ESRB Defends Manhunt 2's New Rating

Following calls from media watchdog groups for an investigation into the ESRB's recent re-rating of Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2, the board issued a statement today from its president, Patricia Vance.

In the statement, Vance defended the ESRB's decision last week to change the Manhunt 2 rating from its previously assigned Adults Only status to a more marketable Mature rating. The change came after Rockstar modified the game and resubmitted it for review by the ESRB.

"Publishers submit game content to the ESRB on a confidential basis. It is simply not our place to reveal specific details about the content we have reviewed, particularly when it involves a product yet to be released," Vance said in the statement. "What can be said is that the changes that were made to the game, including the depictions themselves and the context in which those depictions were presented, were sufficient to warrant the assignment of an M (Mature 17+) rating by our raters."

Vance also addressed her detractors, anti-violence activist Leland Yee and the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, in the statment, essentially saying their concerns are unmerited and unnecessary.

"The FTC, the national PTA, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Peter Hart Research have all found that parents are overwhelmingly satisfied with the ESRB rating system," Vance said in the release. "Rather than publicly second-guessing what is unmistakably a strong warning to parents about the suitability of a particular game for children, which presumably neither Senator Yee nor CCFC have personally reviewed, we feel a more productive tack would be to join us in encouraging parents to take the ratings seriously when buying games for their children."

Manhunt 2 will retail October 31 for PlayStation 2, Wii, and PSP. The PlayStation 2 version's development was helmed by Rockstar London and Rockstar North. Rockstar Toronto crafted the motion-controlled Wii edition, with Rockstar Leeds taking on the PSP release.