A number of questions are now being asked, following the final resolution of the BBFC/Rockstar spat over Manhunt 2, not least of which is – who were the people on the Video Appeals Committee that made the final call?
The BBFC responded to our earlier news that Rockstar’s lawyer levelled criticism at the Video Appeals Committee for their lack of experience in and understanding of videogames.
A BBFC spokesperson told TechRadar: “The BBFC spent many hours examining Manhunt 2. This involved experienced game players playing the game at every level. Both VAC decisions were by the narrow margin of 4:3. PEGI has no power to reject a game. The BBFC and PEGI co-operate closely.”
As for the forthcoming Byron review into violent games and inappropriate internet content, the spokesperson added:
“There is no point in speculating about the outcome of the Byron Review. Those who do may find this counter-productive." The spokesperson also made a point of stressing that“The BBFC never uses its rejection power lightly, but remains ready to use it where it is right to do so.”
So it was a close call. Of the seven members sitting on the Video Appeals, four members of Committee voted in favour of classifying the game against three that voted against Rockstar.
But who were these seven members of the Video Appeals Committee? We asked the BBFC, who informed us that the VAC in the Manhunt 2 case was made up of the following seven people:
- John Wood, VAC president – former director of serious fraud office
- Biddy Baxter, TV producer
- Barry Davies, former deputy director of social services and chair of area child protection committee
- Pauline Grey – district chairman of the tribunal service and member of the gender recognition panel
- Prof John Last – former lay member of the press council, lay member of bar standards board, visiting professor at City University
- Dr. Neville March-Hunnings, lawyer, author of ‘Film Censors and the Law’
- Dr. Sara Levene, Paediatric safety consultant
TechRadar will be speaking with as many of the above people as possible over the coming days and weeks to find out more about their thoughts on Manhunt 2, videogame classification and the forthcoming Byron review of violent games and inappropriate internet content for minors. Stay tuned for regular updates.