Manhunt 2 is now cleared for release in North America thanks to the new M-Mature rating, but California State Senator Leland Yee didn't like the decision. It was his belief that Rockstar's changes to the game weren't enough to warrant a drop from the previously prescribed AO (Adults Only) rating.
However, the ESRB has officially responded to the complaint, according to Gamasutra:
"Upon reviewing the modified version of Manhunt 2," said ESRB President Patricia Vance in a statement, "the ESRB assigned a rating of M (Mature 17+) with content descriptors for Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content and Use of Drugs. This is a very clear and firm warning to parents that the game is in no way intended for children. As always, we urge parents to strongly consider the ESRB rating in their decision about whether a game is appropriate for their children."
The ESRB didn't specify the changes made in order to protect the publisher's privacy, saying it wasn't their place to "reveal specific details about the content we have reviewed, particularly when it involves a product yet to be released." Furthermore, Vance stood behind her organization by noting several others that have said the ESRB is doing a darn good job; among them, the FTC, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the national PTA.
"Rather than publicly second-guessing what is unmistakably a strong warning to parents about the suitability of a particular game for children, which presumably neither Senator Yee nor CCFC have personally reviewed, we feel a more productive tack would be to join us in encouraging parents to take the ratings seriously when buying games for their children. It is a parent's rightful place to make choices for their own children," Vance concluded. "The ESRB and console manufacturers provide families with the tools and information to help them do so."
Well, we applaud Vance's words and aren't about to second-guess the ESRB. Heck, we think their game ratings are far more accurate and even more conservative than the MPAA's ratings for films.
Related Game(s): Manhunt 2