ESRB Responds to Manhunt 2 Re-Rating Concerns
As Andrew discussed yesterday, California Senator Leland Yee has asked that the ESRB come forward and release the details as to why Manhunt 2’s rating was lowered from Adults Only to Mature.
“Parents can’t trust a rating system that doesn’t even disclose how they come to a particular rating. The ESRB and Rockstar should end this game of secrecy by immediately unveiling what content has been changed to grant the new rating and what correspondence occurred between the ESRB and Rockstar to come to this conclusion. Unfortunately, history shows that we must be quite skeptical of these two entities.
Clearly the ESRB has a conflict of interest in rating these games. It is time to bring transparency to this rating system and for the industry to be held accountable. I join the [Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood] in urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the process by which Manhunt 2′s rating was downgraded from AO to M.”
ESRB President Patricia Vance issued a statement in response to the outcry which did very little to address the concerns specifically, and instead explained why the ESRB wouldn’t disclose details.
“Upon reviewing the modified version of Manhunt 2, 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.
Publishers submit game content to the ESRB on a confidential basis. It is simply not our place to reveal specific details about the content we have reviewed, particularly when it involves a product yet to be released. What can be said is that the changes that were made to the game, including the depictions themselves and the context in which those depictions were presented, were sufficient to warrant the assignment of an M (Mature 17+) rating by our raters.”
This is certainly going to get a response from Senator Yee, as he appears to be rather adamant about the ESRB being as forthcoming as possible. Suffice it to say, we haven’t seen the end of this story.