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Release of 'Manhunt 2' Video Game Delayed

21 Jun, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Two days after British and Irish authorities banned the release of video game Manhunt 2, publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. said it has suspended the title's July 10 launch in the United States.

Created by Rockstar Games, Manhunt 2 was to be released for Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Co.'s Wii systems, exclusively.

Excessive violence and a gruesome story line in the sequel to Manhunt resulted in the Entertainment Software Rating Board giving the title an “adults only” rather than the more commercially viable “mature” rating.

New York-based Take-Two, which had appealed the ESRB rating, last year was forced to replace the first edition of the popular Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas game after it was discovered to include pornographic content.

Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles, said eliminating the most objectionable material from Manhunt 2 would cost no more than $1 million.

He said the bigger issue was the impact the delay would have on Take-Two's fiscal quarter, which ends July 31.

Pachter said the title likely accounted for 10% of quarterly revenues and would result in Take-Two missing its financial forecast.

“A lot of parents would have tolerated their kids buying an ‘M'-rated game but would steer them away from this one,” said Pachter.

He said the title would end up generating about $30 million in revenue when released, instead of a previous projection of $40 million.

“The timing of the release isn't great, but it is not like it is going to decimate [Take-Two],” Pachter said.

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