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BBFC Tells Rockstar "Not far enough" on Manhunt 2 - Denies Rating Again Print E-mail
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Written by Christophor "SuperGuido" Rick   
Monday, 08 October 2007

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The BBFC, the ratings board in the UK on film and video games, has told Rockstar that the changes they made to Manhunt 2 are not enough to get a rating yet. The original version was shot down by the BBFC in June due to bleakness, depravity and the fact that you swing the Wiimote to kill an enemy or commit execution style murders. They said it was simply too representative of real violence to be considered a game and get a rating. Now they are at it again and have outright rejected the new version of the game on both platforms (Wii and PS2). No word on the PSP version or if it was even submitted to them yet.

The distributor had set in motion an appeal to the Video Appeals Committee against that decision, and this was suspended while the revised version was considered for classification.

“We recognise that the distributor has made changes to the game, but we do not consider that these go far enough to address our concerns about the original version. The impact of the revisions on the bleakness and callousness of tone, or the essential nature of the gameplay, is clearly insufficient. There has been a reduction in the visual detail in some of the ‘execution kills’, but in others they retain their original visceral and casually sadistic nature." -David Cooke, Director of the BBFC

“We did make suggestions for further changes to the game, but the distributor has chosen not to make them, and as a result we have rejected the game on both platforms. The decision on whether or not an appeal goes ahead lies with the distributor.”

Over the weekend I managed to see Spencer Halpin's Moral Kombat which deals with the debate around videogame violence and I must say that government regulation should be the last resort, not the first. Under British law it is illegal to publish a game of film without a rating from the BBFC. In America the ESRB rating is not mandatory but it came from the fight over videogame content and was developed by the videogame industry itself. Which way is better? Censorship and control of your citizens? Where do you draw the line then? How do you know when you've gone too far? I prefer self-policing. Give the game an adult only rating and have retailers lock it up or put it behind a counter like cigarettes, alcohol, pornography. But let your people decide, or they may one day just decide they don't need you anymore.

There is a negative stigma attached to the AO rating from the ESRB in America. What I do not understand is why? We have the R-rating for films which is essentially the same thing isn't it? So why is AO thought of negatively? Some thing just need to be kept from the eyes and hands of children until they are old enough and experienced enough to understand how to process it and think about it. But that doesn't mean censor it, it means educate people about it, inform them and let them make their own decisions. After all that is what freedom and democracy are all about. 

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