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What Would Make Manhunt 2 Acceptable To BBFC? 74

Posted by Zonk
from the probably-less-with-the-plastic-bags dept.
MTV's Multiplayer Blog wonders aloud what would make Manhunt 2 acceptable to the BBFC. The BBFC rejected the game for a second time a few days ago, and now MCV is reporting that the version they rejected was identical to the US version approved for an 'M' rating by the ESRB. From the BBFC's response: "Unfortunately I cannot list the changes we suggested as this is a matter between us and the distributor and if they are not happy to give you chapter and verse I'm afraid I can't either. I can say, however, that the changes were to the level of visual detail in the kills and to some of the dialogue. As our news release said, 'The impact of the revisions on the bleakness and callousness of tone, or the essential nature of the gameplay, is clearly insufficient. There has been a reduction in the visual detail in some of the 'execution kills', but in others they retain their original visceral and casually sadistic nature.'"
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What Would Make Manhunt 2 Acceptable To BBFC?

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  • by king-manic (409855) on Friday October 12, 2007 @10:55AM (#20955121)
    I think if they just changed the name to "OMG Ponies" the BBFC might change their mind.
    • by Daimanta (1140543)
      And add cute invincible bunnies ^^
    • by Rub1cnt (1159069)
      Hmm...canceling it all together comes to mind...the first manhunt wasn't that good anyway. It's amazing...we have all these unrated DVDs of major horror flicks here in the states and our closest ally...can't stomach the violence of a simple, allbeit bloody video game? I'm all for full disclosure on what they took out to pass the ratings boards here and in the EU... *shrug*
      • It depends upon what you value.

        Here in the US we value the ability to kill someone. We still have that "Wild West" attitude. Two days ago, a child shot four people and committed suicide. Yesterday another child was arrested for allegedly planning a "Columbine" style rampage. We don't care about weapons, just don't show any titties and you'll do just fine.

        In England the emphasis is different. Titties are quite nice. :) Violence is not!

        I have a DVD of "Goldfinger". In the director commentary a stor

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ozbon (99708)

        Whereas by comparison, the UK has plenty of open-ness with nudity, semi-nudity etc., but in the US the sight of one breast at the Superbowl leads to a whole new age of broadcast puritanism...

        Personally, I'd far rather that a game (or film) with a (and I'm quoting) "visceral and casually sadistic nature" was censored or limited than something containing semi-nudity. I'm not even referring to porn per se, but just nudity and profanity in a TV programme. Much as it's utter shite, the current "Secrets of a Cal

      • Well, from what I've read about the US release, all of the content in the AO rated version is the same as the M version, they just pasted effects on top of certain scenes to make everything harder to see. It's sort of like how Martin Scorsese reduced the vividness of the blood in the ultraviolent ending of Taxi Driver to please the censors. It's a little bizarre that both ratings boards were more concerned about the imagery than the content.
    • Simple (Score:3, Funny)

      by T0wner (552792)
      sed 's/FF0000/00FF00/' manhunt2/src/*
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        For those that missed this wonderful joke, that changes all the Red to Green... As in, the blood.

        It was an old tactic to get by the censors because green blood means it's not human and is therefore okay to kill, somehow.
        • by Nuskrad (740518)
          Not funny if you have to describe it. Anyone who doesn't get it shouldn't be on slashdot anyway
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Why not sed 's/FF0000/FF66CC/' manhunt2/src/* to make it go with the OMG Ponies theme?
    • Or how about "Where's Man 2"? Your target is wearing red and white stripes...
  • Perhaps if they removed all those ninja and samurai along with those ninja moves like sneaking or stealth killing they'd be a bit more lenient.
  • BBFC's response has almost sold me on the game. Great work guys!
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      BBFC's response has almost sold me on the game. Great work guys!
      Yes; the BBFC's de facto ban on sales will sell the game to lots of people. Oh, hang on.... :)
  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stonecypher (118140) <stonecypherNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday October 12, 2007 @11:08AM (#20955341) Homepage Journal
    The idea that a regulatory or inspectory agency should be unable to cite reasons for its decision is essentially the exposition that it has no rules. I'm an American video game developer, and whereas I write kids' games and have dodged this bullet, I can say for certain that the ESRB is full of crap and has no idea what it's doing. It sounds, however, like Europe is winning the war in arbitrary judgements based on personal beliefs and associations with retailers.

