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Rockstar Forces Reconsideration of Manhunt 2 in UK

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the giving-it-a-fair-shot dept.

Government 31

boot1973 writes "Rockstar has won an appeal which forces the BBFC to look again at the ban that it issued against Manhunt 2. The BBC reports: 'The game could now go on sale, if the BBFC, which is "considering the judgement", takes no further action. In a statement, Rockstar said: "We are committed to making great interactive entertainment, while also marketing our products responsibly and supporting an effective rating system.'"

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31 comments

Good (1)

Tongsy (1188257) | more than 6 years ago | (#21654683)

It's just a game. I like this.

How'd that go again? (3, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21654825)

1. Write crappy game 2. Get lots of publicity for crappy game. 3. ???? 4. Profit!

Re:How'd that go again? (5, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21655099)

That may be, but crap or not - I say they still deserve publicity if they are willing to stand up to Government censorship.

Even if profit is their real motive, it's a gamble - remember that this isn't about age ratings (like in every other western country where they don't have such stupid censorship laws), the current situation is that no adult can legally buy the game.

And some MPs think things should go further - a recent proposed bill [next-gen.biz] suggested allowing MPs to overrule the BBFC when it approves media for release, if they decide that the material is unsuitable for us adults to view.

Re:How'd that go again? (0, Troll)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21655631)

That may be, but crap or not - I say they still deserve publicity if they are willing to stand up to Government censorship.

You make it sound so noble. In reality, they can't sell their game unless it gets rated. Without a rating they can't release it. Without a rating no console would even certify it. Even with a rating I doubt it will ever make a profit although it might allow them to claw back some losses, assuming any store bothers to stock it.

It's their own stupid fault for producing this game in the first place. Censorship is not some new phenomenon, something that appeared after they started work on Manhunt 2. It's a reality and should have been considered before they embarked on this money pit.

Re:How'd that go again? (1)

serialdogma (883470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657191)

But the GP, was complaining of government censorship. It is of course the right of a retailer to not carry an item, and the console company to refuse necessary licences for it to be released for their platform.
But besides that even if you make the leap of faith that the government should have some powers to ban thing; it is improper for the government hiding behind a quasi-independent body to ban any single item. The proper way would to of been for the CPS to bring a procession against the company and people involved under the OPA*, where there would be a real legal test to see if the game was violating the law.

*OPA = Obscene Publications Acts

Re:How'd that go again? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657379)

"Censorship is not some new phenomenon, something that appeared after they started work on Manhunt 2."

Funny, because Manhunt 1 was sold just fine.

"It's a reality and should have been considered before they embarked on this money pit."

It's a reality that NOBODY can buy the game, not just 18's. It's not fair. Even if it was 100% expected, that doesn't make it right.

Re:How'd that go again? (0, Flamebait)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21668771)

Funny, because Manhunt 1 was sold just fine.

Manhunt 1 is not Manhunt 2 is it? And the BBFC isn't beholden to a past decision when making a future one, especially when it has publically stated its intent to be more strict on games.

It's a reality that NOBODY can buy the game, not just 18's. It's not fair. Even if it was 100% expected, that doesn't make it right.

Censorship is a commercial reality that anyone attempting to make a movie or game for profit has to recognize. If Rockstar chose to ignore ratings boards and subsequently got banned that's their own stupid fault. It's no good whining about the system as if it's being unfair.

As to whether censorship "right" or not, British laws is enacted by democratically elected representatives. Do you think there should be no restrictions on the content of games and movies or not?

Re:How'd that go again? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672445)

"Manhunt 1 is not Manhunt 2 is it?"

If this wasn't a sequel, Rockstar'd have less to bitch about.

"If Rockstar chose to ignore ratings boards and subsequently got banned that's their own stupid fault. It's no good whining about the system as if it's being unfair."

If the BBFC randomly changes its tolerance on violent games, that ain't Rockstar's fault. That actually is unfair.

"As to whether censorship "right" or not, British laws is enacted by democratically elected representatives."

Surely the democratic public would prefer British Law to not spontaneously change, especially when it comes to using vague and inconsistent terms to cause silence.

"Do you think there should be no restrictions on the content of games and movies or not?"

I think if the gov't insists on censorship, it should be consistent, measurable/definable, and not change on a whim. You can censor the word 'fuck' pretty easily, right? That's an easy rule to follow. But if you're allowed to say that, and then the next day you're not, that's not fair. Become an enemy of the gov't, suddenly you're a law-breaker. But, hey, if you want to live in that world, be my guest.

Re:How'd that go again? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21700232)

If the BBFC randomly changes its tolerance on violent games, that ain't Rockstar's fault. That actually is unfair.

It doesn't randomly change its tolerance. The current guidelines are a consequence of a period of public consultation and are adjusted every several years to remain in tune with public opinion. The original Manhunt would have been subject to earlier guidelines which may have since been tightened. The 2005 guidelines say explicitly "In the case of videos and DVDs, which may be more accessible to younger viewers, intervention may be more frequent. For the same reason, and because of the different way in which they are experienced, the Board may take a more precautionary approach in the case of those digital games which are covered by the Video Recordings Act."

