Take-Two just confirmed with Kotaku that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board gave both the PS2 and Wii versions of Manhunt 2 a preliminary rating of Adults Only, which would essentially bar it from all of the Wal-Marts and Targets of the world.
"The ESRB has issued an initial rating of AO (Adults Only) for Manhunt 2," Take-Two said in a prepared statement. "We believe the process of rating videogames is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them. Manhunt 2 was created for mature audiences and we strongly believe it should receive an M (Mature) rating, aligning it with similar content created in other forms of media. We are exploring our options with regard to Manhunt 2."
The rating comes in the wake of a campaign spearheaded by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to get the Wii version of the game an AO rating.
The Campaign was asking people to send an email to the ESRB's Patricia Vance calling for the game to be rated Adults Only, essentially comparing it to an X or unrated movie, because of the "unprecedented combination of video game violence and the interactive Wii platform." Up until that point the letter, while I don't exactly agree with it, at least makes sense. But then it goes on to say that giving Manhunt 2 anything less would be saying that the ESRB condones the marketing of violent video games to children. Keep in mind that a mature rating means 17 or older, while an AO means 18 or older.
The ESRB's Patricia Vance responded earlier today, saying they were waiting for Rockstar's response to their rating:
"We have received the letter from CCFC and, while we might take issue with some of the statements made within, we sincerely appreciate their expressed concerns. Our ratings are intended to provide guidance that allows parents to choose games they deem suitable for their children, and that is a responsibility we take extremely seriously.
"It should be noted that ESRB has already assigned a rating for the Wii, PS2 and PSP versions of Manhunt 2, and that rating has in fact already been communicated to the publisher. However, we are unable to publicly release the rating at this time as it is our policy that ratings be posted to our website 30 days following assignment, unless the game is released prior to the end of that period. This is done to give publishers the opportunity to consider modifying and resubmitting their games for rating or appealing the rating assigned to our Appeals Board should they wish to do so. We have not yet been notified by Rockstar as to what they intend to do with respect to our rating assignment."
The ball is now in Take-Two's court. According to the ESRB a publisher may either accept the rating as final or revise the game's content and resubmit the game to the ESRB, at which time the process starts anew. Publishers also have the ability to appeal an ESRB rating assignment to an Appeals Board, which is made up of publishers, retailers and other professionals.
Link to us http://wii.mmgn.com/News/Manhunt-2-AO-Rating
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