Rockstar prepared for GTA IV media backlash

With the official April 29 release of Grand Theft Auto IV now looming large, it would appear that developer Rockstar Games is preparing to repel boarders against the somewhat predictable media backlash the game is all-but guaranteed to meet when it hits retail.

Given the established association Rockstar has with controversy, not least through the San Andreas ‘Hot Coffee’ mod scandal and the studio’s current Manhunt 2 ratings tussle, it comes a little surprise to see the studio preparing for the worst.

Following a recent GTA IV game demonstration given to members of the North American press, Rockstar Games founder Dan Houser was asked if he was anticipating the game to receive a knee-jerk wave of criticism from certain media sources.

“I expect it because we’ve had so much of it in the past,” replied Houser. “I wish people would treat videogames the same as other media.

Houser went on to say that the mainstream media does not appear to want to accept videogames in that way, preferring to paint the industry as “a conveniant enemy for people.”

Houser’s opinion echoes similar comments put forth by EA’s Jeff Green in a recent letter to FOX News calling for an apology after the broadcaster wrongly accused BioWare’s sci-fi epic Mass Effect of containing full-frontal nudity and graphic scenes of interactive sex.

In that letter, Brown intimated that current attacks by channels such as FOX News were indicative of traditional broadcasters unfairly vilifying the videogame industry in an attempt to prevent the growth of interactive media from negatively affecting audience figures.

Taking into account the contentious history already connected to the Grand Theft Auto series, Rockstar is probably right to be wary ahead of the game’s imminent release.

And, given that Houser has described GTA IV’s visuals and narrative as being more realistic than anything the hugely popular series has ever seen, he might be well advised to strap on his best heavy-duty riot gear to help deflect the upcoming barrage that’s bound to be delivered by media critics and videogame activists.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.

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