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Condemned 2 worried about ratings

Condemned 2 worried about ratings

The violence which formed a central theme in the original Condemned may be cut back in the sequel over fears of a AO rating.

The controversy surrounding Manhunt 2 has pretty much died down now, or so you might think if you aren't constantly immersed in the business of developing, selling and discussing computer games.

The reality is that the banning and censorship of Manhunt 2 has stripped away another level of innocence for this young medium which we call computer games and questionable content is something developers now have to weigh up considerably.

Producer of Condemned 2: Bloodshot, Constantine Hantzopoulos, spoke in a recent interview about how his game has been censored and trimmed down even before more than a handful of screenshots and trailers have been released.

"I worked on Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit in Europe) and had to cut the sex scenes out of the game for the US...It sucked because I don't believe in that, right. But you've got to do what you've got to do. We're working closely with the ESRB to make sure everything goes through okay but there's stuff we've cut already. There were things we were doing that even I couldn't believe we were going to those places....An example of what we cut would be putting someone's head in a vice. That was too much, you know."

The original Condemned: Criminal Origins, which is a PC favourite for some bit-tech staff, was rated 18 in the UK for its language and viscerally violent themes, but it sounds as if the sequel has raised the violence level a little above the predesscor.

So, on the one hand we have a producer who clearly thinks that his game has pushed the boundaries too far in some respects. On the other hand, the same developer laments that the ESRB are meddling with his creative output and taking away from the violence which was actually a powerful and intense theme to the game series, creating an interesting subtext about violence in society as the main character battled a manifestation of Metro City's hate.

What strikes us as odd is that this is all going on while the game is still in development and that the ESRB are monitoring and guiding the shape of the game before they can be presented with finalised data.

Are we only one step away from the ESRB being listed as a co-developer for the level of input it has had on the creative process which the game has gone through? Let us know what you think by posting in the forums or comment below.

16 Comments

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TheDean 25th July 2007, 12:08 Quote
I find it interesting that 5/6 of the ESRB video games board are all women over 70.....are thay fit to pass judgement?!
Hugo.B 25th July 2007, 12:32 Quote
Well if they were mostly males from 20-30, it'd hardly be worth having the board at all.


H.B.
cjoyce1980 25th July 2007, 12:35 Quote
as long as they hide the content within the game and its unlockable with a cheat code or something, but the reason i loved the first game was its openness to this type of theme. cutting the content back always distories the artistic value of games like this.

imagine if res evil 4 or 5 had to cut down its content, im sure there would go down as some of the worst games in history!
TheDean 25th July 2007, 12:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugo.B
Well if they were mostly males from 20-30, it'd hardly be worth having the board at all.


H.B.

That's my point.....Its should be balanced
CardJoe 25th July 2007, 12:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjoyce1980
as long as they hide the content within the game and its unlockable with a cheat code or something, but the reason i loved the first game was its openness to this type of theme. cutting the content back always distories the artistic value of games like this.

imagine if res evil 4 or 5 had to cut down its content, im sure there would go down as some of the worst games in history!

They'd get slaughtered if they hid it somehow and it'd end up banned and boycotted.

What they SHOULD do is release a normal one and then, months later, release a 'Directors Cut' with an AO rating for the PC.
LeMaltor 25th July 2007, 12:39 Quote
fecking coffin dodgers
Veles 25th July 2007, 16:46 Quote
Given the brutal content of Condemned it should really receive an AO rating, but unfortunately in the US, anything with an AO rating won't get sold in game shops. It's ridiculous really, whey is a 17 year old not able to cope with condemned but an 18 year old is, yeah, 'cos theres a massive maturity difference between people of those ages

I don't see why America (and the world generally) is so open with things like films and music, but with games it's a completely different matter. So it's interactive? So what? Any normal person can easily tell the difference, and an basket case that "trains" on a game will go out and murder someone eventually anyway.
Silver Shamrock 25th July 2007, 19:42 Quote
The original Condemned is not even in the same league as Manhunt 2. Sure it was very violent but not in the sick and perverse way that Manhunt 2 is, which is exactly why manhunt was banned if i'm not mistaken??

