Not too long ago, there was a big furor over Rockstar’s Manhunt 2, when the ESRB gave it a rating of AO, or Adults Only, and the UK refused to rate it at all, meaning the game couldn’t be sold there.

An AO rating is usually considered the kiss of death, since large retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart won’t carry such products. Say what you like about digital distribution, those retail shelves are still important.

While Rockstar made a lot of noise over the rating, most people expected they would eventually give in and tone the game down to receive an M rating. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.

The news today is that a “modified” version of Manhunt 2 was given that precious M by the ESRB. Nothing has yet been said about what those “modifications” are, but they obviously satisfied the ratings board enough for a “safe” letter.

There is, however, no word yet on the UK matter. Rockstar is appealing the “no rating”, but they may end up submitting the “modified” version just to be out of limbo.

Interestingly, the game is scheduled for release on Oct. 31st. That’s not so far off now. I’m wondering if Rockstar had anticipated the original AO, and had the modified Manhunt 2 up their sleeves “just in case”. They certainly seem to have made the necessary changes quickly enough.

Or it could be that not many changes needed to be made for the “reduced” rating. These things are not always easy to discern, pre-release. Perhaps we’ll get more information on this in the future.

In any case, the game is finally scheduled for release, and there is much speculation that all the fuss over Manhunt 2 will help to sell plenty of copies. I wouldn’t be surprised; everyone loves controversy ;)