Yesterday’s news that the BBFC is to challenge the Video Appeals Committee’s backing of Rockstar’s quest to overturn the ban of Manhunt 2 in the UK is just the latest instalment in what has been one of the longest running and most eventful news stories this year.
For those of you whom the saga has seemingly been going on forever, here’s a recap:
In June the BBFC decided not to grant Manhunt 2 an 18 certificate in the UK, effectively banning it from sale. Rockstar admitted to being disappointed with the decision, and even ELSPA said it was a bit gutted. A revised version of the game, where the gory execution sequences are turned into some sort of neon party-like murder fest, was again denied release.
The game then arrived in North America sporting a suitably adult-orientated ‘Mature’ rating, even though one retailer got cold feet following a hack that allowed players of the PSP version to access the unedited gore, forcing US games body ESRB to defend itself. It then transpired that the version released on the other side of the Atlantic is the same as the revised version denied release here.
Talk of a possible digital-downloads lifeline emerged, but was soon forgotten when Rockstar announced that it was to challenge the BBFC decision. The Video Appeals Committee then backed Rockstar by four votes to three, a move which delighted the publisher. However, the BBFC is far from finished with the ordeal, saying it will now take the debate to court. And Rockstar is once again disappointed.