First the BBFC bans the game. Then it gets a release in the US. Then the Video Appeals Committee upholds Rockstar’s appeal and we’re all left wondering what happens now.
Well, what happens now is: nothing. We’ll have another few months of fannying around and then maybe – just maybe – get a conclusion. It all seems like a waste of time (not to mention money).
All the while, ELSPA has its hands tied. It is unable to jump to Rockstar’s defence as it will be seen as advocating the violence within Manhunt 2. And given the franchise’s controversial history, if ELSPA – and by association the entire industry – were to back any violent game, it could very easily prompt the kind of tabloid headlines that we all thought were a thing of the past.
As our cover story points out, games will make more money than music at retail this year. And multi-billion dollar deals like the Activision/Vivendi merger prove that our industry is big business. Yet – despite being a proper, grown-up industry – we’re still getting involved in messy, protracted arguments about violence in games.