB was designed to help inform parents, so the ratings that they create must reflect the standards of the average parent. Parents are the ones who actually need to look at the ratings to buy games for their kids, and when they buy a game based on the rating, then they expect to get a game that suites THEIR standard of what that rating means. Using the “average joe” is the best method to match the standards that parents have. Using gamers, especially ones that would play those kind of games, would probably scew the results ending with ratings that are too lenient (violent game players are bound to be more lenient than non-gamers). Parents would loose all faith in the ESRB system if the T rated games they got were constantly more violent and sexual then what they would expect in a game meant for a 14 year old. the ESRB also don’t use “soccer moms” or the overly concerned save the children types, cause those in turn would be too harsh. Really, the “average joe” is the most fair and unbiased way to get a true rating that reflects the opinion of those that actually use the ESRB system when they make a purchase.

  93. 0
    Volcanman says:

    //My only question is what separates an M game from an AO game? one year right? I’m curious as to what magically happens in that one year that makes the difference. //

  94. 0
    niceaznguy721 says:

    “How long till JT decalares victory? “

    more or less, he cant really declare a victory since his “goal” in his life (if you can call it that) is to ban violent video games overall, we can still purchase manhunt 2 off Rockstars official site, and if the reviews are good,
    then you can imagine how many people will go crazy for it.

  95. 0
    Gunwing54 says:

    Why are we attacking the ESRB, the same agency we told the non-gaming public to look at for “credible ratings” when the legislation in Illinois and the other states were put out not to long ago? Didn’t we argue that playing through the entire game is not only impossible in some cases but even ridiculous? Even if the ESRB don’t employ “trained, professional” gamers…is that really necessary to rate a game called “MANHUNT”? What type of degree do you want the raters? And are we not just a little bit bias towards this whole deal?

    It got an AO rating and frankly, like some other people viewing this site, I think that Manhunt 2 does deserve that rating. There’s nothing wrong with having to order this game online, the worst being that you now have to pay shipping instead of the gas you would use to drive to Wal-Mart.

    While us gamers as a collective will always stand by the fact that JT is wrong in his beliefs that “games can brainwash us to be killers”, Rockstars move to create such a game is only putting gas on the fire. If you actually have to use the Wiimote/Nunchuck in the same way you would use it to choke someone in real life, then it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that it would eventually be targeted as being distasteful and downright wrong.

    The case that critics use to discredit the “double standard” between movies and games is the interactivity. Movies are passive, you sit down and just open your eyes and ears, something pop’s up, you react instinctively. Video games are active, you have to be active to the conditions presented to the gamer. You have to constantly think, plan your next move and press the buttons or in this case wave your hands. The movement of the game is to a degree controlled completely by the gamer. Movies are more or less moving pictures.

    While we as gamers are able to tell the difference between the fictional events we play out on our consoles/PC. We have to understand and remember that even though fictional, they can still be distasteful and not accepted by everyone.

  96. 0
    MemphisVines says:

    If the retailers want to stock it or not that is entirely up to them, personally i suspect rockstar may alter the game to have two forms similar to the way they do CD’s now, a regular release which will sneak by under the AO rating so that all stores will carry it, and some sort of special edition which is what the game currently is or possibly even more violent that they sell through their website and what retailers that will carry it.

  97. 0
    gs2005 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think GamerDad has an excellent point. Also, knucklehead politicians who still believe that video games are only for children are still not getting the message-maybe Manhunt 2 will make them realize their short sighted thinking. An AO rating should not be the “kiss of death”-it’s time to deal with this issue.

    Walmart be damned.

  98. 0
    illspirit ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    monte’: “I don’t recall any cases of Sony or nintendo forbidding AO content on their systems”

    2001 GBA license agreement, in section 4.3:

    NOA shall promptly evaluate the Game with regard to (a) its technical compatibility with and error-free operation on the GAME BOY ADVANCE system, and (b) its compliance with the game content guidelines of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (“ESRB”). LICENSEE shall provide NOA with a certificate of a rating for the Game from the ESRB other than “AO” or “ADULTS ONLY”.

    And I’d almost bet money the Wii license has the same terms. Take 2’s current license with Microsoft (SEC filing, scroll waaay down), section 4.4 reads in part:

    For those Sales Territories that utilize a content rating system, Microsoft will not accept submission of a Software Title for Certification approval unless and until Publisher has obtained, at Publisher’s sole cost, a rating not higher than “Mature (17+)” or its equivalent from the appropriate rating bodies and/or any and all other independent content rating authority/authorities for the applicable Sales Territory(ies) reasonably designated by Microsoft (such as ESRB, ELSPA, CERO, etc. ).

    Haven’t been able to dig up Sony’s yet though.

  99. 0
    Fizzlefist says:

    Definitely didn’t see this one coming… Most games have some sort of story that give the violence a reason. If the plot of Manhunt 2 is anything similar to the first game, than the entire game is based around killing for the sheer gruesome entertainment value. There are absolutely no redeeming features to Manhunt. With the ESRB definition of the AO rating, can anyone really be surprised?

  100. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    With you 100% on that, actually, the important thing here I think it to get people to accept that Adults play games to, and like those little ‘card games for couples’ you can get from XXX-shops etc, Adults like to play a little differently to Children.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head that the problem, really, is with the AO rating itself, it’s not represented well enough, the problem isn’t that retailers ‘market to kids’, so much as retailers (and anti-gamers) don’t understand the concept of marketting video games to adults.

  101. 0
    green_ghost5 says:

    ok, so this really f***in sucks balls, but those of us who want to play we can still get it, hopefully gamestop, and eb will carry this, they know it will sell, and theres rockstars website, too, it is not the end, but hey I thought it should have been M, but we don’t get to decide upon that, and if eb and gamestop does’nt carry i feel sorry for those who pre ordered if there was a pre order.

  102. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    Say what you will, but obviously if im against censorship or pseudo-censorship im obviously not a pro-thompson guy(moron).

    How can you rate a game that you havn’t played. I’m not saying you need to play through the entire thing but I fail to see how want to rate a game and only reveiw a movie displaying its content that isn’t even reflecting anything besides parts that people might find offensive.

    And even that isn’t my main beef with it. The fact their entire rating system is flawed and they are just average joes that think they can do a good job rating a video game.