    This is absurd, and the BBFC should be replaced with an agency willing to set their rules out in black and white.
    • Their decision basically boils down to "we don't like it, so it's banned."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by meringuoid (568297)
        Their decision basically boils down to "we don't like it, so it's banned."

        In fairness to the BBFC, this is the second game they've ever banned. The only other case was Carmageddon.

        Remember how America had such a fuss over San Andreas? Because with only the violence it was rated for 17+, while with the sex scene it had to be rated 18+, and this was a major issue? Well, here it was rated 18 with the violence (the next rating down is 15) and with the sex it was, er... 18. No problems at all.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by stonecypher (118140)

          Because with only the violence it was rated for 17+, while with the sex scene it had to be rated 18+, and this was a major issue?

          The major issue wasn't the year's difference in rating, it was that the developer lied to the ratings board. It didn't help that games with sexual content weren't announcing the sexual content - our rating system is more than just an age number, and requires expository labelling - but the real problem was that the developer lied to the ratings board.

    • I don't know how the BBFC works, but the ESRB pulls in volunteers who are parents of school-age kids to watch 30 minutes of footage from any given game and has them conference to determine the game's rating. The footage is required to show anything which may tip the rating - they publish a list of "potentially pertinent" factors and send them to every developer so the devs know what to make sure they get in.

      It's silly nonetheless, though, because you've got parents who don't necessarily know the first thin
    • I'm not necessarily agreeing with the decision, but clearly they can't just go telling everyone the exact reasons for their decision otherwise they will run afoul of the copyright of the developer. Their decision is going to be based on plot and events from the game, which obviously the developer probably doesn't want everyone to know. It would surely spoil the game if you get to know what's going to happen? Course, at the moment you definitely won't know but there's no saying that in the future the game mi
      • I'm not necessarily agreeing with the decision, but clearly they can't just go telling everyone the exact reasons for their decision otherwise they will run afoul of the copyright of the developer.

        They could tell the developer, though.

        Their decision is going to be based on plot and events from the game

        I don't see any reason to believe this. The ESRB's isn't.

        They do say that the developer knows the reasons

        RTFA. The problem is that they won't tell the developer.

        • by rrdm2k (932657)
          A quote from Sue Clark from the BBFC in TFA: "Stephen, unfortunately I cannot list the changes we suggested as this is a matter between us and the distributor and if they are not happy to give you chapter and verse I'm afraid I can't either."

          Sounds as if they have told the developer since Take two interactive owns Rockstar and distributes/publishes all their products. The only reason the BBFC can't tell anyone else is because Rockstar/Take two don't want them to.

          Don't tell someone to RTFA unless you'

    • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Friday October 12, 2007 @11:43AM (#20955997) Journal
      Uh, the BBFC cited the reasons for the decision. They do it with every decision they make, in fact, and just because the reasons haven't been clearly outlined in news stories on Gamespot and Slashdot that doesn't mean that they weren't clearly outlined to Rockstar.

      Have a look at what's on the BBFC's website and you'll see that they don't operate in secrecy, so your reaction seems a little harsh to me.
      • Uh, the BBFC cited the reasons for the decision.

        That's funny. The developer can't even get the BBFC to give them the reason the game was rejected, and yet you think the reasoning is public. If you search for manhunt, you get a bunch of films, you get the first game, but you don't get the second game. Perhaps you could find this explanation for me? I can't find it, the developer can't find it, and frankly I don't really believe it exists.

        When you assume, you don't actually make an ass out of me.

        • The developer can't even get the BBFC to give them the reason the game was rejected, and yet you think the reasoning is public.

          RTFA...

          From the article, quoted from the Rockstar statement: (Rockstar are the developers of Manhunt).

          The changes necessary in order to publish the game in Britain are unacceptable to us and represent a setback for video games.

          For the developer to be aware of the changes necessary for the BBFC to give Manhunt 2 a rating implies that the BBFC informed them of exactly what they considered unacceptable. They just don't want to do it.

          And, as someone else has noted, the BBFC has only ever denied a rating to one other game (Carmageddon), although that decision was overturned on appeal. And if I remember correctly from the original de

        • Read the reply above mine.

