Take-Two has confirmed that hackers have modified the PSP version of Manhunt 2
to unblur the 'stealth kill' sections of the game, re-enabling part of the controversial AO-rated censored content - but notes that the "illegally modified" version can only be played on a hacked PSP hardware system.
A forum thread posted on gaming site MaxConsole.net appears to provide instructions from a Russian hacker on how to unblur some of the controversial censored content in Manhunt 2
The exploit takes advantage of the fact that some of the violent scenes that earned the game a de-facto ban
from ratings boards were not actually removed from the game, rather obscured with a blur filter. The unlockable content in question are the same "visceral killing" depictions that were leaked onto the web
from the PlayStation 2 version of the game by what Take-Two later confirmed was an employee of SCEE.
The incident is an echo of an earlier Rockstar controversy, the now-infamous "Hot Coffee" incident, wherein by employing certain exploits users were able to unlock sexual content. Take-Two and Rockstar were later charged by the Federal Trade Commission and a number of other entities for failing to disclose the content, and the company's settlement with the FTC
provided for a possible $11,000 fine per infraction to be levied against Take-Two for future "Hot Coffee"-style incidents.
However, the Manhunt 2
hack, which requires the extraction of the game's ISO and the deletion of several specific strings in configuration files, is effectively removing the pixelated censorship which allowed the game to get an M rating, rather than unlocking completely new content unplayable in the normal game, as in "Hot Coffee".
Take-Two subsequently confirmed to the GamePolitics website
that the exploit is indeed verifiable and that the content does exist, stating, "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."
The statement continues, "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."