    I’m slowly loosing faith in the game industry’s ability to stand up for artistic expression. I personally havn’t seen any results even worth mentioning, I feel like my money would have served me better if I would have given it to Ron Paul. At least he keeps busy and tries to get things done.

    Rockstar is awesome, not many companies would have the courage to even try to release such a game. People need to be pushing the envelope and I just wish someone was there supporting them and also trying to fix the way games are rated. Sure my ideas arn’t the best but I can’t honestly say the way it works now is any better.

    Not only does the game industry have to worry about politicians and anti-game activist there is also pseudocensorship in the process of assigning ratings(which seems to be our own fault) and of course lets not forget the fact they seem to be afraid to do anything about it because they fear its going to make it worse. Fear is for the cowardly and the weak. I’ll fight alone if I must.

  103. 0
    GamerDad says:

    This game should be rated AO.

    The ESRB has it exactly right.

    But AO games SHOULD be sold in most retail stores.
    I’d argue we NEED this rating for special circumstances, but the fact that AO basically means “BANNED” we need to fix the AO problem before we start effectively banning games aimed appropriately at adults.


  104. 0
    EOTD says:

    We won’t really know until the game is out how justified this rating is. My first instinct is that, frankly, it’s a tough call, and the ESRB is right to err on the side of caution. If the Wii version’s controls do in fact involve pantomiming the events onscreen, then the AO is, without a doubt, a good idea – it’s creepy to even think about, let alone play. But even on the other versions, it’s still possibly the most graphically violent game ever made. The ESRB would be crazy to not consider an AO rating initially, and I’m sure they used their best judgement in deciding between the M and the AO. Take Two is going to appeal, I’m sure, but I doubt they’re going to be successful.

  105. 0
    monte' ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Considering that footage shows only one violent back attack and a shotgun shot from close range, while trailers and such imply a much more violent game, I’d be willing to bet that that’s only the tip of the iceberg there, and is not much compared to what the ESRB has probably seen while they were rating the game. Again, we are in no position to judge what this game should be rated because we have not seen what the ESRB has seen.

  106. 0
    monte' ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Just because retailers choose to sell Manhunt2 does not at all mean they have to allow any other AO rated games. The retailers have the full right to choose exactly what they want to sell and who they sell it to. If they want to make an exception for Manhunt2 but refuse all other games, that is their right. Publishers and gamers can whine all they want about it being unfair, the power is in the hand of the retailers. Unlike laws, retailers can make adjustments and exceptions to their company policies all they want.

    Ya’know i’m actually wondering if atleast a few retailers may make an exception for Manhunt2… i mean, the whole reason i think they have that no AO rated games policy is because AO rated games usually have sexual content that goes beyond what those retailers are willing to carry. Manhunt2 however, if it doesn’t have sexual content any worse than any other M rated game, would get it’s rating based off of it’s violence. So i would wonder if atleast a few retialers would take that into consideration in determining if they would be willing to carry it, or if they are solidly against AO ratings no matter what the reason… we really don’t have any past to go off since any game that would have recieved an AO rating for violence was edited and resubmited for an M rating.

    Well, Gamestop could still choose to honor the preorders, but once those are out of the way and they get rid of any remaining intial stock of the game they have, the stores could just cancel any resupply of the game… honor the preorders and THEN stoping selling it.

    It’s true that those who want the game will find a way to get it, but the problem for publishers is that a majority of games sales are more like impulse buys or customers who only halfheartedly want the game. Those kind of poeple may not be willing to go looking for a game that they can not find in their local Wal-mart… I recall asking why wal-mart of all retailers made up the most sales and i believe the responce someone gave me was because many of the games sold are bought by poeple who just say the game and bought it on impulse or poeple who are just to lazy to look anywhere else to buy a game.


    I don’t recall any cases of Sony or nintendo forbidding AO content on their systems, though that could be because many games that would get an AO rating are edited and resubmited to be knocked down to M rating… not to mention the only current AO games out there are the sexual ones; though GTA wasn’t exactly banned from the PS2 after it was rerated to AO, whihc means atleast Sony is willing to make exceptions… and also that this game is probably AO for violence not sex, which could make a difference. However, i kind of doubt Nintendo would refuse the game at this late stage in the game. Nintendo is often seen as being a rather kid friendly company, an image which tends to push away many M rated developers which in turn, turns away the older audience. As it is, the Wii will only be getting a handfull of M rated games, unlike the other consoles which get many. This is why Nintendo went to rockstar in the first place, to attract more developers and get rid of “the nintendo is only for kids” image… Stopping Manhunt2’s release (especially only a few weeks before release) may seriously damage their chances of attracting more developers. Honestly, if i was a developer(especially a really good one who could make a lot of money on any console), i would be rather turned off by that kind of news.

    I mean, video games cost millions to make… the last thing you would want to happen would be to complete the game only to have it turned away from the console because the game is too violent… Sure, Nintendo does have a few M rated games on it and they might say that they would only do it for AO rated games, but with their current track record, that’s not the message that the publishers and developers are gonna see… their just gonna see “nintendo is a kiddie company that doesn’t like violent games”… they’ll just say screw it and go make games for Sony and microsoft

  107. 0
    BT says:


    I’m not quite sure what your point IS, but I’m under 18 and have played both of those games. SanAn was pretty fun, but VC was better. Manhunt was just useless violence, without too much interesting gameplay.

    And I agree, it will be interesting to see what happens with Nintendo on this one. Maybe they will shift policy.

  108. 0
    gs2005 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This should be interesting-a mainstream software developer releasing something that is AO. The fact that is seems to have a couple of good previews makes this story even more unique…

  109. 0 says:


    Sony and Nintendo do not allow AO games to be published. Retailer policies are irrelevant in this case.

    I assure you, your time is better spent on Pac-Man:CE anyway. That should be AO because it IS crack.

  110. 0 says:


    Sony and Nintendo do not allow AO games to be published. Retailer policies are irrelevant in this case.

    I assure you, your time is better spent on Pac-Man:CE anyway. That’s should be AO because it IS crack.

  111. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Remember, a retailer has no requirement to follow precedent though, their decision to not have the power of law, so if Walmart decided to stock Manhunt 2 and yet not to stock other AO rated games, there’s nothing really that anyone can do about it, you could try crying discrimination, but because Walmart pay for what they stock, it is their own property, and therefore their decision what to buy and sell, at least, that’s the way it works in the UK, otherwise you’d not be able to move in Tescos for all the different brand names.

