While Manhunt 2 managed to squeak through with an M-Mature rating in the US, thereby granting it access to store shelves for the PS2, PSP and Wii, even the edited title couldn't get a classification from the UK's BBFC. Of course, this means it still can't release in that region, and Rockstar isn't too happy about it.
Today, according to Eurogamer, the publisher began its appeal against the BBFC, accusing the board of putting their own reputation above the interests of gamers. They weren't pulling any punches, either, as Rockstar spokesman Geoffrey Robertson actually said the British Board of Film Classification was a misnomer, and that they should start calling it the British Board of Videogame Censors (now that's funny). After reminding everyone that no evidence has been discovered to prove that "playing interactive videogames leads to a propensity to act them out in real life," Robertson wondered why Manhunt 2 was being singled out. Then he went even further by accusing the BBFC of being "simply ignorant of the gaming experience" and "throwing adjectives with hyperbolic abandon at the game."
"Their reputation is not at stake; if it were we could show how, over the last century, they've been derided for some of the most stupid decisions in censorship history," he said. "But we're not going to go down that road."
Robertson cited statistics that placed the average age of a gamer in the UK at 28 (it's supposedly 33 here in the US), and that the genre is split between 55% male and 45% female (which we almost find hard to believe). But more importantly, Robertson did something all us gamers have wanted to do to those anti-game activists: stand up and say that none of the involved have any experience whatsoever- "There you are, seven of you – not one of you has experienced, I'm told by the chairman, computer games, or are a gamer," he said. Bravo! Of course, one panel member said that wasn't true, saying that some of them "had played computer games," and the panel had played Manhunt 2 before the hearing.
Robertson clearly didn't appreciate the suggestion that those who played the game would immediately head out and start maiming people, and further emphasized his initial point by finishing with- "We say [Manhunt 2] has been banned not because of any likelihood it will harm gamers, but because of the likelihood it will harm the reputation of the BBFC."
Well, it is the BBFC, so he makes a strong point. Obviously, Rockstar is lobbying hard to get Manhunt 2 released over there, and with an estimated 26.5 million gamers in the UK, we can understand why. But we'll have to see if this appeal goes anywhere first.
Related Game(s): Manhunt 2