If Condemned 2 is the same as the original, violence wise and the way it's depicted then i see no problem with it getting released. However if it turned into some sort of sick feast like Manhunt 2 then i won't be buying it anyway.
Amon 25th July 2007, 19:50 Quote
I say go for it. F**k them.

And in light of that, the ESRB needs to be recast to reflect reality.
DXR_13KE 25th July 2007, 22:09 Quote
someone here told me that the probability of this happening again was small.....
Tyinsar 26th July 2007, 00:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
...questionable content is something developers now have to weigh up considerably.
"weigh up" is an odd phrase for me but if by that you mean consider carefully then I think that is the way it should be with any questionable content.
capnPedro 26th July 2007, 00:43 Quote
What I don't understand is why uppity American stores won't sell AO games... it's only a freaking 18... What's wrong with that?
Jingledell 26th July 2007, 01:20 Quote
As a 30 year old gamer with a taste for violent gaming, no criminal record, and a deep and abiding respect for the first ammendment, I find this trend both alarming and offensive. Any time an artistic medium is compromised it starts us down a very slippery slope. The ESRB's unwillingness to stand up for content it considers questionable sends a message to proponents of censorship that the industry can be intimidated. Those who would attempt to force their view of things on others will not be satisfied with this small victory. They will attempt to further encroach upon our private sphere of activity. I am fully capable of distinguishing reality from fiction regardless of the level of interactivity within the medium, as I imagine most of you are. Treating adults as children is an insult. At least one developer has given way to the pressure. How many more will, before the industry stands up for itself?
Rebourne 26th July 2007, 04:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by capnPedro
What I don't understand is why uppity American stores won't sell AO games... it's only a freaking 18... What's wrong with that?

In the US Adult anything comes with the connotations that it's pornographic therefor a lot of stores won't stock them because of the tittle implies getting down and dirty hardcore style. The ERSB use this to their advantage to financially extort companies in to complying with their version of acceptable in essence making it possible for them to censor games without calling it censorship. Make no mistake it should be considered and abomination of free speech and a major failure of our gaming rating system.

It's the reason I have to buy the international version of The Witcher; They are cutting material out of the US version to make it comply with the ERSB's standards of acceptable material.
bloodcar 26th July 2007, 07:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
They'd get slaughtered if they hid it somehow and it'd end up banned and boycotted.

What they SHOULD do is release a normal one and then, months later, release a 'Directors Cut' with an AO rating for the PC.

No way dude. Condemned is one of my all time favorite games for the 360 and I'd be upset if they stripped down the 360 version and released an AO version for the PC. I haven't been able to recommend Condemned enough since the first time I played thorugh the demo. It only took one play thorugh the demo to get me to go directly to the store and buy the game... and I'm not an impulsive buyer!
Veles 26th July 2007, 11:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebourne
In the US Adult anything comes with the connotations that it's pornographic therefor a lot of stores won't stock them because of the tittle implies getting down and dirty hardcore style. The ERSB use this to their advantage to financially extort companies in to complying with their version of acceptable in essence making it possible for them to censor games without calling it censorship. Make no mistake it should be considered and abomination of free speech and a major failure of our gaming rating system.

It's the reason I have to buy the international version of The Witcher; They are cutting material out of the US version to make it comply with the ERSB's standards of acceptable material.

But no one looks at ratings anyhow, and people know now that AO doesn't necessarily mean there's gonna be porn in there. Did shops stop selling Oblivion or GTA: SA, I'm pretty sure both of them received AO ratings eventually.

I agree with everyone else that a privately run board can extort developers like this, hell it's not even required by law for a game to be rated by ERSB, it's just shops have generally decided games need to have a sticker on saying it's age rating to be sold in their shops.
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