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Midnight Club: LA Remix coming September

Rockstar continues to show its love for PSP with the announcement of Midnight Club: LA Remix. It will release on the same day as its PS3 console brethren -- on September 9th. Rockstar London, the team behind Manhunt 2, will helm the PSP project.

Expect more information soon.

Manhunt actually getting released in UK

The perpetually banned Manhunt 2 will finally be released in the UK, after a lengthy battle against the BBFC. David Cooke, president of the BBFC stated: "As I have said previously, we never take rejection decisions lightly, and they always involve a complex balance of considerations. We twice rejected Manhunt 2, and then pursued a judicial review challenge, because we considered, after exceptionally thorough examination, that it posed a real potential harm risk.

"However, the Video Appeals Committee has again exercised its independent scrutiny. It is now clear, in the light of this decision, and our legal advice, that we have no alternative but to issue an '18' certificate to the game."

Rockstar must be relieved that their game can finally be released -- however, after all the legal battles, we wonder if anyone will buy the poorly-reviewed title.

[Thanks, Bill!]

PSP Fanboy review: Manhunt 2

Manhunt 2 has had an interesting development cycle. It's hard to think of another game that has been so steeped in controversy, politics and debate. But while the politicians and TV talking heads can go on and on about violence, corporate responsibility and protecting the children, the people who the game is actually made for (you know, gamers) are much more curious about how Manhunt 2 actually plays.

The game starts off with a massive lightning storm temporarily causing a blackout at a rundown and dingy insane asylum, which rather inconveniently causes all the cell doors to pop open, spewing forth a small army of violent crazy people. Your character, Daniel Lamb, suddenly snaps into consciousness while strangling an old female doctor as your cell door opens. Shocked at what you're doing, you drop her body and stumble out into the hallway in what segues into a mini-tutorial on how to sneak and kill. It also nicely showcases some of the ... questionable aspects of the game, since in the first five minutes you are peed on, spit on, and throw up twice.

Of course, the most controversial part of Manhunt 2 is not the urination -- it's the wide variety of grotesque ways you can kill people. While it is possible to engage enemies in normal hand-to-hand combat, this will almost always mean your death. The way you're 'suppose' to kill someone is by sneaking up behind them with a weapon and performing an execution. If done correctly, you will be treated with a short cutscene of you horribly eviscerating your opponent. Well, at least you'll assume you just eviscerated the perp, since Rockstar edited the cutscenes to appease the ESRB and ended up making them an unintelligible mess of quick cuts, bad camera angles, and blurred effects. Unless you're extremely squeamish, you're not going to be disturbed by the violence of the executions, but the cutscenes may give you epilepsy.

Gallery: Manhunt 2

Continue reading PSP Fanboy review: Manhunt 2

Rumor: Target may stop selling Manhunt 2 in stores

Calling this just a "rumor" is sort of complicating things -- this is complete hearsay and by that we mean unconfirmed prattle. Apparently, a member of the Evil Avatar forums got hold of a memo being passed around Target stores claiming that Manhunt 2 will not be sold in their stores or online. At any branch.

This is getting the push because of the bad press the game has received the last couple of days, member Dr. Finger advocates. Who knows, perhaps its the violence that can be unlocked as well. Either way, this is a complete rumor until a lot of people actually start looking for games in Target. A few sold out stores here or there aren't proof positive. Not yet.

[via GamePolitics]

Rockstar fails to credit some Manhunt 2 developers

Amidst all the controversy over Rockstar's latest release, Manhunt 2, comes word that someone else is now upset with the developer. It appears that Rockstar failed to include the staff of more than 50 people at Rockstar Vienna, which worked on the title for nearly two years until it was closed down, and several other people from various other Rockstar teams.

Thankfully, Jurie Horneman, a former Rockstar Vienna producer posted the full list of names on his blog, but he didn't stop there. According to Horneman, the work him and the rest of his team contributed to the game made it into the retail release of the game.

