In the wake of this week’s controversy, it’s clear that Manhunt 2’s unprecedented level of violence has raised concerns even among some veteran game journalists. Hence Rob Fahey’s pull-no-punches editorial in gamesindustry.biz:
This isn’t a case of knee-jerk reaction to the controversy surrounding the first game… Besides which, the [British Board of Film Classification] doesn’t succumb to knee-jerk reactions… Time and time again, the BBFC has shown that it understands and respects videogames.
In other words, with Manhunt 2, Rockstar has crossed the line – and crossed it at a full tilt run… this is judgement of a classification board which has happily classified Hostel and Saw, and indeed, the first Manhunt game.
This is killing, maiming and torturing for the sake of it; this may, in fact, be the game which lives up to the shrill claims of the conservative wing that games are “murder simulators”.
In making such a game Rockstar has been juvenile, shameful and irresponsible. The right of creators to push the boundaries of media and society must be balanced out against a simple sense of social responsibility – something with Rockstar seems to entirely lack.