Do you really want to know?
Politicians usually wait for violent video games to hit the stores before they raise a fuss. But state Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, wants all the grisly details about how Manhunt 2 slipped past regulators with only an “M” for mature rating.
The game had been rated Adults Only by the Electronic Software Ratings Board. That’s the equivalent of the MPAA giving a film an X rating. With Nintendo and Sony both refusing to carry the game, Manhunt‘s daddy, Rockstar Games, appealed to the ESRB for a Mature rating—and got it just in time for the game’s Halloween 2007 release. Yee wants to know, what changed?
“Was this a minor change?” asked Adam Keigwin, spokesman for Yee. “Was this a major change? We’ve seen Manhunt the first edition, and we still don’t understand how that game was not given an AO rating.”
Manhunt 2, the sequel to 2003’s Manhunt, portrays an individual’s escape from a corrupt mental asylum and onto the streets. Like the first game, the only enemies are human, and many of the weapons at the player’s disposal are crude and improvised—making for some particularly gruesome deaths.
So far, the game raters won’t reveal why they changed their minds and decided the game was OK for the wider, and younger, audience. “Publishers submit game content to the ESRB on a confidential basis,” said ESRB President Patricia Vance. “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.”