Irish censor bans "Manhunt 2" video game

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish censors said on Wednesday that they, like Britain, had banned the “Manhunt 2” video game due to its non-stop “visceral” violence.

“A level of violence is acceptable in certain contexts in cinema, in DVDs, or in video games,” Ireland’s Film Censor John Kelleher said on Wednesday after his office imposed its first ever ban on supplying a video game.

“But there is no context in this one other than killing. It is non-stop, it is constant, it is visceral. People are killed in every possible kind of way,” he told RTE Radio.

In the game, from publisher Take-Two Interactive Software, which made the controversial “Grand Theft Auto” series, players become an insane asylum escapee, sneaking up on enemies and killing them in gruesome ways.

The British Board of Film Classification on Tuesday banned “Manhunt 2” due to “unremitting bleakness and callousness” as well as “sustained and cumulative casual sadism”. It is the first video game to be denied a classification there since 1997.

“Manhunt 2”, due for a July 10 release, is a follow-up to the 2003 original, which was classified in Britain and Ireland for people aged 18 and over.

The Irish Film Censor’s Office (IFCO) said in a statement on its Web site that it had decided to ban “Manhunt 2” on June 18, blaming an unacceptable level of “gratuitous violence”.

Take-Two could not immediately be reached for comment on bans that have prompted one U.S. family group to start lobbying for an “Adults Only” rating that would mean it could not be sold by major American retailers.