Manhunt 2 Banned in Britain

June 19, 2007 -
Rockstar's upcoming Manhunt 2 won't be sold in the U.K., according to a report in MCV.

Citing "unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying," the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has refused to rate the ultra-violent sequel, effectively banning it from U.K. shores. Said BBFC exec David Cooke:
Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly... Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing.

There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game...

Against this background, the Board’s carefully considered view is that to issue a certificate to Manhunt 2, on either platform, would involve a range of unjustifiable harm risks, to both adults and minors, within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, and accordingly that its availability, even if statutorily confined to adults, would be unacceptable to the public.

MCV notes that the only other game to be refused classification was 1997's Carmageddon. That decision, however, was overturned on appeal.

Digg!

Comments

Freedom of Speech, indeed.

and yet they passed manhunt 1.

...and they let Saw and Hostel through without a murmur?

As if those films don't have 'sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed'.

So, the UK is a free country that's not really free, isn't it?

Have they even played the game?

I hope Rockstar appeal.

Yes, we have Freedom of Speech in this country, please, get over yourselves.

They passed Manhunt 1 with a huge rating on it saying "We're not joking. This isn't for kids. Even slightly. No, really." but Manhunt 1 wasn't on the Wii. You couldn't use the nunchuck controller to simulate piano wire around someones neck. You couldn't use the wiimote to stab.

Manhunt 2 is an entirely different kettle of fish compared to Manhunt 1. A lot of the stuff going on in Manhunt 2 is psychological horror as opposed to the gorefest of Manhunt 1.

Also wasn't manhunt 1 shit?

As for the obvious 'YET THEY LET SAW AND HOSTEL THROUGH' argument, that doesn't really work as an argument in this case. One is created to scare you, the other is participation for fun. Sure, you're not actually killing anyone, but the game has no other purpose than to serve gratification for doing so in a virtual context.

If it's not banned anywhere else in Europe or America it won't be that hard to get a hold of if you really REALLY need to get your fix of ripping a mans balls off with your bare hands.

Has anyone considered the fact that this game really might be too sick and immoral, and that the BBFC are actually just doing their job, and doing it well. Considering this is the first game they have banned in 10 years, maybe the game really is worthy of being banned.

Chris S, it's likely that Hostel or Saw received a rating (as it did over here in australia) that's beyond that which games can achieve hence they refuse classification. It's not that they don't think Hostel of Saw contain those things, just that they don't have an equivalent in Game classification in the UK which is the larger issue here.

Well, in Britain at least, Saw and Hostel both had cuts made to them, hence why the DVD releases have Uncut versions. So Saw and Hostel didn't get a free pass.

I don't know. I think the violence would be just the same as always. I honestly think the only reason they banned it was the fact that the owner of Manhunt one got killed by his best friend, which they blamed on the game.
I don't see why this matters though, a ban just stops the normal retailers, there'll be importers if they are arsed enough for it.

" Have they even played the game?" - uh, no, they haven't. Far as I know, they don't play any games they review, they just watch videos provided by the publisher. In this case, they watched playthroughs of the whole thing, and all the cinematics, according to their ruling:

http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/0/5F0B91FB15D5B748802572FF0...

Despite everyone emotionally attached to the case ignoring them, the police stated that the murder of the kid had absoultey nothing to do with Manhunt, and all to do with a drug deal that went wrong. So, if they have taken this into consideration, they've done a rubbish job.

Anyway, bollocks. looks like i'll have to ship it on from France now.

Both games and films can get a straight red '18' here.

I can understand that Saw and Hostel are created for scares, but surely Hostel also depicts torture and killing for thrills? I also feel that the ever more elaborate traps in the Saw films are there to satisfy the needs of an audience who came to see lots of pain. Perhaps other people see the films differently, but I have always seen Manhunt as very similar to Saw.
In any case, could you not also argue that Manhunt 2 is meant to be dark and scary instead of fun? Of course, I haven't played it so I can't speak with great authority about the game, but when they appeal, I reckon that's one line of argument they could try.

I wouldn't worry too much about it.

1. The first game was made just to shock people. On it's own, it kinda sucks.

2. They didn't ban it completely, they blocked it, meaning that regular retailers can't get their hands on it. Which means importing the game is still a viable option.

Saw and Hostel don't last 15 hours and make you think 'If I kill this guy and then that guy quickly then I can take out that guard over there without anyone seeing... Just gotta get the timing right'.

The only thing I thought during Saw was 'Jesus. I could be at home right now feeling my ass grow.'

Oh, okay, my mistake. I read a while back they didn't play them, though I suppose in certain cases they probably would do. I stand corrected.

