By John Walker on July 11th, 2011 at 2:33 pm.
Manhunt 2 is gone. There was one online store left selling Rockstar’s extraordinarily controversial, Adult rated game – Direct2Drive – which under new management has removed the title from its catalogue. As spotted by Gamersbook, the game disappeared shortly after Gamefly acquired the business. Which means it’s now completely impossible to buy on PC.
Interestingly, in a comment given to customer who asked where the game had gone, Direct2Drive attempted to imply that the removal was due to Rockstar:
“Unfortunately not all games are offered on Direct2Drive. Games offered are decided by the game’s publisher and can be removed at their disgression. We regret that we do not have any detailed information in regards to titles recently removed from our site. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you.”
However, when Gamersbook contacted Rockstar, the developer was surprised by the news and told the site they’d get back to them once things had been “straightened out”. A day later Rockstar reported back:
“There has been a change in ownership over at Direct2Drive. Gamefly, who is the new owner, does not approve of Adult Rated games, and refused to offer it on their Website now. And we also realize there is now no way for you to acquire this game for your desired platform (PC).”
They then went on to offer the correspondent a bag of R* goodies, which they suggested may contain a boxed copy of the game.
You may well not care about the availability of Manhunt 2. The game received mediocre reviews on all console formats, even somehow being okayed by Nintendo for release on Wii, back in 2007. This was a neutered version to give it an M rating, such that anywhere would stock it. The PC version was the uncut original that had angered so many previously. But there’s no PC review of the game I can find – even PC Gamer US seemed to ignore it on its eventual US-only PC release in 2009. This was a release, however, that was exclusive to Direct2Drive, then under the ownership of everybody’s favourite media mogul, Rupert Murdoch.
But the reason this is interesting, beyond the scope of one dodgy gross-em-up, is the completely unavailability of AO or “adult” rated games. Games deemed too adult for the US 17 rating have nowhere to go. It seems that nowhere is prepared to sell them, which asks the question: what happens? Will we see a day when adult videogames are sold in dodgy shops in dark alleys? Or will specialist sites appear, focusing on the games that certification forgot? Will no one ever dare make mainstream games truly for adults?