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Manhunt 2 Reduced to M, Releases Halloween (Updated)

Rockstar Games today announced that Manhunt 2, the much-maligned game that was put on indefinite hold after receiving an Adults Only rating from the ESRB, has now been "modified" and assigned a Mature rating.

The brutal horror title is now coming to stores this Halloween--Wednesday, October 31--on the PlayStation 2, Wii, and PSP. Rockstar London and Rockstar North handled the PS2 version, with Rockstar Toronto responsible for the motion-controlled Wii edition and Rockstar Leeds on the PSP iteration.

"Manhunt 2 is important to us, and we're glad it can finally be appreciated as a gaming experience," said Rockstar executive producer Sam Houser. "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 publisher Take-Two was left without a strong seasonal release following the delay of Rockstar North's Grand Theft Auto into 2008. It had previously planned to release the highly anticipated entry in its popular franchise this October, with many expecting the game to be among the year's top-selling titles.

Originally planned for a July release, Manhunt 2 was "temporarily suspended" following the ESRB's AO rating of the uncensored game. The British Board of Film Classification refused to rate the original PS2 and Wii versions, preventing them from being sold within the United Kingdom.

Console manufacturers Sony and Nintendo subsequently refused release of the game on their platforms on the basis of the ESRB's rating.

Update: When questioned about the changes made to Manhunt 2 that resulted in the lower M rating, a Take-Two representative responded, " At this point we have no further comment beyond what we said in our press release this morning."