Controversial Game Gets New Rating

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The Associated Press
Friday, August 24, 2007; 12:48 PM

-- The makers of "Manhunt 2" _ a violent video game that had been threatened with a sales-destroying adults-only rating _ will release a toned-down version in October.

The initial version, in which gamers perform a series of killing moves as an amnesiac scientist who escapes from an asylum, had been scheduled for a July release.

But the launch was indefinitely delayed after the Entertainment Software Rating Board, an industry group, slapped it with an adults-only rating, for consumers 18 and older. It also faced bans in several European countries.

An "AO" rating would have essentially prevented the game from being sold. Large retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. don't stock "AO" games, and the three major console makers _ Microsoft Corp., Nintendo Co. and Sony Corp. _ do not allow "AO" games on their systems.

"Manhunt 2" maker Rockstar Games and publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. said the revamped version of the game received a less-stringent "M," or mature, rating for consumers age 17 or older.

It was unclear what changes were made to achieve the lower the rating. A telephone call to Take-Two seeking a more detailed explanation wasn't immediately returned.

"Manhunt 2 is important to us, and we're glad it can finally be appreciated as a gaming experience," Sam Houser, founder and executive producer of Rockstar Games, said in a statement.

The updated "Manhunt 2" will ship in the United States on Halloween for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Nintendo Wii game systems.

Earlier this month Take-Two said it also needed more time to develop the highly anticipated "Grand Theft Auto IV" and will launch it in the fiscal second quarter, which ends next April, instead of this October as originally planned.

Take-Two shares rose 32 cents, 2.2 percent, to $14.67 in midday trading.

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© 2007 The Associated Press

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