It was bound to happen. The ultra-violent Manhunt 2 for the PS2 and Wii has been officially banned in the UK, and it probably won't be the last region to refuse to sell this harsh sequel. The decision was taken by the Director and the Presidential Team of Sir Quentin Thomas, Lord Taylor of Warwick, and Janet Lewis-Jones. David Cooke, BBFC Director, had this to say-
"Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly. 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."
The brutality of the original game was well-documented and immediately targeted by concerned parents and anti-game activists, so it's no surprise to learn the sequel is just as offensive. Most will say there should be no limitations or censorship in any art form, but perhaps there is a line that can be crossed…and maybe Manhunt 2 crossed it. The UK believes the line was crossed, and the decision is final.
"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."
Distributors and retailers can appeal this decision under the Video Recordings Act, but it's not likely an appeal will get anywhere.
First the Church of England flames Sony for Resistance, and now the entire UK is banning Take-Two from publishing Manhunt 2. The game has been rejected by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), which is sort of like the U.S.'s FCC. Manhunt 2 marks the first time in 10 years that a game has been rejected in the U.K. – the last game being Carmageddon. Shortly after the banning of Carmageddon, the Video Appeals Committee overruled the judgment and the game was published.
“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.
“That work was classified ‘18’ in 2003, before the BBFC’s recent games research had been undertaken, but was already at the very top end of what the Board judged to be acceptable at that category..
Related Game(s): Manhunt 2