According to ESRB policy, the rating will be posted on its website for 30 days so as to allow the publisher to consider modifying and resubmitting its game to the Appeals Board were it to try for a lower rating.
In response, a statement from the publisher read: “We believe the process of rating videogames is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them. Manhunt 2 was created for mature audiences and we strongly believe it should receive an Mature rating, aligning it with similar content created in other forms of media.”
Whilst news of a US release is good news for the publisher, the AO rating will likely result in fewer stores stocking the game than would have if it had been granted a more lenient Mature rating.
No game to date has ever been released under the AO banner, though fellow Rockstar title Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas briefly carried it after the discovery of the controversial ‘Hot Coffee’ content. The game was then re-rated to Mature once the content had been removed.