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Censorship Entertainment Games

Hackers Uncensor Manhunt 2 125

Posted by Zonk
from the i-have-a-feeling-the-esrb-may-have-something-to-say-here dept.
Less than 24 hours after the release of Manhunt 2, you can already play the full and uncensored version thanks to some enterprising hackers. The news for Rockstar is just ... bad: "The game has been censored in the US in order for it to receive an M rating - and therefore a release - rather than the original AO rating it was given by the ESRB. The illegal exploit of the original PSP code indicates that the scenes that were cut in order to secure an M rating were not removed from the full game, rather disabled, much like the Hot Coffee mini-games in Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas." This is also exactly what prompted the re-rating of Oblivion and Halo 2 for the PC. We should expect to see an ESRB response to this very soon, then.
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Hackers Uncensor Manhunt 2

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  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday November 01, 2007 @11:11AM (#21197049) Journal
    Chances are, the disc uses some sort of copy protection. Chances are, this circumvents it. At least, that's how I'd play it if I was there lawyer.

    Thank you, DMCA, for making it illegal to crack copy protection, no matter what the intent.
  • Re:Stupid (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2007 @11:13AM (#21197087)
    That doesn't change the fact that unless you go in changing things...

    Ratings aren't for "you", they're for parents. From the parents' point of view, it's a moot point whether content is shipped unlocked or trivially locked.

  • The weird thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by naam00 (1145163) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @11:14AM (#21197105)
    ...well to me at least, is that the edited scenes (yes with overstated screenjarring during the more brutal moments) are actually more disturbing to watch (in a good way) than watching the same things happening in clearly visible low-poly animation. The power of suggestion at play.

    Weird in the sense that the people with their underwear in a knot over this manhunt business are still going to cry out over these less disturbing and plainly silly rendering resources being on disk, and the fact that hackers have removed the elements that make the scene more chilling.

    But I guess they will want to blow off no matter what the game actually looks like.

    http://gamevideos.com/video/id/15918 [gamevideos.com]
  • by jeks (68) * on Thursday November 01, 2007 @11:22AM (#21197239)
    Can we be so sure this is really an accident. They have been down this road before and must have learned the implications of it. Rockstar has some of the most brilliant people working for them. Are they really run by a bunch of idiots? I find that hard to believe.

    Nothing pisses me off more than conspiracy theorists, but here goes. Is it just me, or could this have been done on purpose? Maybe simply to maintain their "we don't give a f*ck" public image in anticipation for greater platform releases.

    Do ratings really affect end sales results? Most kids are determined enough to get their hands on what they want anyway, ratings or not, even if they have to go behind someone's back (naturally their parents). I sure know I was, even though there were no consoles back then, there were video tapes of magical events (rated and censored dare I say, here in Sweden) where real fighters squared off. I think the winner more often than not was named Bruce Lee.
  • by p0tat03 (985078) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @11:37AM (#21197459)

    Oh, I have no doubt Rockstar will benefit from this. Manhunt sales will jump, and achieve sales far better than it deserves (almost all reviews have universally judged it mediocre at best). It's the blatant disregard for the rest of the industry that pisses me off. This is the type of irresponsible "me" thinking that will get this industry censored by the guys on the hill. The *rest* of us are fine releasing M games, and AO games, and T games, and E games, why does Rockstar deliberately have to generate the media frenzy and even FURTHER undermine the authority of the ESRB?

  • by Sciros (986030) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @12:48PM (#21198561) Journal
    Your analogy to the magazine is way off, though. Folding over pages doesn't make them unavailable, heh, even if they're glued shut. Besides, the point isn't about accessibility per se (a high difficulty mode-related unlock can be just as inaccessible as outright disabling content from an effort-related standpoint), as much as it is a question of *what exactly is being rated.* Is it the game you will be playing? or is it the game you could potentially be playing if you use 3rd party apps to mess with the content in some fashion?

    I'm not defending Rockstar's decision necessarily, but I'm certainly not criticizing it and I am definitely criticizing the ESRB's usual reaction to these situations.
  • by Deceptin00b (1182903) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @02:20PM (#21199999)
    There are movies that have more than one DVD for them: the official one rated by the MPAA and the unrated version that has everything. Why not make games that way? The ESRB rated version, then an unrated version for those of us that have pubic hair?
  • uh what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SirSlud (67381) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:18PM (#21205863) Homepage
    How hard is it to either completely yank the naughty bits or replace them with functionally-identical bits

    You can't just open the binary in a text editor and zero-out the bits that are the surrounded by that 'im naughty' glow. You need to change the all the associated assets (the animations) remove all offending particle effects, yadda yadda. It's not a walk in the park. You've just worked in crunch mode for however many months to make sure the game never crashes, and suddenly, you're ripping out assets, rewriting significant chuncks of production/camera code .. its not an easy process.

    What they did was 'hide' the offending manhunts with post processing overlays and camera cuts. But to go in and remove animations and change actual 'kill code' (how the hero/enemies are interacting with each other under the censored textures/effects) would have been a huge task and created another stabilization cycle that would have lasted far longer. In short, it would have all but guaranteed that the project would end up in the red once all was said and done.

    What most people don't realize is that one of the biggest challenges in building video games is to make the 'build' process stable. An animation depends on a model which depends on textures. The game code depends on all those things, the number of joints a character has, even down to innocuous sounding things like whether a particular joint will ever be non-orthagonal to the floor. You change the animations, suddenly you rendered a lot of the testing you've done completely useless, because the math being used to make certain calculations for things like camera angle, relative positions of objects or joints to each other etc, now depend on a whole new set of assumptions.

    So no, you cant just yank the naughty bits. The devil is in the details, and unless you know the details, pretty much everything always looks simple unless you're the one doing it. Adding new stuff to make the old stuff relatively inaccessible is the only sane way to bow to the demands of the ESRB without requiring a whole new front to back testing cycle. Removing stuff, now thats tricky, because identifying what things depend on those things are sometimes programmatically detectable (by your build process, dependancy tree, and build validation code) but much much more dangerously only discoverable via testing.

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