The British Board of Film Classification has given its first interview on its battle to get Rockstar’s Manhunt 2 banned – and told MCV that the High Court case that saw the game released has actually ‘benefited’ the ratings body.
Speaking as part of an exclusive interview with MCV, BBFC director David Cooke also said that the saga – which saw the game go to the High Court before it was eventually granted a release – has not changed the way the body works.
We actually got a fairly substantial benefit from the Manhunt episode,” said Cooke. We went to the High Court, and it clarified the harm test – actually a benefit that flies across a whole range of games and film.
It all gets quite technical, but for instance, it showed it was not necessary for us to show devastating effect, which was what the arguments had said previously. So we’ve ended up with a clearer legal definition of that test than we had before the case started.”
Cooke added that the BBFC is still disappointed that the game found its way to market, and that it didn’t regret its decision to block the title’s release for its ‘unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone’.
Cooke added: Tanya Byron made it very clear that the evidence to her showed that there ought to be a reject power. If you’ve got one, there’s no point in never ever using it – we’ve used it as sparingly as we possibly could over the years.
But the fact people know you can do it means that you can have discussions with publishers about the way game is marketed – you can even have discussions about modification in rarer occasions – so I don’t regret that we took the decision because we thought it was the right one.”