Refusal to certify AO-rated games is standard policy for both manufacturers; though the game was not developed for Xbox or Xbox 360, Microsoft has similar guidelines. Manhunt 2 was developed by Rockstar Toronto for Wii, Rockstar London for PlayStation 2, and Rockstar Leeds for PSP. It was originally scheduled for a July 10 release in North America.
In a statement issued to GameSpot, a Sony representative said, "It's currently our policy not to allow the playback of AO-rated content on our systems."
"Games made for Nintendo systems enjoy a broad variety of styles, genres and ratings... As with books, television and movies, different content is meant for different audiences," said a Nintendo representative in a statement. "As stated on Nintendo.com, Nintendo does not allow any AO-rated content on its systems." When contacted by Shacknews, Nintendo offered the same response.
The ESRB rating came on the heels of the British Board of Film Classification denying a rating to Manhunt 2 in the UK, blocking the game from sale. While ESRB ratings have no legal authority, major retailers generally do not stock AO-rated products.
It is likely Rockstar will appeal the ESRB's decision, or modify the game and submit it for reclassification.