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No political influence over Manhunt ban, states BBFC

The BBFC has stated that there was no political influence in the decision to ban Rockstar's Manhunt 2 from sale in the UK.

The BBFC has stated that there was no political influence in the decision to ban Rockstar's Manhunt 2 from sale in the UK.

The original Manhunt caused a media frenzy following release when it was unfairly linked by the press to the murder of teenager Stefan Pakeerah.

The UK games industry was forced to defend itself at the time from various media outlets, with ELSPA's director general Roger Bennett coming face-to-face with Pakeerah's parents on national TV - while publisher Rockstar remained characteristically aloof.

However, the BBFC's Sue Clark has told GamesIndustry.biz that past incidents have not influenced the decision to deny the sequel to UK consumers.

"That had nothing to do with this decision, absolutely not," said Clark.

"We are independent of government and independent of the industry and we reached this decision based on our guidelines and our concerns and not on any other basis at all," she said.

Recent research by the BBFC showed that negative press surrounding controversial games actually encourages sales. A UK ban of Manhunt 2 would not be able to stop dedicated consumers importing copies on release.

"We've rejected this game so you can't buy it legally in the UK," added Clark.

"We have to make a decision. If we feel it's not appropriate for classification then we have to make that decision — we can't classify it and hope nobody notices it."

The BBFC has recently supported the release of a number of violent videogames despite the titles attracting controversy, including Rockstar's Canis Canem Edit and Capcom's Dead Rising.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.