Surely the democratic public would prefer British Law to not spontaneously change, especially when it comes to using vague and inconsistent terms to cause silence.

It doesn't spontaneously change.

I think if the gov't insists on censorship, it should be consistent, measurable/definable, and not change on a whim. You can censor the word 'fuck' pretty easily, right? That's an easy rule to follow. But if you're allowed to say that, and then the next day you're not, that's not fair. Become an enemy of the gov't, suddenly you're a law-breaker. But, hey, if you want to live in that world, be my guest.

It is consistent, measurable and definable to the extent that it can be for subjective material. Obviously there are borderline cases where context and intensity of scenes can push a decision one way or another but I'm sure you'd know all this if you bothered to read the BBFC's own website. Just because one game was rated 18 in 2003 doesnt mean its sequel in 2007 will be, especially (as happened) the guidelines have changed in the interim.

Re:How'd that go again? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21702026)

"It doesn't randomly change its tolerance. ... " ...intervention may be more frequent. For the same reason, and because of the different way in which they are experienced, the Board may take a more precautionary approach in the case of those digital games which are covered by the Video Recordings Act."

Uh huh. It's very stable and predictable, unless you're making a video game, in which case, they're predictably and scientifically more 'precautionary'. That's why Rockstar was able to interpret these wonderfully clear rules and avoid all this development expense.

"It is consistent, measurable and definable to the extent that it can be for subjective material. Obviously there are borderline cases where context and intensity of scenes can push a decision one way or another but I'm sure you'd know all this if you bothered to read the BBFC's own website."

And if you had bothered to read... anything.. about this topic, you'd see what the problem is. Heck, you even alluded to part of it in your own post.

"Just because one game was rated 18 in 2003 doesnt mean its sequel in 2007 will be, especially (as happened) the guidelines have changed in the interim."

Umm.. yeah. Don't complain about me not reading stuff if you're not gonna read what I said.

Re:How'd that go again? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21663365)

Without a rating they can't release it. Without a rating no console would even certify it.

Without a rating, it isn't legal to sell it in the UK. This goes way beyond the certification issues in the US.

But anyhow, that was my point - given that they have no chance of making any money if they can't sell it, I don't see how they can be accused of doing it to grab publicity and make a profit, as the OP suggested.

It's their own stupid fault for producing this game in the first place. Censorship is not some new phenomenon, something that appeared after they started work on Manhunt 2. It's a reality and should have been considered before they embarked on this money pit.

I'm not sure how this relates to what I wrote at all. I wasn't given them sympathy because they won't make any money. I was criticising Government censorship (yes, the laws do stem from Victorian times, I'm not sure that's a good thing), and saying I'm glad that some companies aren't willing to self-censor themselves, even though it means risking not being able to sell it.

If Penguin Books hadn't been willing to challenge the UK censorship laws [wikipedia.org] and instead took the attitude "It's a reality and should have been considered before they embarked on this money pit.", we'd still be living in a country where publishing literature risked prosecution under obscenity laws for too many "fuck"s.

Re:How'd that go again? (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21655231)

1. Propose to ban violent games
2. Give a lot of free publicity to some violent games through borderline censorship attempts.
3. ???

Re:How'd that go again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21663347)

1. Write crappy game 2. Get lots of publicity for crappy game. 3. ???? 4. Profit!
I believe the correct answer is:
3. Sell game for money.

Re:How'd that go again? (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21668367)

You forgot the part where you generate tons of press over controversial content and then back down rather than defend the content, thus maximizing profit while damaging the artform.

Odd... (2, Funny)

n0dna (939092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21655649)

"We are committed to making great interactive entertainment"

Yet they keep releasing GTA and Manhunt games.

Re:Odd... (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21655979)

I agree that Manhunt was awful (in gameplay terms), but the GTA games are pretty much the best I've ever played, doing several genres well, in a freeroaming environment, and getting better with every release. I fail to see what problems you could have with it unless you just think it is unethical

Re:Odd... (1)

n0dna (939092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21656715)

No, I'm actually a fan of "whatever makes you happy," it's just that GTA bored me to death. I don't find killing pixels to be unethical.

First, you steal a car, then you drive it. Then to change things up, you steal a different car. "Woohoo."

At least with III, the guns and fighting were so badly unbalanced it wasn't worth the effort of trying to have a shoot-out, so you were left with your choice of which identical feeling cars you wanted to steal.

As for getting better, I couldn't tell you. With III so bad, I didn't feel the need to try Miami Vice City, and since I'm not much of a Bicycle-Riding-Gang-Banger myself, there is between zero and no attraction for me in S.A.

If you like it, go for it.

