Posted on June 25, 2007, Shawn Sines Veteran Game Journalist Sounds off on Manhunt 2
Even staunch video game advocates have been pulled into the fray over the Manhunt 2 controversy. The game industry is polarized on the issues raised by the ESRB’s “Adults Only”rating in the US, and the ban in the UK , Ireland, and Australia. GamePolitics featured “Sick Filth?”, veteran game journalist and editor of GamesIndustry.biz Rob Fahey’s scathing article on the unprecedented level of violence in Rockstar’s Manhunt 2.
This isn’t a case of knee-jerk reaction to the controversy surrounding the first gameÃ¢$¦ Besides which, the [British Board of Film Classification] doesn’t succumb to knee-jerk reactionsÃ¢$¦ Time and time again, the BBFC has shown that it understands and respects videogames.
In other words, with Manhunt 2, Rockstar has crossed the line – and crossed it at a full tilt runÃ¢$¦ this is judgement of a classification board which has happily classified Hostel and Saw, and indeed, the first Manhunt game.
This is killing, maiming and torturing for the sake of it; this may, in fact, be the game which lives up to the shrill claims of the conservative wing that games are “murder simulators”.
In making such a game Rockstar has been juvenile, shameful and irresponsible. The right of creators to push the boundaries of media and society must be balanced out against a simple sense of social responsibility – something with Rockstar seems to entirely lack.
Having not seen the game myself I can’t add to this much but I can agree in principal that Rockstar is not seemingly very concerned with the social responsibility of repairing the damage done by violent games in the marketplace.. then again I also don’t think that is the responsibility of a game maker. Society and the consumers should be the adjudicator here. Are they feeding the flames with continued games like this? Sure. Is there a market for them of mature adults? Definitely.
The BBFC, ESRB and other associations are doing their jobs by reviewing and judging the material – but failing to rate it or giving it a rating like “AO” is tantamount to a ban. I’m split on how that all works – on the one hand it is a responsible act by these folks to warn consumers and rate the games as they see fit. Now the question is will Rockstar do what is needed to get the game on shelves? I bet you they will.
No one throws away millions of man hours and dollars building a game they can’t sell.