Rockstar Games' PlayStation 2, PSP and Wii title Manhunt 2 has officially received an AO rating, according to a tersely worded statement from parent publisher Take-Two, which says the company "strongly believes" an M rating is more appropriate.
According to the emailed statement to multiple media outlets from the firm regarding the sequel, due out in North American on July 11th: "The ESRB has issued an initial rating of AO (Adults Only) for Manhunt 2."
The statement continues: "We believe the process of rating videogames is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them."
It concludes: "Manhunt 2 was created for mature audiences and we strongly believe it should receive an M (Mature) rating, aligning it with similar content created in other forms of media. We are exploring our options with regard to the rating of Manhunt 2."
An AO rating for the title means that it could not be sold in the majority of large U.S. retail chains, such as Best Buy, GameStop, or Wal-Mart, which carry M-rated titles but not AO-rated games. Very few titles are rated AO by the ESRB - recent ones have included the PC-only 'unrated versions' of Singles, Playboy The Mansion, and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude.
The only AO-rated console titles in recent years have been the cancelled Thrill Kill for PlayStation and the briefly AO-rated Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, following the 'Hot Coffee' incident.
This announcement follows the denial of a BBFC rating in the UK for the game, making it illegal for the game to be supplied anywhere in the United Kingdom.