Some people have commented that Manhunt 2 might have been targeted by both ratings boards as a way to show lawmakers and media watchdog groups that their systems can be strict when it comes to rating certain content in games. Adrian Chmielaz, the head of Painkiller developer People Can Fly, disagreed, saying, "It's a game about a man killing others in extremely realistic and extremely gruesome ways. Let's not kid ourselves, more or less that's the whole point of this game. If that's not AO, then I don't know what is. Don't get me wrong, I'd really love to play that game, but it's hard not to agree only adults should be allowed. Does there really need to be a political pressure or some other hidden agenda to slap AO on a game where you cut human heads with a chainsaw?" However, Chmielarz added that the AO rating will keep people from playing the game if they wanted to do so. "I hate that. Most buying public are adults, and yet they can't enjoy products made specifically for them! Running With Scissors head Vince Desi, the developer of the Postal game series (which have had their own share of attacks for their content by others) agreed with Chmielaz, saying, "The problem is retailer perception treats AO like its porn, and so they donít want to carry these titles on their shelves. We all know that gamers are not all the same, and clearly there is a segment of the gaming audience that would like to play AO rated games" Steven Fawkner, founder and head of Infinite Interactive, told us that in his opinion, ". I have no doubt some political pressure is involved at some level, but I'm sure that this is nothing unexpected for a controversial title."
Derek Smart, the head of 3000AD, feels that Take Two Interactive knew that the content in Manhunt 2 was going to at least push the boundaries of the ESRB rating system, "The ESRB questionnaire for one, is pretty detailed but clear and not open to misinterpretation. I should know; I just sent in a ratings submission for one of our upcoming games. So, whoever filled it out (the producer I suppose), must have known that they were pushing the boundaries of an M rating. The game must be really and truly over the top - and have no redeeming [gaming] qualities - to get an AO rating. For my money, they were probably hoping to get by with an M rating and calling it a day. The AO rating must have been a shock. Or not. My guess is someone is being fired right about now. If they haven't already been, given this latest spat of Take2 firings and studio closures."