As a huge fan of both the original Manhunt and the recent Last of Us, I can’t help but notice the strong similarities between the two games.
No, I’m not making this snap judgment based on the simple fact that they’re both difficult, stealth games with violent, horror aspects, it’s much deeper than that. Whether directly or inadvertently influenced, The Last of Us follows the Manhunt model very closely. That is in no way a slight or negative criticism. I actually mean it as a compliment.
I’ll start with the main differences. Manhunt is definitely more violent, but perhaps slightly unrealistic whereas The Last of Us‘ violence has a certain brutal reality to it, so some might argue that it’s more violent.
Manhunt has a less redeemable shocking quality, with no apologies that I love mind you, respectively of gratuitous violence and a hardened criminal as the main protagonist. In The Last of Us there is an incredibly simple, yet beautiful story of a father’s love for a child (whether by blood or surrogate) that moved me to tears.
And finally, but most obvious, Manhunt has just “normal” (I say that lightly) human adversaries in fairly confined environments in one city (Carcer City) in a contemporary setting. And The Last of Us has adversaries of the zombie persuasion, in an interstate story of travel in a post-apocalyptic future.
So, it’s very important to make it clear that I entirely respect these two games uniquely and individually for their own merits. Now, onto the…
- Heavy, horrifying, adult content.
- A strong reliance on stealth for survival.
- An extremely smart and aggressive enemy AI that will run you down and kill you with no mercy.
- Third-person mechanics and use of the environment to distract, confuse, or ambush enemies.
- Stealth kills and melee ferocity.
- I’ve generally had similar feelings throughout both games of the same tone of dread and melancholy.
- A very specific boss encounter in both games. The similarities, to me, are clearly that of inspiration from Manhunt and not just a coincidence:
Aside from my similarity observations, I think most can agree that both games are pretty intense and keep you enthralled and weary of the danger around every corner. That these games are actually hard, which is really a throwback to the way games used to be, challenging.
From a purely personal interest, creative standpoint, I don’t think it would be going out on a limb to say a lot of passion went into Manhunt and there must be some people over at Rockstar Games that are still very strongly interested in making a third.
Until now though perhaps, that hasn’t aligned with what makes business sense, which was obviously for Rockstar Games to focus on their two largest, most successful properties, GTA and Red Dead.
With the massive commercial and critical success of The Last of Us, however, it seems like a no-brainer for all the stars to align and finally get Manhunt 3 in-the-works. Besides there being an overwhelmingly obvious viable market for Manhunt 3, there’s not much that should hold the game back otherwise.
Obviously, Rockstar Games will be insanely busy over the next year maintaining GTA Online, in bug fixes, Social Club events, and of course, ongoing DLC creation. Then we have the inevitable third Red Dead and on top of all that, their developers will be embarking on a whole new gaming platform generation with Xbox One and PS4. Safe to say they’ll have their hands full, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I think most fans have given up on the idea that a new Manhunt in any capacity will ever see the light of day. There’s been speculation about it being too violent and not worth the heat (a silly theory as games have only become more mature since), that Manhunt 2 wasn’t very successful so the series just fizzled, etc.
I should probably get the hint considering a whole video game generation (Xbox 360/PS3) has come and gone with no new Manhunt, but I’m not giving up hope yet. It has never been more economically viable in the market for Manhunt 3 to happen, so if we don’t get official news that it’s happening some time in the next 3 years, I’ll get in line to put a nail in the coffin with everyone else.
Because at that point, it will become clear that Rockstar simply doesn’t want to make the game, creatively. Because from a purely business and product perspective, there’s a clear demand and I simply see no other reason the game shouldn’t be made. The ESRB is not a problem and clearly Rockstar is financially and technically capable after they get warmed up to the new platforms.
And if we ever do get Manhunt 3, it’ll be on Xbox One/PS4 and I can hardly fathom just how beautiful the blood and gore would be at such a high resolution with impressive lighting and liquid effects. Likely, would be one of the most graphic (in both meanings of the word) game ever made.
So what do you think? Is there still a market for Manhunt 3, or is the series as dead as Piggsy?
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