    I’m not saying that means Walmart will or won’t consider stocking it, I don’t have the faintest idea on how the operate and there are no Walmarts in the UK, but just pointing out that if they wanted to, they could.

  112. 0
    JBourrie says:

    “Retailers who do not stock AO games will not ‘cave in’ because of demand, it doesn’t matter if it’s the most popular game ever or if they have a million pre-orders for it… if they let Manhunt 2 on their shelves, they have no choice but to open the doors to a mountain of porn games, too. They do not care if a game is AO because it is too violent or if it’s because there’s too much sex.”

    That’s an interesting point, and a probable explanation why there’s an NC-17 rating AND an X-rating for movies.

    Of course, the other way to look at it is that they can stock whatever they damned well please. If they want to stock AO game #27 but not AO games #1-26, that’s their right as a retailer. In fact, that’s exactly what they do right now with small-market game titles. Unless they feel it’s worth the shelf space, they won’t put the game in their store… publishers often have to bribe them just to stock a particular niche title (you get X copies of Halo, but only if you’re willing to buy X copies of Grabbed by the Ghoulies).

  113. 0
    DeusPayne ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As I said in the last news post: (reworded for current info)

    I’m glad it’s AO, I hope Nintendo OKs it, and I hope this ends the final debate of “we need to protect our children”. Fuck off… it’s AO. If you’re too stupid to know what MATURE means, maybe an ADULT ONLY rating will get these stupid politicians to abandon the age old “must protect the childrens” ploy. I hope rockstar stands their ground and doesn’t appeal the AO.

  114. 0
    Elsimer ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    ESRB’s definition of the AO rating:
    Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

    MPAA’s definition of the R rating:
    In the opinion of the Rating Board, this film definitely contains some adult material. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about this film before they allow their children to accompany them. An R-rated film may include strong language, violence, nudity, drug abuse, other elements, or a combination of the above, so parents are counseled in advance to take this advisory rating very seriously.

    Now NC-17:
    In the opinion of the Rating Board, this film definitely contains some adult material. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about this film before they allow their children to accompany them. An R-rated film may include strong language, violence, nudity, drug abuse, other elements, or a combination of the above, so parents are counseled in advance to take this advisory rating very seriously.

    So as far as whether an AO is directly analogous to an R or an NC-17, it’s up for grabs. There’s a big difference between the implied definition and the actual definition. So far as most parents are concerned, NC-17 means their kid isn’t going to see it no matter how old he may be. Same for an AO game (assuming the parent is sufficiently educated about the rating system). The fact that most retailers won’t carry an AO game might be simply a market decision because history has shown most AO games are… well, crap! You look at the list of AO titles and the vast majority fit the community standard definition of porn in areas those stores service (which stores get in trouble for even if it fits into the gray area). The leftover games… well, it’s so much better to have a blanket policy than spinning the business rule to “we’ll sell games rated AO if they were rated on violence instead of sexual content”

  115. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Well, I’m never one to favour Censorship, mainly because it suggests that people are too stupid to decide for themselves, if a game is awful, it won’t sell…unless it’s been censored.

    But, I do, however, agree with you that the whole ‘slash and stab’ genre of game is getting far too long in the tooth now, the only reason it has perpetuated beyond the sensible ‘fade’ point is because of the attentions of censors, and the extra profit that such attention brings. I’d like to see a shift in the market back toward more cereberal games, it’s a position I’ve often stated, certainly, Eastern Europe is starting to produce Space Trading and Empire Building games of exceptional quality, whereas the American Market seems to be relying entirely on Spore as it’s ‘original’ game.

    So, I don’t agree with this censorship, but, personally, I’d prefer they’d just leave the entire Genre alone so that it can fade a bit and make room for other styles of game.

  116. 0
    MaskedPixelante ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    *le sigh* OK, can I ask a couple things?

    1. Have we seen this game yet? How can we say it doesn’t deserve an AO rating if we haven’t seen it.
    2. Is this for all versions, or just the Wii version?
    3. Didn’t the ESRB say that it officially rated the game BEFORE all these people got mad for the wrong reasons?

  117. 0
    4gotn says:

    The difference is that 18 is the “age of majority.”

    I’ll paraphrase for you: until you’re 18, whether you like it or not, your parents still have both legal control over you and a legal responsibility for you. So unless you’re legally emancipated like Macauley Culkin (who at this point is way past the age of majority), your parents legally control your access to this ultraviolent media.

    Not that I see why it matters to you, since you’re over 18…

  118. 0
    Dave says:

    Yeah I didn’t read the whole wall so I don’t know if everyone is still arguing about the game/movie comparison… but a movie doesn’t need to be porn to get a NC-17 rating. Look at hatchet or the August Underground trilogy. It’s pure violence.

    And still, this shouldn’t be AO… the only reason for it is the motion sensors, not the game footage itself.

    Still, I don’t care what it’s rated because I’ll be able to get it regardless. I would just rather pick it up in a store instead of wait on and pay for shipping, etc.

  119. 0
    evilrockstu says:

    Something to keep in mind…

    Retailers who do not stock AO games will not ‘cave in’ because of demand, it doesn’t matter if it’s the most popular game ever or if they have a million pre-orders for it… if they let Manhunt 2 on their shelves, they have no choice but to open the doors to a mountain of porn games, too. They do not care if a game is AO because it is too violent or if it’s because there’s too much sex.

  120. 0
    Kirk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Good point Ryan T. I didn’t think profile. Plus since Gamestop has already taken orders (c’mon does anyone think that Gamestop will give back money!?!?) That can be a good logic to a larger release if the game stays AO(doubtful).

    I’ve got my money on the game being brought down a notch by R* to get a M rating.

  121. 0
    bayushisan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    We really have to stop comparing movies and games. While both have artistic merits its the interactivity of games that diverts them from comparison.

    In movies you are a passive observer, and while your andrenaline may go up and down during particularly frightening or exciting scenes it is not the same as playing through the scenario as a participant.

  122. 0
    IMRavnos says:

    HA HA HA HA too funny. Serves em right. You can be a good game with violence or you can be a game that uses it’s over the top gonzo brand of violence to “beg” for “im”mature people to buy it. Manhunt and Manhunt 2 are both the later type of game.

