The coders will be burning the midnight oil at Take-Two Interactive to get Manhunt 2 past the UK censors and shake-off that pesky AO rating in the US. What they need is a better back story.
Here’s a suggestion. Earth has been invaded by aliens who inhabit human beings as pods. Danny isn’t killing people when he escapes from the asylum; he’s killing aliens who just happen to look like people. (Danny can’t be infected it’s a long story)
Manhunt II has had some bad press, what with the bans, so lets really soft soap things here.
Death frees the victims from the alien parasite and (so cool) the people Danny kills come back to life - no matter how badly mutilated they were in the killing. Danny slaughters aliens to save people! With a quick tack-on at the final stage after Danny has wiped out every human-pod alien, the grateful masses will gather in a colosseum to praise him.
New title; Manhunt II: Resurrections. This could get it past the censor and, silver lining here, open up Mel Gibson’s fan base.
Though, regardless of a new back story or toned-down violence, what concerns me is the jump gaming is making from fast cars, guns and physical combat - these are after all standard boy-type past-times. Manhunt and Manhunt II are quite different - it’s violence for the sake of it. And that is not normal boy-type, or human-type, behaviour at all. We wouldn’t have got past the caveman stage of evolution if it had been.
Yes, you can trawl the internet for sites showing violent sex and graphic murder ad nausea. And for any number of people currently in preventive detention in prison that once would have been ‘normal behaviour’.
Yes people can point to the violence in movies and television. But in those mediums, within the mainstream context, there are limits. Free-to-air television does not screen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and violent or pornographic movies don’t figure in Oscar nominations.
Yes, the furor over Manhunt II has been a windfall of publicity. This though is the gaming world as part of the mainstream media, reaching a point where the actions of characters are just not acceptable. I don’t have to play Manhunt II to know I would be sickened by it. Just as I don’t have to put my hand in candle to know it will burn me.
As for the link to real-time violence, throw in a heavy use of P and, yeah, I think you can join the dots. Smacked out on P, four hours straight on Manhunt II then walking down to the dairy to buy some cigarettes and finding you have not quite got enough money. I’d say there is a raised potential for violence in that kind of scenario, with Manhunt II part of the mix.
Here’s the rub; P dealers go to jail, game makers get to drive Porches.
And if you think Wii is where it is at for physical role playing, think how realistic it will be five years from now.