Oh and one more thing. BBFC says that the game publisher can still call for an appeal, which means they've given Rockstar a chance to explain themselves. So it's not TOTAL censorship.

Actually - customs now have a reason to seize copies of Manhunt 2 arriving via import, even from other EU countries.

How long 'til Keith Vaz pipes up about this one, then? And I guarantee we'll see JBT talking about Manhunt 2 as "banned in the UK" in the very near future.

I'm completely against the BBFC having the power to effectively censor content in this way. I'm a goddamn adult - what I play, watch or buy is nobody's business but my own, so long as nobody else is affected.

Now I'm really wondering what was in the game to get it banned, I don't agree with the ban in principle, but if it was _that_ bad, I couldn't argue. I'll have to see what's in it.

But that's just it. I spent a year working in GAME and during that year I realised I was the only person that bothered to check the ages of kids (ID please) and warn parents. Parents can only do so much against the vast marketing machines that Sony can wheel out. And before everyone leaps all over me for blaming the retailer I blame the parents to.

I'm an equal opportunity responsibility shirker.

carmageddon kicked ass. \m/ and had fear factory in the soundtrack \m/ genius.

See, I don't get this action. They're refusing the rate it, which means it won't be sold, correct?

In that case, what they're really saying is that the rating system is flawed. Every single piece of work should receive a rating, even if that rating is "OMG Don't Buy This, it's NASTY!" Have a rating that store refuse to sell. SuperMEGAadult or whatever. But by refusing to rate it, you're saying that your system is incapable of dealing with the material.

"I’m completely against the BBFC having the power to effectively censor content in this way. I’m a goddamn adult - what I play, watch or buy is nobody’s business but my own, so long as nobody else is affected."

So you'd be okay with a game that has a child being molested by an adult (lets say you play the adult) where you have to move the right stick to assault the child? I mean, it's all about the character of the adult and what drives him to do it... but he's still raping children.

Or is that okay under an 18 cert?

Darrel:

Actually importing is not an option. A game/film or other media that is rejected by the BBFC cannot be imported. If you were to travel overseas and bring it back with you and claim it was for personal use only, you are not commiting any crime nor customs offense, but to import it with the view to sell it to someone else, or if you were to buy it and someone send it to you, that would be illegal. I'm unsure on what the penalty for this would be or who would be liable (the person receiving or sending it) but the BBFC makes it clear that importing for someone else is not an option.

That ofcourse doesn't stop you from trying or risking it, but you have been warned.


As for the decision itself... Well to be honest I thought the first game was a complete pile of **** and frankly was only there to stir up controversy. The sequel has done the same again, except this time they took it too far. I'm not about to slag off the BBFC as frankly they are one of the better ratings boards out there, so maybe rather than just defending the game because we feel were under threat as a group, we might need to accept that this one is a bad egg?

Yeah I don't like over the top censorship either for the record, but I am shocked that Rockstar didn't have someone look over the game before it was submitted to see if it would pass or not...

Kroulette - I totally agree.

There are issues that ratings on games are not taken seriously, and that games are seen as a childrens' medium, which may be the reason for this, but I'm an adult. I've been legally capable of making my own decisions for 12 years now. The BBFC should put more effort into getting the message across that games aren't all for kids, and making sure the retailers know they can get fined for this.

I have no problem with classification, but I find it a little offensive that they have seen fit to ban this game.

Luscan Says:
So you’d be okay with a game that has a child being molested by an adult (lets say you play the adult) where you have to move the right stick to assault the child? I mean, it’s all about the character of the adult and what drives him to do it… but he’s still raping children.

If you believe that argument, you must also be of the position that hacking people up in Fable is just as bad as doing it in real life.

I wouldn't be "okay" with that game, but so long as there wasn't any real harm to real people involved at any point of the game's production I don't see why it should be banned.

"There are issues that ratings on games are not taken seriously, and that games are seen as a childrens’ medium, which may be the reason for this, but I’m an adult. I’ve been legally capable of making my own decisions for 12 years now. The BBFC should put more effort into getting the message across that games aren’t all for kids, and making sure the retailers know they can get fined for this."

It's not the BBFCs mandate. It's there to rate things and stay the hell out of everything else. That's a very clear thing for them. They're not there to do the ESRBs job. The ESRB has an awareness thing, that's their field. Making sure retailers can be fined for stuff like this would be a lot easier if parlament got in on the act. Further still it'd be easier if there wasn't a cycle of:

Retailers - 'Developers responsibility.'
Devs - 'Parents responsibility.'
Parents - 'Retailers responsibility.'