    I’m no prissy when it comes to violence but it can go too far and as far as video games go we all know that most parents are partly RETARDED and do stuff like buy their 13 year olds San Andreas because little timmy really really wants it bad. This is the ESRB doing what it was designed to do, keep filth from childrens eyes and ears.

    To prove my point, anyone under the age of 18 comment here if you played San Andreas or Manhunt.

  123. 0
    JBourrie says:


    Since it just barely received the rating a few hours ago, I doubt Nintendo has even made a decision yet (unless they had already knew it would probably be AO).

    Nintendo were the ones that approached R* about putting it on the Wii. Nintendo wants it on the Wii. That leads me to think they’re probably secretly happy that it will be such a controversial game… it certainly helps Nintendo get away from the kiddie image that people associate them with.

  124. 0
    Starsmore says:

    My beef with this is that someone goes to point out that an AO rating is akin to an unrated version of a movie, comparing t&a and violence.

    So how come I can go get a copy of Hostel (Unrated) at Wal-Mart, but won’t be able to get Manhunt2 (AO)?

    It’s the same thing, after all!

    This is just another example of the lovely hipocracy we have ni the US

  125. 0
    JBourrie says:

    Just one more thought on the “will GameStop stock it?” question…

    They have been taking pre-orders for months. Imagine the awful PR when GameStop tells all gamers that they refuse to honor those pre-orders due to censorship.

    I can’t imagine them being that stupid.

  126. 0
    Tammej says:

    I don’t see what the problem is. Given what this game is about, isn’t it obvious to anyone that only adults should play it? So rate it adult only, go by the book, that’s fine by me. Just don’t come whining to me when some kids get their greasy hands on it through some other ways, ‘causing some kinda ruckus. It should be their parents responsibility to keep them away from this.

  127. 0
    Ryan T. says:



    That’s a reasonable point, I was perhaps overly general with my initial analysis. But, I still think that it will largely be an “if you build it, they will come” type of scenario. Anybody who wants Manhunt 2, and who was willing to pay 50 some odd dollars on the game to begin with, will probably be willing to find where it is sold.
    I also think you are missing the big picture. In the past, it’s been difficult to find AO games, this is true, but I somehow doubt the fact that this game is somewhat large in profile than any other Adults Only game ever released will be lost on a lot of retailers. Rest assured, it will probably be easier to find than you think it will.

  128. 0
    Kirk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That is what happened to….I think it was 25 to life. There was some crappy cop game that the politicians rallied behind last year. The developers even told the politicians that it wouldn’t have sold as well as it had if they hadn’t given it so much attention.

  129. 0
    MemphisVines says:

    This is just a theory, but with all this attention this game is going to sell out incredibly fast, and then the major retailers are going to suddenly decide to stock it.

    Personally i hadent planned on picking it up, but after all the mud that has been slung about it and its banning in Britain or atleast refusal to be rated it seems more like an exercise in my rights than just some video game, and that makes it worth getting.

  130. 0
    Kirk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    You are missing the point. It isn’t just a few major retailers. Try all of the major retailers. I only saw one store sell an AO game (Fry’s Electronics had the AO version of Leisure Suit Larry) and I doubt that will occur this time. AO is the equivelant of a brick and mortar ban of the game. As well as a online ban ( will not carry it). Finding a website…a trusted website… that would sell the game would be a HUGE pain.

    I do agree with you though that we shouldn’t be upset about the AO rating in general. The only problem I will have is that some parent organization will try and claim credit for “putting parental pressure on the evil ESRB”.

    Ultimately though, we should be upset at the lack of availability for an AO game (this inhibits the game from being sold period).

  131. 0
    Ace of Sevens ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Wow. This story commentd up fast. The game probably deserves the AO. The big question issue is not just retail. Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart won’t carry AO and they account for a substantial percentage of game sales. THere’s also the platform consideration. Will Sony and Nintendo allow AO content on their systems? Historically, they haven’t.

  132. 0
    monte' ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Actually a few things… First, so far, it’s been said that Manhunt 2 will recieve an AO rating, not just Manhunt 2 for the wii… so unless we hear that the other versions of the game get an M rating, that would mean that only the content was really considered for the rating, and not the wii. Second, the ESRB’s decision to make the game rated AO was all on it’s own… Considering when the game is coming out and what was said by Vnace in the other GP article, i would wager that they decided on the rating a couple of weeks ago. News of “protect the children” groups demanding an AO rating of the game as well as the UK banning the game didn’t come out till earlier today. Unless the ESRB takes to the UK’s rating group (which i doubt), they would not be buckled under any pressure to rate the game anymore then they normally would.

    @Terrible Tom

    Have you seen anykind of game footage of the game? cause if i recall there only trailers out, trailers of which do not contain nearly as much footage as what the ESRB is usually given. Meaning, the ESRB and other rating groups are the ONLY poeple around who can say what the game should actually be rated… you have little to no basis for saying it does not deserve an AO rating and that the ESRB is wrong. Hell, considering the UK went as far as Banning the game, i’d say the violent content of the game is pretty damn extreme.

    And ofcourse, as the ESRB has shown wiht the game the Punisher (before it was edited and resubmitted), that they are willing to give the AO rating based on violent content if it warrents it; it’s not a rating that is only reserved for games that contain a lot of sexual material. The ESRB has an AO rating for a reason, because their is such thing as content thats more extreme than what falls under the M rating. If you want to whine about the AO rating, don’t whine to the ESRB who are just doing their job and trying to remain consistent with their ratings, whine to the retailers that refuse to carry the game which hurt the sales… i mean, if AO was carried by retailers just as M rated games are, i’d imagine you probably wouldn’t be whining right now.

  133. 0
    Ryan T. says:

    Sorry, just thought this required clarification. The Ryan who posted regarding the change between 17 and 18 year olds and the Ryan who posted “My analysis of the situation” are two different people. I am the second one. Sorry for the confusion but I just thought I should clear it up. I didn’t see the first post, it was likely posted while I was writing mine. I’ll go by Ryan T. if anybody wishes to adress my post.

  134. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’ve no problem with the AO rating, we can’t really say ‘Kids don’t play Adult Games’ and then complain at an Adult Rating. The problem is, the Anti-Game crowd use what is called a ‘ratchet’ mechanism for introducing censorship, they screamed for an AO and the game ended up AO (In fact, it was AO BEFORE they screamed, but that won’t matter to them). You can be certain that the next time round, they’ll be screaming for outright banning, it’s a ratchet, once you can lock yourself at one level, you start aiming for the next one.