          I'll forgive you for implying that I'm an ass if you'll forgive me for pointing out that you've made an ass of yourself.
    • by RonnyJ (651856)
      The only reason that the BBFC can't publicly come out with the suggested changes is that Rockstar themselves have chosen not to give them out.

      The important quote: "if they are not happy to give you chapter and verse Im afraid I cant either"

  • I don't care... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meringuoid (568297) on Friday October 12, 2007 @11:11AM (#20955373)
    ... I'm going to order it from Holland.

    It's 2007. International borders mean little, information is weightless. Organisations like the BBFC are only going to become less and less relevant as time goes by.

    • by Elemenope (905108)

      No, they will be replaced by international NGOs who are accountable to nobody and have reach in far more places. After all, as trade in information is internationalized and nation controls become less effective, it seems only natural that that power vacuum will be filled by an agency of equivalent scope.

      Not that I like that idea one bit.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      I'm going to order it from Holland.
      Customs get a DVD-shaped package from the Netherlands, first thing they're going to do is check to see if it's hardcore pornography. :) It might not be, but they're aware of what you've got now anyway...
  • by svendsen (1029716) on Friday October 12, 2007 @11:30AM (#20955783)
    Just take the prison setting move it to a field of flowers with a bright yellow sun, blue sky and white fluffy clouds. Remove the bad guys and put in ponies. Remove weapons and replace them with water cans, so you can water the flowers. If you don't water them the plants get sad (they won't die...that's bad). Your guy should be changed into a happy princess who wants to bring the world a smile. And her weapon of choice is to shoot rainbows from her finger tips that make everyone happy and safe.

    See piece of cake
    • Your guy should be changed into a happy princess who wants to bring the world a smile.
      As long as there's advanced breast physics involved I'll buy!
  • ...and then release a patch on the Internet that restores everything. "Game experience may change with online play," right?
    • by adona1 (1078711)
      The version of Duke Nukem 3D released in Australia had something like that...censored content to begin with, but the full game [wikipedia.org] able to be restored with a single DOS command (the Wikipedia article is a bit off - there was actually a text file on the disc explaining how to unlock it, hardly a mix-up).

      It's a good idea...especially if the game company made you verify your age to download the patch. Everyone is happy then - the company can release its game without (fundamental) editing, the parents can be happy
      • by mdwh2 (535323)
        It's a good idea...especially if the game company made you verify your age to download the patch. Everyone is happy then - the company can release its game without (fundamental) editing, the parents can be happy because little Johnny is protected from vile evil sex/violence, and little Johnny is happy because the patch will be on TPB within 2 minutes.

        Note that the BBFC's ruling is about even adults not being allowed to see it.
    • Yeah, we saw how well unlocking features with patches worked out for San Andreas.
      • by Erpo (237853)
        Everyone knows that it's much more acceptable to show graphic, detailed video of torture and murder than it is to show video of two people going through the motions of making love without taking off their underwear.
  • Face it, this decision is based on general public opinion on video games as well as political climate and other social factors. It's 100% arbitrary. If Rockstar wasn't the developer, they could avoid the controversy Bully and GTA created and actually rate the game on it's own merits. As it is, the decision smacks of teaching Rockstar a lesson, especially considering some of the films they've let through in recent months. So, if they don't want to change the content they could just wait 6 months, by which ti
  • by matt me (850665)
    There are two paths to making the game more acceptable in society, that is, to the media, which define it. BBFC won't approve something if they expect letters written to The Sun and the Daily Mail.

    1. Change the title from Manhunt to something less headline catchy, and change the first level so that reporters won't see anything but bunnies and flowers.
    2. Alter the gameplay so that the player is murdering paedophiles.
  • As usual, you people are missing the forest for the trees. If you play their game, you have already lost:

    > what would make Manhunt 2 acceptable to the BBFC?

    How about electing different politicians?

  • From everything I've heard about Manhunt 2 it's not an adult game. The focus on GORE! and NASTY KILLING! is very adolescent. It sounds like something designed by an angsty, hate-filled teenage boy who's going to have a teacher see his notebook and be afraid he's going to be another Columbine killer any day now.

    All this gory, blood-soaked shit gets called "adult" but it's not. It's adolescents wallowing in mindless excess.
    • by westlake (615356)
      All this gory, blood-soaked shit gets called "adult" but it's not. It's adolescents wallowing in mindless excess.

