Enter multiple symbols separated by commas

Britain Decides to Ban Video Game 'Manhunt 2'

British censors Tuesday banned a video game for the first time in 10 years, rejecting U.S.-published "Manhunt 2" for what they described as an unrelenting focus on sadism and brutal slaying.

The decision by the British Board of Film Classification, or BBFC, means the game, from publisher Take-Two Interactive Software , which made the controversial "Grand Theft Auto" series, cannot be legally supplied anywhere in Britain.

The ban prompted one U.S. family group to start lobbying for a rating to ensure major American retailers cannot sell the game in which players become an insane asylum escapee sneaking up on enemies and killing them in gruesome ways.

In a statement on the board's Web site, BBFC director David Cooke said rejecting a work was a very serious action and not taken lightly. He said the board preferred to consider cuts or changes but that was not possible in this case.

"'Manhunt 2' is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing," he said.

"There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game," Cooke said.

Take-Two could not immediately be reached for comment.

The BBFC noted it was the first game to be denied a classification since 1997, when "Carmageddon" was rejected for having players run down pedestrians. That decision was overturned on appeal.

The BBFC said the Take-Two label Rockstar Games that created "Manhunt" had the right to appeal the decision.

"Manhunt 2" is a follow-up to the 2003 original, which was classified in Britain for people aged 18 and over.

The original game created a storm in Britain in 2004 when the parents of a 14-year-old boy who was stabbed to death blamed the game for inspiring his 17-year-old killer.

The U.S. nongovernmental organization that evaluates games, the Entertainment Software Rating Board, has not yet given a rating for "Manhunt 2," which is slated for a July 10 release.

The Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood urged people to write the ESRB and demand an "Adults Only" rating, which means it could not be sold by major retailers.

"An "Adults Only" rating is the only way to limit children's exposure to this unique combination of horrific violence and interactivity," group co-founder Susan Linn said in a statement.

Contact U.S. News


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    Please choose a subscription

    Please enter a valid email address
    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.

Don't Miss

U.S. Video

  • Hero miles for military members: Real estate magnate's plea

    Chairman of the Fisher House Foundation, Ken Fisher, discusses the Hero Miles program with CNBC's Dina Gusovsky. During Military Appreciation Month, Fisher is asking every traveler to donate 1,000 of their miles to replenish the Hero Miles programs that is in danger of running out.

  • Cramer shuts down this market's haters

    "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer on why this market can't stop, won't stop.

  • From the battlefield to the boardroom

    Your Grateful Nation is dedicated to helping Special Forces veterans enter the corporate world and Knot Standard provides complimentary suits to vets. Mad Money's Jim Cramer spoke with Rob Clapper, Your Grateful executive director; John Ballay, Knot Standard co-founder and president; Tej Gill, retired U.S. Navy Seal; and Darren McB, active duty U.S. Navy Seal.