Surprise! Ireland bans Manhunt 2, too [update 1]

Not wanting to be left out of the "ban wagon" (thanks for the pun, Game Politics), Ireland has banned Take Two / Rockstar's Manhunt 2 from sale in the country. The previous Manhunt game taken off the shelves in Ireland after it was blamed (update: and later un-blamed) for inspiring the murder of a 14-year old boy, the Irish Examiner reports.

Said the Irish Film Censors Office, who are responsible for banning the game, "IFCO recognizes that in certain films, DVDs and video games, strong graphic violence may be a justifiable element within the overall context of the work. However, in the case of Manhunt 2, IFCO believes that there is no such context, and the level of gross, unrelenting and gratuitous violence is unacceptable."

The decision follows yesterday's news that the game was banned in the United Kingdom and given an Adults Only rating by US-based ESRB. Our take is that banning a video game title suggests a lack of trust in the countries' own ratings systems, where Manhunt 2 should be receiving a tightly-enforced 18+ rating.

Update: Here is IFCO's statement regarding their 18 rating: "We operate on the basis that, as adults, persons who are eighteen and over should be free, subject to the law, to watch what they wish. However, we will also supply information on 'Over 18' films to adults through this website on the basis that practical consumer advice is appreciated by the public."

They go on to list movies that were given the 18 rating, including the gore-fest Texas Chainsaw Massacre (though, to be fair, the focus of that movie is on the victim and therefore glorification is not a central theme). However, as playing this game is not illegal, their operation statement suggests that banning a game is against their policy unless they think it will cause violence. As one commenter noted, the link between the aforementioned murder and Manhunt One was dismissed and the game was put back on the shelves, so where would the precedent be in linking the sequel as causality for felony?

This article was originally published on Joystiq.