Since late yesterday GamePolitics has been following a rumor that hackers had discovered a means to reveal the original, unedited content of Manhunt 2.
Now we've had confirmation from a Take Two representative that it's not a rumor. It's true.
In other words, the apparent hack made visible some - but apparently far from all - of the content found in the version of the game rated "Adults Only" by the ESRB.
Here is the statement just sent to GamePolitics:
Multiple edits were made to revise Manhunt 2 for its M-rated version.
Hackers apparently have altered one of those edits to produce an illegally modified version of the game that can only be played on an unauthorized, modified PlayStation Portable handheld system.
All of the game material, and especially these specific edits, was submitted to and reviewed by the ESRB in accordance with requirements regarding disclosure that were enacted two years ago and any contrary suggestion is inaccurate and irresponsible.
Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick said, "I stand behind the game and the ESRB ratings process. It is unfortunately the case that no one in the entertainment software industry is immune from hacking. We hope that consumers will not engage in hacking or download illegally modified copies of our games. We encourage them to enjoy our games as they are meant to be played. We would also like to emphasize that Manhunt 2 is intended for an audience aged 17 and above."
While not of Hot Coffee caliber, the news will provide fuel for critics of Rockstar, Take Two and the ESRB.
It is not clear whether further hacker activity could reveal additional Manhunt 2 edits, but attempts will certainly be made. Take Two's spokesman could not speculate as to whether hackers might be able to unlock AO content on the PS2 or Wii versions of the game.
On the plus side, new Take Two chairman Strauss Zelnick came clean immediately on the hack. As much as anything, it was Take Two's inept and deceptive handling of the 2005 Hot Coffee affair which allowed it to swirl out of control.
GP: I want to make clear that, according to Take Two, the hack does not reveal the entire AO-rated version of the game, only a portion thereof.