@gibbage

you read waaaay too much into my 1 line of text. i didnt imply they were exactly the same but manhunt 1 featured "sustained and cumulative casual sadism" and im just wondering what manhunt 2 has that crosses the line.

Ive sent a email to the bbfc with a couple of polite questions about their descision and included was the whole wii angle (yes i know its on ps2 aswell). Im not positive i'll get a responce

This descision could be over the media shitstorm created by the first game who knows.

"If you believe that argument, you must also be of the position that hacking people up in Fable is just as bad as doing it in real life.

I wouldn’t be “okay” with that game, but so long as there wasn’t any real harm to real people involved at any point of the game’s production I don’t see why it should be banned. "

Are children harmed when paedophiles just look at photos of them? I mean, what about drawings of children? What about the stuff that's specifically banned on 4chan.org? You can get away with most anything on there but not Japanese illustrations of children being violated.

I mean, fantasy games like Fabel are obviously fantasy. Elves, magic and XP. I'd love to poke at this to see how far your liberal sensibilities go but I'm afraid I'd be banned for posting obscenities.

Luscan Says:
Are children harmed when paedophiles just look at photos of them? I mean, what about drawings of children? What about the stuff that’s specifically banned on 4chan.org? You can get away with most anything on there but not Japanese illustrations of children being violated.

As I've said elsewhere (as you well know, Luscan, since you and Ninchilla are just recycling each other's arguments) viewing those images willfully is complicity in the abuse that occurred when the photo was taken.

Secondly, the reason that stuff is banned on 4chan is because it's illegal, not because of any moral outrage on the part of /b/tards. I don't agree that cartoon drawings should be illegal, since there's almost certainly no way children were really abused during their creation. I don't agree with them, but I don't see any compelling reason why they should be banned - "I'm offended" just doesn't stand up, for me.

@Gibbage

they go to 11?

I don't care how violent a game is; censorship of any degree should be a crime against human rights.

@Luscan,

Wow - simply wow. You are a conformist and ever expanding government's dream voter. I particularly liked the description of the 'worst case scenario' you presented. Oppressive government depends on convincing voters of the 'next natural iteration' in order to enact overbroad measures. Terrorists use cell phones and the internet?!? - result is the Patriot Act. Someone can make a computer program that shows animated scenes of violence and that program could be used in a disturbing manner???@? Well, why not simply ban the things?

There are two types of people in this world: those who don't buy somethine if they don't like it; and those who want to tell everyone else what they can and cannot do. Constitutions and the courts were created to protect the first group of people from the second.

I don't even know if I would buy this game but I enjoy the freedom to do so if I so choose. And really, its not about video games - if you let your 'government' ban this without a fight, what precedent are you setting for the next bete noire?

I love internet arguments

"YOU DON'T AGREE WITH ME THEREFORE YOU ARE ATHE ENEMY WAAAAAAAH"

My stance? Completely neutral. Censorship is bad at times, but then again who's to say Rockstar is completely innocent? These are the same bastards that put the blame of Hot Coffee on a bunch of modders who just unlocked what was already there and never apologised for it.

Also, Manhunt sucks and so will this game. Move on with your life.

@gibbage

Im going with what they say also, just curious as to all the factors in the decsiion. After all the BBFC are more often than not fair handed and theres not much that does get the ban, just a few cuts here and there and they make no effort to hide the fact that somthing has been altered to get a release.

mabye rockstar will apeal, mabye they will go and snip a few things out the game and re-submit it.

Thank God for the First Amendment in the U.S.A and thank God the OFRB in Ontario can't ban anything anymore. They used to be able to but a court ruled that this was against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms a few years back.

Orangekrush:

Your argument falls over at the very first hurdle. The BBFC is NOT a government run organisation; it is independant.

However, on the subject of government censorship, standards of taste and decency are in every aspect of our lives. If you walk outside naked, expect to be arrested. Want to fight someone in the street? Illegal, even if you both consent. Think your right to free speech extends to being able to walk into any building and shout at the top of your lungs? Wrong again.


jakethe8lf:
"I don’t care how violent a game is; censorship of any degree should be a crime against human rights."

So if there was a game with explicit sex involving minors/animals or one that allowed you to genuinely (not in Jack Thompsons world) design a terrorist incident, or had such extreme acts of depravity and violence that the censors couldnt bear to look at them, it shouldn't be banned?

Censorship has to be there. It is an necessery evil to keep the most extreme in line. It should NOT be abused however, and the BBFC as a rule are pretty damned good with their assessments. Without having access to the footage that they witnessed, I cannot say if I agree with their decision or not, but I'm certainly not jumping on the bandwagon calling for it to be repealed just because it is a computer game.

