Rockstar has been getting a lot of attention today because the ESRB slapped Manhunt 2 with the scarlet letter(s) of the video game world, an AO rating. Retailers like Walmart and Gamestop do not sell games rated AO, which would severely cut Manhunt 2’s sales. Rockstar still has the opportunity to challenge the rating or alter the content of Manhunt 2 so it fits a M rating.
Very few games get rated AO and most of them get branded with the rating for “Strong Sexual Content”. Thrill Kill (pictured) is the anomaly of the bunch since it got its AO rating for Animated Blood and Gore and Animated Violence. It was also the first console game to earn an AO rating, which was also the reason that it never made it to store shelves. It was originally going to come out on the PSOne care of Virgin Interactive. However, Electronic Arts bought the publisher out and decided that Thrill Kill isn’t the kind of game they want to release even after a censored M version was produced.
If Rockstar decides to let the AO rating stick, it will be the first console game on the market to sell with the label and without a recall like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.