I just think Rockstar has no cred when it comes to "gosh we didn't know this mindlessly violent game would have this kind of reaction even though our last four mindlessly violent games did." I just think they are shitty games with corporate shills trying to push them on the controversy since there's no merit to sell them on. You never hear Rockstar saying "This game has new dynamic , and unreal physics with free-roaming ." All you get is "Strike a blow against censorship by buying yet another identically bad sequel!"

For what it's worth, I was mostly making a joke. :)

Re:Odd... (1)

n0dna (939092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21656777)

Sorry, that should have read:

"This game has new dynamic (something), and unreal physics (random) with free-roaming (blahblah)."

Slashdot stole my brackets.

Re:Odd... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657075)

Maybe you played the console version or something, I've only had the PC ones, so I've always found the gunfighting to be okay (mouse ftw :P ). The cars do have different handling, some are front wheel drive, some rear, some 4WD, I used to mess about with the vehicles in the original III but since then have just stuck to the built in versions. Seriously there have been good improvements on the series, mostly to do with the new types of vehicles like motorbikes, proper planes (none of your dodo crap thanks) and choppers, the jetpack, etc. And if you dont play the missions then you're missing out on a lot of the game. It does tend to get old a month or two after you've completed all the missions and just spend all your time driving around, but that's hopefully where multiplayer will shine in GTA IV, there will hopefully always be something to do :)

Re:Odd... (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21662165)

Manhunt 1 was awesome, but Manhunt 2 was NOT worth the $40 I paid for it. The game encourages you to ignore executions except when necessary for the story, just run in guns blazing most of the time. I'd ban it just for sucking so hard.

Re:Odd... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669049)

Manhunt 1 was made up of the same boring enemies over and over (at least in the levels that I played, I was utterly bored of it after a couple of days).. just increasing in number as you went through the game.. I just found it extremely dull compared to the FPSs I used to play all the time

Re:Odd... (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21708200)

Almost all games are the same boring characters over and over. Would you consider Metal Gear Solid to be a boring game because of it? The gameplay was great in Manhunt 1, but in Manhunt 2 I didn't even bother with Sane difficulty (normal) and went straight to Insane (hard) and it basically encouraged me to just ignore executions which were plentiful in Manhunt 1 and instead go all gungho terminator style with the shotgun and uzi.

Re:Odd... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723672)

Yeah I dont really like MGS, but that's more because of the perspective. I'm not really a big stealth fan (in single player games at least.. because you know it's all just an elaborate puzzle game)

Re:Odd... (2, Funny)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21656435)

I actually THOROUGHLY enjoy the GTA games. Love the sandbox playstyle, and most have a decent enough plot to go along with them. Nothing award-winning, mind you, but engaging enough.

Manhunt, OTOH... I played through about the first hour of the first one, and uninstalled it. I wasn't grossed out, or offended, or anything like that... It was slow, plodding, and ultimately, I didn't see the point. It was, as some have pointed out, violence simply for violence's sake, with no framework to support it.

Besides - read the quote again. "Great interactive entertainment". He didn't indicate art, or "thought-provoking media", or anything like that. The games (at least GTA) sell like hotcakes (when did hotcakes sell so well that they got that auspicious determination?) - so a lot of people like them, they are interactive, and while I guess "entertainment" could be subjective, they are sold in games stores. :)

I am just waiting (1)

Harliquin_Fool (966363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21656475)

I am just waiting for a 'Un-rated' version...this is probably why they want to get the game rated in every country before they come out with it. sounds conspiratorial, i know,but it is marketing

Video games rated under the same rules as movies.. (2, Informative)

syn1kk (1082305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21656849)

The ESRB rates video games not by playing them but by getting a video of important parts in the video game.

Here is my thought experiment:
What happens if you somehow got that same video that usually gets sent to the ESRB but instead had it sent to the movie rating group[1]? ( [1] Assuming that the movie rating group actually rates the movie and instead of ignoring it and not reviewing it. )

My guess is that the movie rating people would not bat an eyelash at any video game like manhunt 2.

Re:Video games rated under the same rules as movie (1)

serialdogma (883470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657783)

The game was banned by the BBFC not the ESRB or its PEGI european counter-part, the BBFC also rates (and bans/demands cuts) from films.

David Cooke, it's time to go.. (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21660587)

The summary talks about the BBFC incase you didn't know, BBFC stands for "British Board For Censorship".

David Cooke has been the director for waaay too long, he is taking his job too seriously as the protector of UK adults. It's time he resigned and let someone who isn't an old git that doesn't understand this new fangled technology take over.

Re:David Cooke, it's time to go.. (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21663669)

The summary talks about the BBFC incase you didn't know, BBFC stands for "British Board For Censorship".

No it doesn't. It stands for 'British Board of Film Classification'.

Re:David Cooke, it's time to go.. (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21664599)

I was joking.

NOt caring (1)

Tailsfan (1200615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661965)

After all. This is noty my kind of game.
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