    It’ll be interesting to see how things develop in the next few months.

  135. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    “To define a 17 year old as Mature, but an 18 year old as Adult seems redundant if not an absolute reverse of the truth; since one can in fact be an adult and be nowhere near mature.”

    No different than saying you’re not old enough to die for your country, vote & run for office, be automatically tried as an adult, etc, but you are once that magic day occurs. Or for some states, drinking & looking at boobs when you turn 21…

    I completely agree that just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you’re mature, but the line gets drawn for simplicities sake. Imagine having to argue before a judge every time you want to do something that requires a license, or certain level of maturity… as if there wasn’t enough red tape. 😉

  136. 0
    Ryan says:

    My analysis of the situation

    Fact: The ESRB has distributed exactly 1 AO raiting in the past for violence (note, I’m counting violence ONLY, with the absence of sexual content) nearly 10 years ago in Thrill Kill for the PS1

    Fact: The adults only rating is meant to be the worst rating imaginable, with games receiving this rating in only the most extreme of circumstances.

    Fact: R* designed Manhunt 2 to be the most violent game ever created. Hell, read their OWN descriptions of the game. Even if Manhunt 2 could be surpassed in terms of sheer violence, the attempt means an awful lot.

    Ok, taking these 3 facts into account, let’s do some reasoning.

    Scenario 1: ESRB issued an M rating for Mh2. This sends the following message to the entire world:

    “We will not issue the AO rating for violence alone”

    Bellyache at me all you like, it’s really that simple. I have a fairly good idea that the ESRB didn’t want to send that particular message.

    Scenario 2: ESRB issued an AO rating for Mh2. This reinforces their basic premise behind the AO rating. They say in their own description that it’s handed out only in the rarest of circumstances, and these circumstances fit. The ESRB rated this game the only way they could, without losing all credibility attached to their rating system.

    A lot of people here are angry that the “censors” got exactly what they wanted. In a way, I guess they did. Manhunt 2 is going to have quite the uphill climb now that it has this rating attached to it, but I don’t see it that way.

    Wal-Mart isn’t going to sell Manhunt 2 now, and neither are a couple other mainstream retailers. But what does that stop, exactly?

    Does it stop:

    A: You (who, as long as you are 18, can purchase the game Online or hunt for it elsewhere?)

    B: The casual gamer (Who probably wouldn’t buy Manhunt to begin with (the sales were lousy on Mh1) If the casual gamer wanted the game, they can hunt for it just like you can.

    C: the Under 18 crowd

    The only correct answer there is C. They are “censoring” this game by doing the exact thing the rating is supposed to do, stopping minors from purchasing it. There is nothing going on here that hasn’t been possible all along. When the censors have truly won is when the games can no longer be made, or can no longer be sold at all. What you people don’t seem to understand is that, had the ESRB not issued this rating, the would have been perceived as fundamentally weak. It would be open season on them, and I promise you, the ones who replaced them wouldn’t be as nice as the ESRB has been in the past. The ESRB needed to issue this rating in order to survive, and it was also (probably, again I havn’t played it but it sure sounds like it) the right rating to give.

  137. 0
    bayushisan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Perhaps, but from a legal standpoint there is a difference. 18 is generally considered to be legally “of age”. Under 18 is still a minor by the law, granted that it doesn’t always make sense but that’s the way it is.

    I’ll say this again as well. No one is censoring the game. Stores have the right to refuse to sell a product based on its content or place of origin. No one is saying that the can’t be published or that it can’t be sold. I’ll trust that the ESRB has given it the correct rating and see what happens. However its more than a little disengenuous for TT to be complaining about the rating. After all because of their own undisclosed content the ESRB got set back five years or more and had to stand up to ridged scrutiny.

  138. 0
    AgnostoTheo ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think I’ll throw my two cents in for fun.

    For starters, all of you whining about how the game got an AO: It’s bound to be a completely gory game. Frankly I’m stunned the original got an “M” to start with. When you set out to depict blood and gore in a game, you’re producing something that you know at the start isn’t for any kid who cannot handle what they’re seeing in the correct light. As a safe bet, that category consists of EVERYONE under 18.

    For those of you whining about the incompeence of the ESRB: You do KNOW who rates these right? They’re supposed to be averages joes with NO ties to the commercial side of game industry, watching material and making judgements based on their own set of standards.

    and for the one brilliant mind accusing the ESRB of banning free speech: The ESRB isn’t banning anyting. They’re doing thir job and putting a label on a game. They, nor the government, has a say in what the retailer chooses to or not to sell. Grow up.

    For what it’s worth, I’m almost certain that Rockstar will make a fairly decent sum of it, just for the fact that the game was rated AO. Fans of the original will go out of their way to find people selling the sequel.

    With all that off my mind, I don’t think I’m gonna buy this one. The original was a trifle too graphic for me to complete anyway.

  139. 0
    Todd ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    The ESRB has been doing this for years now, it’s not a new organization. And if anything, they are pro-game industry, being that they are funded by the ESA. If Manhunt 2 doesn’t deserve an AO rating, which we all admit we have no idea if it does or not, then what does? At some point there is a game that deserves AO, or otherwise we might as well toss out the rating if we are never going to use it.

    @nobody in particular

    This is not censorship. The game can still be published and sold. ESRB has no responsibility to the sale of the game. You could blame Sam Walton’s legacy for refusing to sell AO games, but nobody blames them for not selling porn. It is each retailer’s choice to sell the products they see fit to sell. They could decide to never sell another Take Two game, regardless of rating, and you can’t say a word about it.

    So maybe when you go to 7-Eleven or Circle-K, you ask for Manhunt 2 along with your copy of Playboy from behind the counter, as opposed to going to a mainstream retailer.

  140. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, the free fame bought for it by Thomspon and co will ensure that it will sell wherever it appears on the shelves, so kudos to Jack and the ‘Ckicken Likkin’ crew, the sky may not be falling, but rather than a rather obscure game that wouldn’t appear in the mainstream, you’ve created a ‘must buy’ for anyone not allowed to play the game by insisting that the game recieve the rating that it had already recieved.

    Way to go guys, If I ever start a gaming company, I want these people on my advertising team.

