It's official, it was all a publicity stunt. OK, maybe not, but Take-Two just announced that after months of hand-wringing and "We don't know if this game will ever see the light of day" the once AO-rated Manhunt 2 has dropped to an acceptable level of sex and violence and secured a Wal-Mart viable Mature rating for a Halloween release of the game.
While the press release on the jump is full of all sorts of jubilant quotes and drops phrases like "powerful piece of interactive story telling" and "extraordinary game", I suspect this wasn't much of a surprise to Take-Two and the Rockstar folks. Why else would they have continued to display the game and give press hands-on time with it if it wasn't going to make the cut.
What I'd really love to know is what exactly they cut to make the rating drop. I suspect it will be one or two levels that were easy to dispose of for little or no expense.
Manhunt 2 Receives "M" Rating ESRB rating assignment clears the way for October 2007 North American release
New York, NY - August 24, 2007 - Rockstar Games today announced it will release Manhunt 2 for the PlayStationÂ®2 computer entertainment system, PSPÂ® (PlayStationÂ®Portable) system, and the Wiiâ„¢ home video game system from Nintendo in North America on October 31, 2007. This announcement follows the submission of a modified version of Manhunt 2 to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), who has now rated the title "M" for Mature for ages 17 and older.
In June, Take-Two was compelled to suspend the release of the horror title when the ESRB issued an AO (Adults Only) rating.
"Manhunt 2 is important to us, and we're glad it can finally be appreciated as a gaming experience," said Sam Houser, founder and executive producer of Rockstar Games. "We love the horror genre. Manhunt 2 is a powerful piece of interactive story telling that is a unique video game experience. We think horror fans will love it."
"Manhunt 2 is an extraordinary game, and we eagerly anticipate its release in North America," added Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two.
Manhunt 2 is the debut title from the newly formed Rockstar London studio, which is developing the game in conjunction with series creator Rockstar North. Early previews of Manhunt 2 have consistently praised the game's original design and creative use of narrative, tone, and atmosphere to evoke an experience many consider unmatched in video games. The Wii version is being developed by Rockstar Toronto.
Video games rated Mature are for consumers ages 17 and older and are not intended for children. Along with the Mature rating, the ESRB also assigned the following content descriptors to Manhunt 2: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content and Use of Drugs.
Rockstar Games is a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).