"I am disappointed and outraged that Rockstar Games tries to pretend that Rockstar Vienna and the work we did on Manhunt 2 never happened - the work of over 50 people, who put years of their lives into the project, trying to make the best game they could. I am proud to have been a part of that team," Horneman wrote. While we've been behind Rockstar during the flood of media scrutiny over Manhunt 2 and its past releases, we can't, like Jurie, help feel a bit disappointed that it failed to properly credit the developers who spent so much time creating its new cashcow.

[Via IGN]

Mental Health Alliance doesn't like Manhunt 2

Thankfully, Rockstar won't have to worry about any backlash from the ESRB due to the Manhunt 2 hack, but that doesn't mean it's totally in the clear yet as the National Alliance on Mental Illness condemned the violent title due to its portrayal of people suffering from mental illnesses. NAMI has called on Rockstar to further modify or even recall the game, and if that doesn't happen, for retailers to completely remove it from store shelves.

"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, NAMI executive director Mike Fitzpatrick stated in a press release. "Concern over the violence reflected in the game up until now has not yet been extended to include the outrageous portrayal of the 54 million people in the United States who live with serious mental illnesses. 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."

While we can somewhat understand Fitzpatrick's concerns, all forms of media have long perpetuated stereotypes and myths about not only this issue, but a myriad of others, as well. It only takes a few working brain cells to understand that every mentally ill person isn't going to rip your scrotum off, but hey, if you're crazy enough to believe that, you may need to have your head examined.

[Via Kotaku]

Take-Two acknowledges Manhunt 2 hack

After word spread throughout the internet of gamers hacking the M-rated version of Manhunt 2 to unlock its censored content, Take-Two has now confirmed the diabolical deed.

"Multiple edits were made to revise Manhunt 2 for its M-rated version. Hackers apparently have altered one of those edits to produce an illegally modified version of the game that can only be played on an unauthorized, modified PlayStation Portable handheld system," a Take-Two rep wrote to "All of the game material, and especially these specific edits, was submitted to and reviewed by the ESRB in accordance with requirements regarding disclosure that were enacted two years ago and any contrary suggestion is inaccurate and irresponsible."

Because the ESRB approved Rockstar's edits of the game, it will probably be safe from any actual lawsuits, but that probably won't stop some uneducated media members from blowing it out of proportion. We just can't wait to hear from dear ol' Jack.

From AO to M: the changes of Manhunt 2

You've seen the footage: the edited Manhunt 2 features toned-down kill sequences. Yes, they're still violent, but they had to be distorted in order to lessen the visceral impact. In spite of the changes, we think Rockstar did a fantastic job of still conveying the sadistic nature of a serial killer.

But that's not the only thing that's changed about Manhunt 2. A scoring system, which rewarded players for performing the most difficult (and most extreme) kills, has been removed. In an interview with MTV, developer Jeronimo Barrera noted that: "The scoring was a hold-over from the first game, and when we had the opportunity to make edits because of the rating, we decided to remove it ... We felt it flowed better without a score screen between levels."

With the game's release firmly set for launch this week, the developers are glad that people will finally have a chance to play their game. They certainly couldn't have anticipated the amount of controversy the game would receive: "There are conversations to be had about this game - intelligent conversations," he said. "That's what we want to do: get people interested in those [things], rather than ban this game because of X, Y and Z."

Manhunt 2 release impending, trailer on display

Holy s***!

There sure are a lot of masked gang members, strippers, dirty cops, and more in this launch trailer for Manhunt 2. This Wii, PSP and PS2 game garnered a lot of attention when it earned the much-hated AO (Adults Only) rating from the ESRB, and was effectively banned. It's been edited -- but it still looks like a pretty dirty romp to us. This trailer looks absolutely horrible ... and we love it.

Stay tuned for our hands-on impressions.

Manhunt 2 rejected by BBFC again

It looks like Rockstar may have to go back to the drawing board for a second time as the British Board of Film Classification has again rejected Manhunt 2. The first version of the game was rejected by the BBFC in June, which caused Rockstar to tone down the violence before resubmitting it for review.

"We recognize that the distributor has made changes to the game, but we do not consider that these go far enough to address our concerns about the original version," said David Cooke, director of the BBFC. "The impact of the revisions on the bleakness and callousness of tone, or the essential nature of the gameplay, is clearly insufficient. There has been a reduction in the visual detail in some of the 'execution kills,' but in others they retain their original visceral and casually sadistic nature."

