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Manhunt 2 wins battle for release

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332w ago - The ban on controversial video game Manhunt 2 in the UK has been lifted and the game will now go on sale.

The Video Appeals Committee upheld an earlier decision that the game could be sold, following a nine-month battle between makers Rockstar and UK censors.

The British Board of Film Classification had taken the fight to ban the game to the High Court, saying the game "went too far".

An edited version of the title will be released with an 18 certificate.

The game was first banned in June 2007 and an edited version of the game was later rejected by the BBFC.

David Cooke, director of the BBFC said: "As I have said previously, we never take rejection decisions lightly, and they always involve a complex balance of considerations.

"We twice rejected Manhunt 2, and then pursued a judicial review challenge, because we considered, after exceptionally thorough examination, that it posed a real potential harm risk.

"However, the Video Appeals Committee has again exercised its independent scrutiny. It is now clear, in the light of this decision, and our legal advice, that we have no alternative but to issue an 18 certificate to the game."

Developers Rockstar Games has always maintained that the content of Manhunt 2 is no different...
 

Harmonix' LoPiccolo wants user music in Rock Band

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332w ago - Harmonix' Greg LoPiccolo wants you to know that he's thinking about you. He knows that as you play Rock Band, the song that you'd really like to play and spread across the world is your own band's tune.

LoPiccolo wants you to know that he wants The Cephalopods' local hit "Three Is a Tragic Number" in the game as much as you do, saying "We would like to make it possible for people to introduce their own music into the Rock Band ecosystem, which is a pretty complicated topic."

Some of those plentiful complications include IP issues and ratings problems, but LoPiccolo still thinks it's the "natural direction" for the franchise. He also talks about the feasibility of a keyboard peripheral for the game.

Can we just be the ones to point out that he's missing the obvious? Keytar, people. Keytar. It's staring you right in the face. Pull the trigger on the fun gun. Do it.
 

Analyst: Why Rockstar Should Stay With Electronic Arts

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334w ago - In his latest note to investors, Doug Creutz of analyst group Cowan has said that while he believes few other companies can make as synergistic a bid as Electronic Arts for Take-Two, in the end EA will likely bump its original $26/share bid to $30-32.

"Several key shareholders control a significant portion of Take-Two's float," notes Creutz, "including Oppenheimer Funds, who was the major player in Take-Two's board coup last March. We believe that one of EA's goals in making its bid public was to sound out these shareholders on what price they are willing to sell to EA."

"We think that these shareholders are likely to view an offer above $30 as too compelling to leave on the table, given the time value of money and the ability to lock in a significant gain on a company that has had historically volatile stock and financial performance," he adds.

Creutz goes on to say that while Activision could financially offer a competitive bid, it's currently bogged down with the completion of the Vivendi merger, and while Ubisoft would make strategic sense, Cowan believes "Ubisoft's management is focused in other directions."

That leaves EA alone, and Creutz says "we think EA can justify a bid of up to $32 even assuming that the top talent at Take-Two's Rockstar Games leaves the company," but...
 

DICE: Mass Effect, Bioshock, Rock Band Devs On Developing Narrative

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337w ago - BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka, BioShock's Ken Levine and Harmonix VP Greg LoPiccolo gathered at the DICE Summit to discuss the development and implementation of narrative in the context of their games, all of which are reputed for their strong story element.

Ken Levine began by contrasting the narrative style of his BioShock with the past works of Muzyka's BioWare team, known for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate and, most recently, Mass Effect. "Personally, I'm way too lazy to write that many words," Levine said.

He explained, "Our goal was to tell the story in the world, visually, and make it optional for the player, so the gamer could experience the game on very different levels... I think it's great that the industry is starting to figure out how to tell narratives in very different ways."

Muzyka agreed that the increasing importance of narrative is exciting. More than that, he said, "The definition of narrative is continually evolving, and that's the most exciting part for me. There's many different ways to slice it."

Many Methods Of Storytelling

Muzyka says that many of the modern gaming narratives lead players, but still allow them the freedom to diverge from the story. "It flows, but it's still directed. Two of my favorite games...
 

Manhunt 2 release saga continues

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339w ago - The developer of controversial video game Manhunt 2 has failed in its latest attempt to release the game in the UK.

A high court judge ruled that the Rockstar Games' title must be re-evaluated by an appeals committee.

The violent game was first banned in June 2007 and has since been subject to numerous reviews and court cases.

Developer Rockstar Games said it did not understand the decision to spend public money repeating a certification process it had already passed.

The latest court case is the result of a ruling in December 2007 that allowed British censors to fight a decision by the Video Appeals Committee (VAC), which said the game could be classified and released.

The British Board of Film Classification's successfully argued that the game had been approved for release on a misinterpretation of the law.

The latest ruling means that the VAC must now re-evaluate the game under new guidelines.

But the game's developers believe the move is expensive and unnecessary.

"We believe the Video Appeals Committee decision was correct and do not understand the court's decision to expend further public resources to censor a game that contains content well within the bounds established by the British Board of Film Classification's 18-plus...
 
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