The video games industry has been dealt a severe blow after the decision to ban Manhunt 2 for being too violent. It is the first game to be banned by the BBFC certification board since 1997.
Manhunt 2 is from the duo behind notorious titles Grand Theft Auto and Bully, developer Rockstar Games and publisher Take Two Interactive. The decision to ban it will be a blow to the publisher which announced a massive restructure and a swathe of job cuts last week as it aims to cut $25m (£13m) in costs.
The BBFC decision was accepted by gaming body ELSPA with its director-general Paul Jackson saying it shows the games ratings system in the UK is “effective”.
BBFC director David Cooke says: “Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications… In the case of Manhunt 2 this has not been possible.”
He added that Manhunt (1) “was classified ’18’ in 2003, before the BBFC’s recent games research had been undertaken, but was already at the very top end of what the Board judged to be acceptable at that category”.
In 1997, the BBFC rejected the Carmageddon game but its decision was subsequently overturned on appeal.
This news comes in the same week that two high-profile games veterans were named in the Queen’s birthday honours list in a move that aimed to bolster the industry’s image.
Roger Bennett, the former director-general of the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publisher Association, was awarded an MBE, while Electronic Arts’ executive vice-president of international studios David Gardner has been awarded an OBE.