The biggest question I have is, is it all versions, or just the Wii version

@Luscan

A game that features a child getting molested IS NOT the same as Manhunt. The 'slippery slope' argument is a POS and you, as a seemingly intelligent individual, should know that.

I don't know/care what legally 'the freedom of speech' means in Britain, but it seems to me that banning something just because it's 'offensive' is repugnant to the ideal of liberty. Oh wait, Luscan doesn't believe in the ideal of liberty.

"I mean, fantasy games like Fabel are obviously fantasy. Elves, magic and XP. I’d love to poke at this to see how far your liberal sensibilities go but I’m afraid I’d be banned for posting obscenities."

Right, "liberal sensibilities". You know what, I agree. Somethings just should not be said; and some people are better off just keeping their mouths shut. To hell with liberty, all that means is that people are free to be immoral. Screw that. I VOTE we censor Luscan first, cause he gives me a headache.

Oops, I forgot, without liberty, you can't have democracy.

You know what else is repugnant to the ideal of liberty? Neo-Conservatism. Not the Reagan/Thatcher kind, but the Pat Robertson/George W Bush kind.

@Chuma

No, the only way that should be brought to attention is if they used real animals or minors in the involvement of the game, such as Live-Action FMVs or sounds or something. Fiction is fiction.

MaskedPixelante:

It is all versions. The Wii version is addressed seperately on their website to point out the distinction, but Manhunt 2 and Manhunt 2 - Wii were both Refused.

It's a double standard and I don't like it. I think the government is putting special restrictions on this simply because it is a game. It seems like games are seen to some as a negative influence on society, and it isn't fair.

Jakethe8lf:

So what about films that use CGI? Would that be okay? What about when the graphical levels of gaming are so realistic you cannot distinguish? Is that still okay? And what if the acts themselves are disturbing rather than if those portrayed are real?

Sorry but I find your argument to be flawed.

Sad, they actually think they are going to stop people from having it.
people who truly want to game are still going to go it.

Luscan,

It's because of blowhards like you that I have moved to the left concerning my political views.

Flawed? If it's so disturbing, don't watch or play it. You don't need to restrict everyone else from playing it just because you feel offended. Again, if it is real, it already violates other laws and can be dealt with, with existing laws. This "indistinguishabilty" could be rectified by, you know, asking the development team, looking for models or renders and such.

@Siftr "Sad, they actually think they are going to stop people from having it.
people who truly want to game are still going to go it."

I think that's the point. They're restricting the game so that only the ones who really want it can go get it themselves, and the mainstreme public won't be the wiser.

THe ones who want the game can still have their game, and the general public won't be outrage. Everybody wins. There's more to it than meets the eye.

Just wanted to mention...

You know how people always complain about censorship? Funny thing is, there is no real censorship going on in gaming except this. See, this is a real example of censorship. Censorship requires a government to take freedom away from creators and consumers.

FWIW I think the game and concept are vile, but lots of things aimed at adults are vile. For perspective, I'm a huge fan of God of War, GTA, and other violent games aimed at adults. Of course kids shouldn't play them.

But censorship is always and clearly wrong.

@Chuma

I can be naked in the privacy of my own home, or in the privacy of someone else's home with their permission. I can also shout as loud as I want and engage in consensual fist fights. Distribution of media is a private transaction. It takes place between the individual retailers and the individual consumer.

No ideas should be banned, ever. There are many activities should be banned. It is wrong to harm innocent people or abuse children, but I believe making it illegal to tell a story about terrorism or child abuse could be more dangerous to society than any particular example of such crimes.

It sounds like you think BBFC censorship is fine as long as it's in line with your own personal sensibilities. Isn't it at least possible that your own personal sensibilities are affected, even just a little bit, by which kinds of entertainment media the BBCF tells you are or are not allowed to view?

Jakethe8lf:

Are you deliberately missing the point here? There are standards of decency in all areas of your life. If you don't like that, you can go to some far remote island somewhere. When you live in a country of 65 million, there has to be some level of risk assessment, decency, order and legality. Where you set the line is how liberal or conservative you are as a nation. Some nations ban alcohol, some allow pot, some refuse to allow women to show flesh in public.

The UK is pretty decent where it sets its lines, and whilst I disagree with some of its laws and policies, I don't disagree with censorship as a concept. What I will discuss with people is the degree to which the line is set. If you don't think there should be a line at all, frankly I think YOU are the reason we need censorship...
 
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