OPSM2 - October 2003 - Issue#38


What do you do after you’ve single-handedly created the worlds most controversial and bestselling video games series? You’ve got a blank canvas and the Midas touch. Your publisher will pretty much lick your boots and wipe your bottom at the drop of a hat – It’d probably fund a boardgame tie-in if asked nicely. But no. You make a thoroughly unpleasant game involving the taboo of taboos – snuff movies.

In case you’re coming to Manhunt late, this is the new project from Rockstar North, previously known as DMA design, aka the people who invented Grand Theft Auto. And it’s brutality at it’s most extreme. The idea is that you’re the potential fledgling star of a snuff movie created by the world’s richest and sickest man known only as The Director.

Plucked from death row, James Earl Cash (that’s you) is dumped in Carcer City, the most unpleasant and dangerous film set ever created. The movie’s ‘extras’ come in two variants – vicious gangs that want to hunt and kill you and vicious gangs that want to hunt and make you die slowly. You motivation is simple:: stay alive by any means you can. The really sick bit? The Director has placed CCTV camera through the city they are ready to film any sign of real-life blood that’s then packaged up and sold on to deprived individuals who get off on this filth.

Let’s get a few things straight. Manhunt us nothing like GTA. It might have come from Rockstar North but it’s a different team and different engine – and an entirely different philosophy. The main difference is reflected in the element of control. Where Tommy Vercetti was a powerful character ho enabled the player to make decisions, Manhunt take control away from the player and places it in the hands of the Director. You’re led through the game with set objectives and level-based goals.

It’s a sharp turn, almost the complete opposite of what Rockstar North did in Vice City. But Rockstar has prided itself on taking risks… and Manhunt takes much bigger risks than just new game play.