  141. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    “Uhh, there’s a sex scene. I’m sure that has something to do with the AO rating, not just the violence. Everybody is making it out like the violence is the only thing taken into account. When I see animated sex, complete with full on nudity and pelvic thrusts, then yes, I would say that deserves an AO rating. “

    Do you have a source for that? I’ve only seen nudity in the “concept art”…

    Or were you talking about the “Hot Coffee”?

  142. 0
    Ryan says:

    It serves to purpose to the public for the ESRB to have the AO rating. The difference between 17 year olds and 18 years olds being able to buy the game is non-existent. I dont know about the rest of you, but the day i turned 18, i underwent no ground-shaking metamorphosis. To define a 17 year old as Mature, but an 18 year old as Adult seems redundant if not an absolute reverse of the truth; since one can in fact be an adult and be nowhere near mature.

    In short, the Mature rating says all that needs to be said about a profane piece of software. The AO rating is a punishment to the developer; A scarlet letter for the whole industry to take notice of.

    Perhaps there should be this line in the sand for developers. But the ESRB, which primarily functions as a public information outlet, should not be the ones who draw it.

  143. 0
    Pixelantes Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The cup half empty people will bemoan the decision as corporate censorship.

    The cup half full people will quickly realize there’s a supply and demand hole here and think of ways to exploit it.

    If I was Rockstar Games, instead of bitching about this, I’d start looking for alternative avenues to sell the game right about now. I’m pretty sure the game wasn’t about to set the sales charts on fire anyway, but if Rockstar Games makes some smart decisions within the next few weeks, they could easily salvage any lost sales from Walmart and other corporate hypocrites.

    There’s nothing more powerful than marketing a game with “they done tried ban this mfing game, but the man failed. Here’s where you can buy it.” Then sell it $5 less than the competing game. Add retailer incentives for selling the game, and you’ll have independent retailers flogging to the game. I’d freakin’ sell it, if I had the capital to warehouse a few thousand copies. Have a steady stream of add-on / dlc content (for free) and keep on selling.

  144. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yup, I’ve refused to jump to conclusions about this game because I haven’t seen it, but from what I’ve heard, it sounds like an AO game, so I don’t really have a problem with it, my concern is the BBFC and their banning of it, that’s something I’m planning to take up with them though.

  145. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    on the one hand, crap, 25% is a big cut to it’s market.

    on the other hand, maybe this is what’s needed to break the stigma that AO games = porn that seems to have gripped the marketplace… which really is the only real reason that Walmart refuses to carry AO games…

  146. 0
    unclecaveman says:

    Uhh, there’s a sex scene. I’m sure that has something to do with the AO rating, not just the violence. Everybody is making it out like the violence is the only thing taken into account. When I see animated sex, complete with full on nudity and pelvic thrusts, then yes, I would say that deserves an AO rating.

  147. 0
    JBourrie says:

    “Newsflash: Gamestop refuses to carry AO titles too.”


    A local gamestop was carrying the re-rated AO San Andreas, you just had to ask for it at the counter. They may have been breaking company policy, of course, but I have my doubts that they wouldn’t take full advantage of the situation to get the extra customers.

  148. 0
    Stinking Kevin says:

    Knowing nothing about the game’s particular rating-defining content yet, I see no reason to assume this is not a proud occurance for both the ESRB and Rockstar.

    If the game had content that fell into the ESRB’s “Adults Only” guidelines, good for them for rating it “AO.” Consistency is the best any content ratings system can hope for.

    If Rockstar sells the game with the AO rating, good for them, too. It shows they are willing to stand up for the content they are creating, and not buckle under the pressure from mainstream retailers to edit their vision.

    If a few more high-profile “adults only” games like this start to sell through, it might even help the general public start to realize that video games are not “kids only” after all.

  149. 0
    Abscissa says:

    “GameStop is probably giddy right now, because they’re going to get all of Wal-Marts customers”

    Newsflash: Gamestop refuses to carry AO titles too.

  150. 0
    SilverStar says:

    I honestly think they WANTED to push it as far as possible. They said before that they wanted to push beyond the limits of violence that have ever been seen in video games. They did it, and getting an AO rating based SOLELY on the level of violence and subject matter in the game, isn’t a bad thing for them. It’s what they wanted to aim for, and they pulled no punches.

    If anything, they probably added more gratuitous violence to the game and more bloodshed, just to push it over the top. If you set out to break records, you want to remain on top as long as possible. It’s going to take a LOT to beat a game that was crafted to be as vicious as this one, so it’ll wear its AO crown with pride.

  151. 0
    Theory? says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that this is Rockstar we’re talking about?

    This company sucks. They have YET to release a good game, seriously. I’ve tested each one and they all suck harder than the last. They just want money at this point. God forbid they should lose money on a game that’s already available on other platforms and sold in said retail outlets.

    The Wiimote, whether you think so or not, is definitely a worthy factor to consider when rating this game. The system has a much broader target audience than the Playshit 3 and the Xbox 3sucky. An audience that ranges into a very young demographic. For an example, see the new Mario Party commercial where a bunch of 12 year old girls are having a slumber party bouncing on their beds playing the game. That’s not to say those same girls would have ANY desire to play Manhunt, but that’s far outside the point. The point here is, there is a different level of interaction and a much broader audience to consider.

    The ESRB was facing serious pressures, the game got banned in the UK, it’ll probably be banned in Australia, what do you want them to do? They have the parents to answer to, not Jack Thompson, not Rockstar, their actual clients, the parents.

    So sorry that this is something that offends you guys, believe me I’m on the side of justice, but I’m going to have to side with the ESRB on this one. Perhaps instead of just instantaneously getting mad that you won’t be able to get the damn game in a store, you should take an objective look at the matter and realize that this is a bit bigger than some Jack Thompson hullabaloo or whatever you may see it as.

  152. 0
    JBourrie says:

    “This is blasphemy! This is madness! No group, Independent or Government (de facto) bans speech.”

    This is business. Overreact much?

    Nobody is banning speech. Nobody banned anything. The ESRB put a rating on a game. Now retailers can choose to do what they will with this game, and if they choose not to carry it then you buy it somewhere else.

    GameStop is probably giddy right now, because they’re going to get all of Wal-Marts customers :)

  153. 0
    Abscissa says:

    “It means that major retailers like Wal-mart, which by itself accounts for about 25% of retail games sales, will not carry Manhunt 2.”

