The BBFC has rejected Manhunt 2, meaning the game cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK.
"Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly," said David Cooke, director of the BBFC. "Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications which remove the material which contravenes the Board's published Guidelines. In the case of Manhunt 2 this has not been possible.
"Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing. There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game.
"Although the difference should not be exaggerated the fact of the game's unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying and the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer, together with the different overall narrative context, contribute towards differentiating this submission from the original Manhunt game. That work was classified '18' in 2003, before the BBFC's recent games research had been undertaken, but was already at the very top end of what the Board judged to be acceptable at that category.
"Against this background, the Board's carefully considered view is that to issue a certificate to Manhunt 2, on either platform, would involve a range of unjustifiable harm risks, to both adults and minors, within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, and accordingly that its availability, even if statutorily confined to adults, would be unacceptable to the public."
Under the terms of the Video Recordings Act, publisher Take 2 has the right to appeal the Board's decision which currently affects the PS2 and Wii version of the game, both submitted to the BBFC.
It is obviously not known how the PSP version will be received by the BBFC. However, unless it differs substantially from its console counterparts, it's logical to assume it is likely to face the same outcome.
Fact fans may wish to know this is the first video game to be refused a classification since Carmageddon in 1997, a decision that was subsequently overturned on appeal by the Video Appeals Committee.
We'll keep an eye on this one, clearly. Click 'Track It!' to be alerted of any updates.