ESRB Rates Manhunt 2 "Adults Only"

The Entertainment Software Ratings board, which assigns content ratings to games in North America, has rated the brutal horror sequel Manhunt 2 "Adults Only." Though there are no legal ramifications involved with such a move, most brick-and-mortar retailers voluntarily refuse to stock AO-rated products. Today's announcement comes just hours after the British Board of Film Classification refused to rate Manhunt 2, barring the game from sale in the UK.

Manhunt 2 is being developed by Rockstar Toronto for Wii, Rockstar London for PlayStation 2, and Rockstar Leeds for PSP. It has been announced as launching in North America on July 10, though the AO rating may affect release plans.

Take-Two Interactive, parent of Rockstar Games, has expressed its dismay at the news. "We believe the process of rating videogames is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them," the company said in a statement. It is currently considering its options in the matter.

The ESRB makes Manhunt 2 the second game from publisher Rockstar Games to be deemed suitable only for adults by the ESRB, after the organization reclassified the "Mature"-rated Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2, Xbox, PC) to AO following the discovery of its "Hot Coffee" sex-oriented minigame. Rockstar reissued the game with the offending material removed, at which point the game regained its M rating.