    Meh, fuck walmart. People should be TRYING to stop walmart from carrying thier games/movies/music/whatever, just so that the people who want to buy said product will finally start giving their money to a better retailer. You don’t see any Nine Inch Nails music in walmart, and it certainly isn’t hurting Trent Reznor’s pocketbook. So like I said, fuck walmart.

  154. 0

    I don’t know if the game should have got an AO rating since I both haven’t played it and that rating is usually reserved for porn games but Rockstar brought this on themselves. They are releasing a game whose purpose much like the Saw movies, is based upon the most horrid, graphic violence possible. The only reason this is on the Wii is because they want to give people an even more realistic level of control. This is a game designed to be graphic and depraved and when they base it on that after screwing around the ESRB with Hot Coffee, I don’t really think they are in a position to whine about this now. The ESRB is there for the benefit of consumers, not to protect publishers who want to create twisted content (which they have every right to) and want it rated to simply get to the most people possible (which they don’t have an automatic right to.)

  155. 0
    IanC says:

    More badnews for rockstar again.

    It most likely deserves the age rating (and at least youll still be able to get it!) but its bad news in the way that most stores wont sell it.

  156. 0
    Black Manta ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oh come on. Like Bayushisan said, you can’t say we didn’t see this one coming. So what? It’s not the end of the world. Personally, I agree with the ESRB’s decision and I think they made the right call. As Vance indicated, thay had already mate up their minds beforehand, so no one can say they were pressured. What’s more, the CCFC and JT can both shut the hell up and this controversy can all go away. The ESRB has shown they are capable of making their own decisions and are not merely slaves to the industry as so many have charged.

    Again, as I said elsewhere, the people who want the game here in the U.S. can still get it. The manager I spoke with at the EB Games I was at earlier this afternoon said he would still sell it at his store regardless. The rating is just there to drive home the point it is not for kids, plain and simple. AO need not be NC-17. It is not the kiss of death. If people want the game, they can find a way to buy it. This will help to silence the critics as there won’t be any doubt who this game was made for. And if there is enough demand, then other rteailers may change their policy.

  157. 0
    JBourrie says:

    @Terrible Tom

    There was a time when the MPAA was a new invention, and it took them a while before they found what was and was not “acceptable”. Back when the MPAA was dealing with the “new media” of film, they originally gave The Wild Bunch an X rating for violence, and rated today it would be a tame R. A Clockwork Orange was rated similarly.

    Now look at the ESRB, a fledgeling organization and dealing with the “new media” of cutting-edge interactivity. You can’t expect everybody to be experts at such a new craft. There are all new challenges when rating interactive content, and the level of interaction (such as motion control) is a challenge nobody has ever had to consider before.

    Are you saying that you’re more of an expert than they are? What makes you more qualified than they are to rate Manhunt 2? Or is your answer just “I haven’t played it, but it should be M rated”?

    Are you seriously suggesting that somehow the MPAA is more qualified to rate GAMES? They rate movies, that’s what they do, that’s what they’re good at. They are no more well versed in interactivity than you are, and like it or not the more “realistic” interactivity is likely the reason for this AO rating.

    I get the feeling you have an inaccurate vision of the ESRB and “the real world” in your head. Maybe you’re young and naive, maybe you’re just the type of person who has to “fight the power!”, I don’t know. But this isn’t just a black and white issue. Game ratings are subjective, certainly, but somebody has to make that decision… and like it or not the ESRB are the most qualified people we have for the job.

  158. 0
    SilverStar says:

    @ Terrible Tom

    You are really sounding like a pro-Thompson troll. Fine, you want them to have to play through every minute of the game? Of a game that’s over 20 hours? Just to get the same level of verbosity in content rating that movies get, when people whine when they get over 3 hours long?

    Get over yourself, alright?

    Video game developers/publishers submit examples of all the worst content in the game, that they know of. With the sole examples of GTA and Oblivion being the 2 games that “slipped by” with lower ratings, due entirely to content that either was meant to be pulled and made 100% inaccessible(hot coffee), or was in fact nothing but a texture mesh which is shared between both genders, with the only difference being the model used(the male texture gets stretched over the female torso), to which they put internal censoring in(ugly as sin bras), which required modders to remove in order to “Access.”

    I’m sorry, your entire argument falls flat. the MPAA wouldn’t rate this game any higher than R, if it were a movie. As a movie, it would be no worse than Hostel, because it would then be non-interactive. And you know what? An R rating for a movie, means nothing once it hits DVD and any Tom, Dick and Harry can rent it, or even send their kid to rent it from a video store.

    This isn’t porn, you know.

    And as for the content being taken “out of context”? How, exactly, is it taken out of context? Is using a chainsaw to cut someone’s head off less violent if it’s in an open field full of flowers, than if it’s in a dank basement corridor? Can it be less violent to smash someone against a power box, with glorious intent to kill them violently, if it was meant in “self defense”?

    Then again, maybe you don’t see any difference between.. say, Heavy Metal and Hustler? Or Venus and a sex doll?

  159. 0
    Citizen_Snips says:


    I got to ask how would you suggest they play a game that is 100+ hours?

    or a game that has no ending?

    When Jack Thompson uses his argument against GTA that players can run around killing hookers and EMT’s, he fails to point out that its the players option to do those things. RockStar isn’t holding a gun to peoples heads that forcing them to make those decisions, how do you even rate a game based on what someone MIGHT do?

  160. 0
    Anon says:

    The ONLY reason Manhunt 2 is getting a AO rating is for the Wii mote option on the Wii. Make no mistake about it. To think that the motion of moving your hands to act out events “trains” you into a killer. By my estimate, and by what people like JT say, about 10+ million people are trained in the art of killing.

    Hostel 2 was so violent it wasnt funny. HOWEVER, a 17 year old person can get into theaters to see it. Whats 1 year?

    Double Standard alarm goes soi soi soi soi soi soi.

  161. 0
    Sam says:

    Both forms express story through action … hardly completely different …

    Anyway, I just can’t believe the dramatic turn around in support for the ESRB, just because the ESRB isn’t doing what you guys want it to do.

    They have a better basis for making a decision then anyone here does.

  162. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    Yea somethings I do take a while but I don’t simply half ass it and call it a day, thats pretty much what they are doing.

  163. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Tom there’s a reason they don’t play the games, they take too long. But don’t worry there’s a bill in congress that would require them to play games fully, not sure about its chances of sucsess though.