Cooke said the BBFC made even more suggested changes that went ignored, which caused the second rejection. It's interesting to see the BBFC's latest decision as the ESRB recently awarded the revised Manhunt 2 a Mature rating after it initially rejected it, too. Take 2 has the right to appeal the decision, and frankly, we hope they do.

Beaterator and Timbaland pushed to 2009

Yes, we know, we're as crushed as you are. The musical beatmaking and music-mixing PSP game, Beaterator, by Rockstar games has been shoved back into 2009 because of fiscal year '08's robust lineup of titles, says the company. We're fairly sure that robust lineup constitutes mainly Grand Theft Auto IV, but we digress.

The title was getting produced right along with Timbaland, so we'll assume both of those are pushed to 2009. It's all right, though, we'll find a lot of other things to tide us over until these games come out. Either way you look at it, though, 2009 is a long ways off, especially if you calculate time using the Blog-o-scheduler, which is approximately fourteen human years.

Manhunt 2 gets M rating, releases Halloween

After receiving the much-feared AO rating from the ESRB, Take-Two Interactive had no choice but to delay Rockstar's Manhunt 2 and edit some of its more questionable moments. It looks like whatever they did, the ESRB is now satisfied enough to give the game a toned down, but still restrictive M rating. With an M rating, the game can now be sold in retail stores -- something the AO rating didn't allow.

"Manhunt 2 is important to us, and we're glad it can finally be appreciated as a gaming experience," said Sam Houser, founder and executive producer of Rockstar Games. "We love the horror genre. Manhunt 2 is a powerful piece of interactive story telling that is a unique video game experience. We think horror fans will love it."

With an M rating secured, Mahunt 2 will ship to retailers this Halloween, October 31st.

Rockstar Leeds refocusing on the next-gen

Will there ever be a San Andreas Story? It seems increasingly less likely. Rockstar Leeds, the talented team behind the first two PSP GTA games and the PSP port of The Warriors is looking to do its own thing, and work on original IPs for the "next gen." Studio head Gordon Hall explained to Develop, "We're going to be branching out further into next-gen - we've done original work on an existing franchise, but now we want to work on new IPs, and are looking at what we can do on Xbox 360 and PS3."

However, Leeds isn't done quite yet with the portables. "It's not over for handheld for us - there's more coming there - but our new focus will be on the new formats." Hopefully, we'll see one more incredible project out of Rockstar Leeds for the PSP before they move on to greener (and more powerful) pastures.

[Via Joystiq]

Six weeks later: Rockstar fights back

Six weeks after Manhunt 2's ban from the BBFC (and subsequently, an AO rating from the ESRB), Rockstar has finally formulated an appeal. The Video Appeals Committee (VAC) will have to analyze both the BBFC and Rockstar's position on the game, and choose whether or not to uphold the ban.

It's good to see Rockstar finally fighting back: hopefully, gamers will be able to see the version of Manhunt 2 Rockstar intended to make all along -- not an edited version created to satiate the meek.

[Via 1UP]

Rockstar thanks supporters

Rockstar has taken time to thank the concerned fans, who e-mailed them about Manhunt 2 being halted from release. "We wanted to thank everyone who has taken the time to contact us about Manhunt 2, which we had been planning to release on PlayStation 2, PSP and Nintendo Wii." Rockstar's response continued, "As you know, Manhunt 2 was effectively banned around much of the world, after it was refused certification in the United Kingdom, prohibited in Ireland, and denied an M rating in the United States."

"We are very proud of Manhunt 2 and believe it builds on what the team accomplished with the first title in the series. The game was developed as a horror experience, and to be an M rated title, aligning it with similar horror content created in other forms of media. Unlike many other people, we do no think videogames should be singled out for special treatment from authorities. We hope to have more information for you soon, but in the meantime, we wanted you to know how much we value all of your messages of support."

We couldn't agree more, all forms of entertainment should be held to the same standards. Let's hope it isn't long until that ideal becomes a reality.

[Via Games Radar]

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