Rockstar Games, a label of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. which was behind the notorious Grand Theft Auto series, is in the middle of yet another controversy. This time over the release of Manhunt 2, a game in which a player becomes an insane asylum escapee killing enemies in gruesome ways.
The game, which is set for a July 10 release, has already been banned both in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Furthermore, its U.S. release could also face trouble after the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) gave the game a rating of AO (Adults Only) on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo Wii. Rockstar has 30 days to either modify the game and resubmit it for a new rating, or appeal the decision with the game in its current state.
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.
To make matters worse, both Nintendo and Sony confirmed that they will forbid the games release on their console if the Adults Only rating stands, meaning if Rockstar is unable to overturn the ESRB's decision, the game will eventually find no means of publication with no console systems willing to host it. Nevertheless, if Rockstar indeed manages to receive an M rating, all this controversy surrounding the game will likely boost demand for the game in territories where it is still available.