Posted By: Shrygue
via Next Generation
Following Take-Two’s admission that hackers had successfully unlocked Adults Only content supposedly cut from the M-rated version of Manhunt 2, California State Senator Leland Yee has called for the game to be reclassified again, while the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) has criticized the game for perpetuating “cruel, inaccurate perceptions that people who live with mental illnesses are violent.”
While multiple edits were made to revise Manhunt 2 so it would be granted a Mature rating (17+), hackers appear to have proven that the sections of the game in question were blocked but not entirely cut, allowing them to create a modified version of the title not meant for release.
“We hope that consumers will not engage in hacking or download illegally modified copies of our games. We encourage them to enjoy our games as they are meant to be played,” said Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick in a statement Thursday. However, as GamePolitics reports, Take-Two’s line of defense hasn’t been able to stop fresh waves of criticism.
“Not only should the AO rating immediately be reinstated on [Manhunt 2], the Federal Trade Commission should investigate Rockstar and the ESRB to determine how this was allowed to happen again,” said Senator Yee.
“Time and time again, the ESRB rating process fails parents. It is unconscionable that the rating board would downgrade Manhunt 2’s rating from AO to M and therefore make the game available to children. The ESRB and Rockstar continuously put profits before children.
“Parents deserve to know what, if any, content was truly removed to receive the downgraded rating. ESRB has refused to publicly disclose whether or not Rockstar divulged that such adult content could still be accessible. As if we needed more evidence, this episode further puts into question the validity of the entire rating system.
“The Manhunt 2 scandal further demonstrates the need for [California’s contested video game] law. I am hopeful that the courts will see that severe penalties are necessary for those who sell horrifically violent games to minors.”
The Gamer Gene also reports that NAMI’s executive director Mike Fitzpatrick issued a statement criticizing the title’s portrayal of the mentally ill.
“Even though some people may consider Manhunt 2 to be only a game, it unfortunately perpetuates and reinforces cruel, inaccurate perceptions that people who live with mental illnesses are violent.
“The U.S. Surgeon General has condemned such stigmatization, identifying fear of stigma as a major barrier to people getting help when they need it. The overall contribution of mental illnesses to violence in society is exceptionally small. In fact, people living with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of violence.
"We do not favor censorship, but we do ask for responsible exercise of creative rights when serious public health concerns are at issue. It is our right to demand a higher standard.”