Take Two Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar Games behind the banned Manhunt 2 game (MW last week), is understood to have axed its entire UK marketing department.
UK marketing director Sarah Seaby left suddenly last week and a spokeswoman at the company says there now remains only a single PR representative for Take Two.
Take Two and Rockstar have been shaken by regulator the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) decision to reject classification for distribution of Manhunt 2 in the UK. The US equivalent, the ERSB, has given the game an Adult Only classification, meaning Nintendo and PlayStation will not publish the title.
The BBFC said the game featured “unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone” and “sustained and cumulative casual sadism”. As a result of the decision, many observers have questioned whether the publisher has acted responsibly with regard to games marketing.
Take Two has suffered a turbulent year. The US-based company posted a full year net loss of $185m (£92.4m) in February. It has been investigated by NASDAQ over stock options, and shareholders ousted board-level directors, including chief executive officer Paul Eibeler. A sale of the company was mooted earlier this year, although that now appears to be on hold.
The furore surrounding Manhunt 2 has seen Take Two and Rockstar come under the spotlight once again, with many claiming their games promote excessive violence.
However, a number of analysts believe that the controversy surrounding Manhunt 2 could fuel interest in the game and drive sales.
There are also unconfirmed reports that Take Two plans to appeal against the BBFC’s ban.