  164. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    I would probably like the MPAA’s ratings for video games more than the ESRB’s

    Oh the ESRB doesn’t play the game they simply reveiw a collection of its content, so much of what they are rating is forced to be taken out of context. So anyone who argues that we havn’t played it yet doesn’t have much of an arguement because the only people who have are the testers at Rockstar.

  165. 0
    Benji says:

    @Terrible Tom: Justify your assumption that the ESRB is not credible. I for one think it’s quite credible and accurate. Its own two highly publicized recalls were GTASA and Oblivion; it was more or less railroaded into rerating GTASA and probably should have rated Oblivion M in the first place.
    Yes, the ratings usually err on the side of caution. If they didn’t, the ESRB would catch way more flak than it does these days and might not even have stayed around this long. The government would love to rate (censor) content; the ESRB might do so as well but to a much lesser degree, and we should be glad to have the lesser of two evils.

  166. 0
    Citizen_Snips says:

    My only question is what separates an M game from an AO game? one year right? I’m curious as to what magically happens in that one year that makes the difference.

  167. 0
    Tim Bickley says:

    From the ESRB website:

    Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.”

    I think its clear that Rockstar have made every effort to make Manhunt 2 THE most violent and bloody game ever to be released – I think an AO rating was to be expected, particularly following the BBFC’s decision to ban the game altogether.

    I hope the decision to ban the game in the UK is reversed – it is never right to censor a form of expression – the AO rating, however, will most likely stay. R* brought it on themselves and have to hope that the hype generated for them by Jack Thompson and others will be enough to make the game a success in spite of the loss of shelf space in the major retail outlets.

  168. 0

    I have no problem with AO ratings being assigned to ultraviolent games, what I have a problem with is the defacto censorship this enforces because sales are concentrated so heavily in stores which refuse to sell AO products. That forces a constant upward pressure on what is acceptable in M-Rated games, increasing the violence over time, and creates a defacto censorship of any sexual material since no company in their right mind can release an AO product.

    Too much power resides in the arbitrary decisions of CEOs at Wal-Mart and the like, and not enough in the hands of the people, the people the ESRB are supposed to be providing a service to.

  169. 0
    Kirk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Honestly I don’t mind the AO rating. What I do mind is the fact that no one will carry AO games. I feel that Wal-Mart and EB Games should carry AO games.

    My only other complaint is that if this came out in movie form would it be NC-17, R, or XXX. I think it should be a level playing field.

  170. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    The ESRB isn’t even credible to begin with. Most of them aren’t even qualified or educated on the product they are rating. Its obvious because I’m sure if Manhunt 2 was a movie it would be rated R.

  171. 0
    0ddity says:

    Im totally buying this game. Its probably not even that great of a game. But Im buying it nontheless merely to support Rockstar/take two. Making it hard to buy is merely a form of subtle censorship. And any kind of censorship on somebodys work/art is wrong.

  172. 0
    bayushisan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think we all need to take a step back here.

    None of can honestly say that we didn’t see this one coming. When the original Manhunt came out even mose game reviewers said that its level of violence was just too much. If the sequal is even more bloody than the first how could the ESRB retain credibility and not give it an AO rating? I’ll grant that this is supposition on my part but we need to look at the big picture. The game is not, I repeat not being censored. The government isn’t saying that the game can’t be sold. While some may be irritated that they have to order the game online now, retail stores have the right to choose what they will and will not sell.

    Keep in mind too that Rock Star will likely appeal the rating. Though to be fair I’m more than a little agreived that they decided to make Manhunt 2 in the first place. Mainly because its just more bad press for the gaming community.

  173. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    I disagree with JBourrie.

    ESRB likes to do its part to keep offensive games off the shelves as they see fit. The employees arn’t really qualified to rate games, or movies, or anything for that matter.

    Its a organization that knows very little about what they actually do and are often extremely biased toward giving video games harsher ratings than say a more legitimate organization would a movie.

  174. 0
    Benji says:

    Does anyone stop and consider that, just maybe, Manhunt 2 might deserve an AO rating? In any case none of us have seen actual footage of how grotesque the game is. The ESRB has, and it’s not been too far off the mark in the past. While it’s unusual for a non-porn to get the AO it’s not without precedent and I can’t say I’m overly surprised.
    As has been mentioned, this doesn’t definitely mean the final game will be rated AO. They can make edits if they want to.
    And honestly, I’m not sure if I want to see TT fight this too much. The audience that wants to get the game will have avenues of getting it. Being rated AO might even score it bonus points in certain circles – ‘it’s so shocking EBStop won’t carry it!’ And if TT fights to have the rating brought down, it puts them in a very dangerous position in which watchdogs might accuse them of wanting to make the game easier to sell to minors.

  175. 0
    JBourrie says:

    Uh oh, here comes the shitstorm…

    Before the whining gets too bad, I’d like to point out that WE haven’t played it, so we can bitch about ideals all we like… until we’ve played the game and know WHY it was rated AO our opinion is no more valid than the pixel-antis who want to abolish it.

    Flame on!

  176. 0
    wildfire says:

    I would like to mention that because of the AO rating: Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will not license the game on their systems. That includes WinXP (oh no unlicensed Windows game, good god almighty). With that in mind, we may never see the game released in any form. Pitty, I bet the game is extremely violent, that’s a given, but the blame falls upon a lot of other groups other than the ESRB. My suggestion is that an “unknown” employee should release a “pirated pre-release” copy. Wouldn’t that be funny? all the companies don’t want to see this game on their systems but oops, look everyone is playing it 😀

  177. 0

    […] Manhunt 2 isn’t in as dire a situation in the US as it is in the UK, but it’s close. The ESRB has labeled Rockstar’s controversial game with an AO “Adults Only” rating. If the game ships with this rating, most retailers will refuse to carry it, cutting sales massively. The only other console game to have an AO rating in stores? Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which was re-rated following the Hot Coffee scandal, and quickly re-released in an edited form. […]

  178. 0
    meAn00b says:

    soon all the old people who hate video games will die, get murdered, or quit working and all the kids that like games will grow up and the world will like games as much as moives:) but till then it will sux:(

  179. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Pluse the ESRB is just abunch of soccer moms who havent been laid and are in a pissed off mood, they have a personal vendetta against rockstar/take two as The Conan game was able to have topless women in their game without any issues.

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