Originally branded with an AO (adults only) rating--the film equivalent of NC-17--Rockstar Games' creepy sequel to 2003's original Manhunt has just been graced with the more socially acceptable M-for-mature rating. In addition, Rockstar has announced that Manhunt 2 will be released on the appropriate date of October 31 for the PS2, PSP, and the Wii.
The AO rating was widely publicized in June after reports out of the UK claimed the game would never make it to store shelves. Following the ruling, Rockstar immediately announced that the title's release would be suspended until further notice. Censorship in videogames has become just as much of a prevalent issue as it is with the film industry and the MPAA. An AO rating can all but ruin a videogame's success rat,e just as an NC-17 film rating can severely limit the number of theaters in which a movie will be shown.
Why the ESRB chose to pick on Manhunt 2 and not any of the other hundreds of violent games in development is anyone's guess. It's unclear what was removed from the game in order for it to receive the M, but one thing is for sure, all of this press regarding the game's fate will certainly lead to increased sales come Halloween.
Check out CNET's video preview of Manhunt 2 here.