On June 22, following the announcement that Rockstar title Manhunt 2 was to be banned from sale, GamesIndustry.biz published an article entitled Sick Filth? by regular contributor Rob Fahey. (The article, it should be noted, expressed Fahey's personal opinions and not necessarily those held by GI.biz.)
Rockstar has since contacted the site in response to the piece; the company's letter is printed here in full.
Dear Mr. Fahey,
We are responding to the article Sick Filth?, in which you expressed support for the ban of Manhunt 2.
Although censorship makes you "deeply uncomfortable" and you found the banâs rationale "a less comfortable topic", you agreed with the judgment of the British Board of Film Classification that no one - regardless of age or personal opinion - should be allowed to consider playing Manhunt 2.
We are still exploring our options for Manhunt 2, but how does banning our game support the industry or further the development of the medium? Unlike a heavy-handed editor or a critical review of a game, a ban is punishment for deviating from tradition.
A ban denies everyone the chance to consider, experience, or discuss the actual game. The only obvious victor is the status quo.
You seem to view banning Manhunt 2 as a way to protect the industry from scrutiny and unfair attacks. In fact, a ban is a triumph for the industryâs harshest critics, not an act of diplomacy.
A ban is only likely to encourage those who believe video games, already the most regulated medium in entertainment history, should be further restricted.
What about games make them deserve special treatment from the authorities? According to industry groups, the average games player is in his or her 30s, yet you support the widely held view that games are somehow a less sophisticated medium than cinema, only suitable for immature audiences.
In other words, although gamers can negotiate the boundaries between reality and fiction in other media, you believe we are incapable of navigating the same boundaries in videogames.
Yes, we have responsibilities as an industry, but as a creative industry, not as a pharmaceutical or weapons industry. Creative industries have always faced harsh political and legal criticism, and we know some of the movie industryâs more reactionary responses to scrutiny actually backfired.
We believe in a well-run ratings system. With the best rating system in history and the future of the industry and medium at stake, we donât understand why it is necessary to effectively ban all games intended for players 18 and older.