      Tale Two has a hit in Bioshock. Intense, challenging, visually splendid. Why is it sacrificing so much hard won good will on a project that can best be described as torture porn?

      • Honestly, I watched my boyfriend playing the Bioshock demo and found that to be blood porn, too. I was almost physically sick as he bludgeoned his way through the first few rooms with a wrench.

        Why are all the "AAA" titles all about lovingly-rendered ways to kill? I used to like video games but they're really just falling down a hole of being by and for the self-hating, world-hating teenage boy.
        • by westlake (615356)
          I watched my boyfriend playing the Bioshock demo and found that to be blood porn, too. I was almost physically sick as he bludgeoned his way through the first few rooms with a wrench. Why are all the "AAA" titles all about lovingly-rendered ways to kill?

          It is a fair question to ask.

          In this season of the year I tend to return to games like Grim Fandango.

          In which you begin your journey through the Land of the Dead embittered and self-pitying.

          You advance in the game through decisions in which your charact

  • Judging from "adjustments" to be "suitable" for the German market:

    1. Claim every person is a robot.
    2. Throw all speech into some program that removes all bass to make it sound all robot'y.
    3. Cripple all "flesh" textures into some shades of grey and apply some bolts to the "skin".
    4. Make all blood green or blue, and say it's "coolant fluid".
    5. Apply the same for guts and say it's "pipes".
    6. And of course, put it all into a parallel universe far, far away.

    Should work out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by UbuntuDupe (970646) *
      You mean:

      1. Behaupten, jeder ist Robot.
      2. Alle reden veraendern, damit alle tiefe Stimmen robotisch sind.
      3. usw.

      God my German sucks.

      4 would be tolerable, as long as there's a special mode for people with colorblindness so that the player can have red coolant.
      • Ok, ok, if you insist...

        1. Behaupten, jeder ist ein Roboter.
        2. Die Sprachsamples in ein Programm werfen, das jeden Bass rausfiltert und roboterhaft wirken läßt.
        3. Alle "Haut"-Texturen ummodeln und grau hinterlegen, dazu Nieten auf die Haut pinseln.
        4. Alles Blut grün oder blau umfärben, und es als "Kühlflüssigkeit" bezeichnen.
        5. Dasselbe für Gedärme machen und es als "Schläuche" bezeichnen.
        6. Und natürlich spielt alles in einem weit, weit entfernten Parallelu
  • Whenever a school shooting or other media event gets blamed on kids having access to violent video games, Slashdotters are quick to point out that the parents weren't paying attention to the ratings. But the reaction to this story seems to imply that a lot of people would like those ratings to be basically toothless - like there's no level of horrific violence that should EVER qualify a game for the equivalent of an X-rating.

    Do we apply this standard to movies? Of course not. Everyone more or less accepts t
    • The BBFC is body that is legally empowered by the government to censor materials without justifying their decisions to the public.

      - If a movie is rated NC-17 by the MPAA, retailers may decline to carry it but it will play on all DVD players. You can order it online or find another less "moral" source. This is weak corporate censorship.
      - If a game is rated AO by the ESRB, it won't play on consoles (due to the decisions of Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony). It may still be bought and played on the PC. This i
    • by mdwh2 (535323)
      Um, the problem is that the game is banned, even for adults. I don't see anyone having a problem with enforced age restrictions to prevent children from seeing.
  • I personally read the BBFC's comments as

    'They didn't take our suggestions and tell us how wonderful and insightful we are so we are going to throw a tantrum and now allow their game'

    Their amazing B.S. comments about how they don't have a double standard for games vs movies is just icing on the cake...
  • According to articles on the US changes, they blurred out the real graphic scenes (which really disappoints me as an adult who should be able to see them). Why can't they release an M version with lots of blurring called "Manhunt 2: The Jack Thompson Pussy Version, Still Not For Kids" and an uncut, unblurred AO version called "Manhunt 2: For Real"?
    • by westlake (615356)
      Why can't they release an AO version called "Manhunt 2: For Real"?

      It's because no one in the gaming industry wants to be associated with a title whose only retail outlet is the adult bookstore. That includes established online distributors like Valve and Steam and Amazon.com.

  • Since they are now in a sense changing their vision of the original game, shouldn't they just make it Manhunt SP, or something like that, then release the full Pro version for the PC? They could even make a 'lite' version by cutting to a scene of flowers right before knife enters someone's heart.

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