How Rockstar can come on top from their AO debacle

By Spencer . June 20, 2007 . 5:00pm

manhunt2.jpgFirst Manhunt 2 was banned in the UK and now the ESRB rated AO (adults only) version is going to be banned in the USA too. Sony and Nintendo have policies that prohibit AO rated games from appearing on their consoles. Unless Rockstar alters the game, Manhunt 2 will not appear on the Playstation 2, PSP and Wii. Making the necessary corrections will take time and more money from an already financially wounded Take Two, but Rockstar hasn’t lost yet.


Actually, they might have already “won”. Look how much attention is encircling the Manhunt 2 debacle. More attention should lead to more sales. After Rockstar ponies up to make the necessary changes for a rated M Manhunt 2, they can release a rated AO director’s cut version of Manhunt 2 in the future. Where? On PCs, where there are no ESRB restrictions about what can and cannot be published. Sure, stores like Walmart and Gamestop will refuse to carry the AO version, but Rockstar doesn’t have to rely on them anymore. They can digitally distribute the game and sell copies online through their official store. Atari pulled off a similar feat for Indigo Prophecy, it was released in stores with an M rating and later an AO version coined Indigo Prophecy Director's Cut was sold online. Of course Indigo Prophecy never got as much attention as Manhunt 2 and the director's cut probably didn't break sales records.  After all the AO hype and discussion Rockstar shouldn’t have any problem double dipping with Manhunt 2.

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  • Dan Zuccarelli

    It’s sad that a rating of AO is equal to censorship. Whether or not the game is any good I think it’s wrong that a company refuse to allow an AO game on their consoles. Let the consumers decide.

    I’m more upset at Sony and Nintendo that the ESRB or anyone else involved in this. Have the courage to stand behind their products. They both knew damn well what Manhunt was and were more than happy to oblige right up until the rating… now they act like it’s the 1st they’re hearing about it. Lame.

  • Pichi

    I hope they decide to release the AO version for PC. Have a M rated version and AO version, and with the hype, they surely can get their money’s worth.

  • thaKingRocka

    indigo prophecy’s/fahrenheit’s objectionable content was removable sexual content. manhunt 2 can’t remove the objectionable content here because it’s the premise of the game. the whole thing is being branded AO. there doesn’t seem to be any particular 30 second sequence to remove with manhunt. all that time and money spent on developing for the wii and ps2 is lost if those idiots refuse to grant licensing rights. it’s entirely ridiculous. the AO rating is there. why reject a title with it?

    i don’t think a company should refuse a title based on the rating. there is plenty of psp porn in japan, so i don’t know where this no AO crap comes from. was there no psp porn in america? wouldn’t porn be AO? nintendo are idiots anyway, but i didn’t expect this from sony.

  • ryne11

    I hope they can get it down to an M rating with little editing.

    Why not allow AO games on thier systems? Seriously..

  • Pichi

    @ thaKingRocka

    Porn is different from games. We are talking about AO games, nothing to do with porn. At least point out a CERO Z Japanese game.

  • Xero

    Poor R*

  • the_importer

    Here’s another option, scrap the project and make another Table Tennis game, only this time for Wii.

  • thaKingRocka


    well, the porn games get AO ratings much akin to porn films with X ratings. why would a game be so different from porn anyway? why are games any different from film? doesn’t the rating system follow much the same classification criteria as the film industry? sony didn’t stop dvd players from playing smut or faces of death, and i don’t see that they should stop AO games from being played on their game console.

    regardless, the rating system is in place so that people know what’s in a game and can purchase or avoid it using that information. there is no reason for sony or nintendo to refuse to allow a certain rating whether it be all ages, teen, or AO. thank god for the pc, but by the time R* gets a pc port out, they will probably be 50-70 million in the hole. this game is not that big a draw on the pc.

  • KG

    The MPPA rating vs. the game rating is false argument. DVD players are made many manufactures using a common licensed technology/standard and the hardware is not subsidized by the sale of DVDs. Video game hardware formats are controlled by single company and the industry business is based on hardware prices being artificially low due to sales of game software. Because success in the industry related to ongoing sales, the hardware companies have an interest in making sure their hardware doesn’t become tarnished by any developer’s software. The hardware guys have a much bigger market to worry about and they are not going to allow one developer walk in and cause the hardware companies a ton of PR headaches. None of the hardware guys want their unit to be branded as the ‘murder/porn game machine’, and then have zealots pressure wal-mart to stop selling their hardware. So for all the ‘this is censorship!’ folks, go lift up the cushions on your couch and pick up the 2 or 3 billion dollars necessary to launch a system nowadays and start you own game hardware company.

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