Manhunt 2 Denied UK Distribution

19 06 2007

It’s been almost a decade since a game was rejected by the BBFC, but Manhunt 2 has earned the “honour”. Every time I’ve seen people from the BBFC speak, they’ve been very switched on and interested in safeguarding media rather than censoring it, defending games and criticising negative newspaper coverage.

It seems Manhunt 2 has no such merit though:

“Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly,” BBFC director David Cooke stated. “Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications which remove the material which contravenes the Board’s published Guidelines.

In the case of Manhunt 2 this has not been possible. 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.

Although the difference should not be exaggerated the fact of the game’s unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying and the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer, together with the different overall narrative context, contribute towards differentiating this submission from the original Manhunt game.”

I feel quite sad that Take 2 and Rockstar have kept on pushing at that boundary and image, especially after some of the smart things they did with Bully (Canis Canem Edit). They may be big, but this wasn’t clever.

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