Rockstar: Manhunt 2 Not Neutered for Release

By Chris Faylor, Oct 30, 2007 12:01pm PDT Though modified, Rockstar Games' brutally violent Manhunt 2 (PS2, Wii, PSP) was not neutered in the company's quest for an M rating, claims Rockstar VP of product development Jeronimo Barrera.

"We feel we kept the original vision and the content and we didn't neuter the game as people say we have," Barrera told MTV.

The original version of Manhunt 2 received an Adults Only rating from the ESRB and denied a rating by the British Board of Film Classification, causing Nintendo and Sony to deny the game a release on their platforms. Rockstar later submitted a "modified" edition of the game to the ESRB, securing a Mature rating and scheduling the game for an October 31 release in North America.

At the time, Rockstar refused to specify what those modifications entailed. It has since been reported that the so-called censored edition adds blur to some of the game's more violent non-interactive scenes, making it more difficult to discern the on-screen actions. Barrera was adamant that no portion of the game's story and cutscenes were removed, though a system that awarded players for repeatedly performing the most violent acts in the game was taken out.

"The scoring was a hold-over from the first game, and when we had the opportunity to make edits because of the rating, we decided to remove it," noted Barrera. "We felt it flowed better without a score screen between levels.

"You know, a lot of people just believe this is a murder simulator and all you do is kill people," he stated. "But the reality is that there's a really strong narrative. And I think we've built something that's really unique in the sense that it puts the player in a position that you absolutely would never get into in the real world."

As for an uncensored PC version of the game, Barrera emphasized that the pays attention to feedback, but did not have any announcements to make at this time. He also hinted that a multiplayer-oriented Manhunt title may be in the works.

"I think we all here want to make the best games we can possibly make," Barrera concluded. "We make creative decisions along the way. There are guidelines we adhere to and think we are well within. I don't understand why a game like this got an AO while we were well within the M-rated territories."

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  • I've got the Wii version in my hands right now, I've seen the videos with the original kills from the beta leak. I'll report back when I get home and get a chance to play, but I want to point something out now:

    Looking at the leaked version video, I was struck how there were certain kills where the screen would get artfully covered with a blob of blood right over the extreme offending area- such as right over the face as it's getting mangled or right over the neck and head area at the moment of decapitation. Also, there were kills, such as the pistol in the mouth, where the crucial moment was jerked offscreen.

    I'm sure Rockstar was trying to come up with some internal mitigation of what they thought were the most worst moments before they submitted it.