GTA4 Trailer Outrages NYC Pols - Honeymoon Over for New Take Two Owners

March 31, 2007 -
That didn't take long.

Take Two Interactive's new management team, which seized control of the company via stockholder revolt late Thursday afternoon, is facing its first public relations crisis. Not surprisingly, the uproar is related to the controversial Grand Theft Auto series.

Just hours after new chairman Strauss Zelnick and his team wrestled control of Take Two from embattled former CEO Paul Eibeler, the company released the first video trailer for GTA IV, scheduled to hit retail on October 16th. The picture at left is a screen shot from the trailer.

While game websites analyzed the trailer frame-by-frame in an obsessive hunt for clues to GTA4's game play, officials in New York City began doing a slow burn over the Big Apple's obvious inclusion as Liberty City, the setting for the crime-oriented game.

As reported by the NY Daily News:
The latest version of an ultraviolent video game will unleash its murderous mayhem on the streets of New York. And outraged political leaders say the rampant brutality of the game, Grand Theft Auto IV, has little in common with reality.

 ...(GTA4) is set in a mythical city that bears a striking resemblance to New York... the trailer shows well-known landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Cyclone in Coney Island...

Said City Councilman Peter Vallone, who chairs the Council's Public Safety Committee: 
Setting Grand Theft Auto in the safest big city in America would be like setting Halo in Disneyland.

A spokesman for NYC Mayor  Michael Bloomberg added:
The mayor does not support any video game where you earn points for injuring or killing police officers.

Take Two, of course, had no comment. So even though management has changed, the company's unfortunate duck-and-cover P.R. strategy apparently remains.

Comments

I never played any GTA (I am not into shooters like GTA that much) and any news I ever hear about GTA are from this site or friends that play it. Reporters never play GTA and they must get their stories from better sources than "their friends".
How come I am more well informed about what GTA is and isn't than reporters, politicians, and lawyers. Since when did they skipped the investigation part that their job highly requires?

But knowing that you can sell pornography to childrens in the game, I MUST buy a copy of it.

And Halo in Disneyland, hhmmm, I could snipe you while ridding a roler coaster, you would never see me coming. Halo developers, please make that map downloadable from Xbox live I beg of you.

1. Free traffic from slashot.
2. I want to see the trailer, how come it's not even in your blog post?

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!

Don't compare Halo to GTA. Seriously, the former involves constructive violence, people.

IT'S A GAME - NOT REAL - LIKE A MOVIE - GET A LIFE!!!!!

More power to the press.. The more they complain, the more publicity the game gets, the more copies they will sell! The more money they make, the quicker GTA 5 will be out!

So what is the problem any way.. Let them yell as loud as they want. Maybe it will get on the front page of some major news organizations again, and get more free advertising!

enjoyed Streets of LA, and NY version for an European, kinda go like a tourist there, with a mission.

i think, if T2 uses NY like model for the new GTA, they should enjoy-it like free commercial, from movie, it seams graphics will be really good, no better way to sell NY world (even in game mode) then this way (i really think NYC should observe game phenomenon like a promo option too, not that NY misses tourists or something, but hack , free commercials is for them nothing to lose, is a win/win stand-up, of course, if game is getting violent and all that, ratting is a must, and keeping kids out from playing-it goes on parents shoulders... read that rating label before u give your kid something if you care about him or stop nagging the rest)

and for politicians, better deal in really problems you were elected to take care of, then smoking out publicity stunts like this just to get some attention and btw. i think you better take care of educating parents in dealing with kids or support consequenscins

Halo in Disneyland or Disney World sounds like fun!

@ Dick Butterworth

What you said was clearly trolling. I don't want the have a huge flame war but thats what it was.

People need to lighten up. These politicians show their laziness when they focus on non-issues like this. Why don't they concentrate their energy into worrying about the millions of savages that are trying to kill all of us? As far as New York being the safest big city in America, it has been since the mid 90's. I used to live there. You can't even look at someone funny without 18 cops jumping on top of you. Believe me, sometimes we New Yorkers have longed for the old days when it was actually like GTA. When it wasn't so "family friendly" with theme restaurants. That's what ruined Las Vegas. Video Game violence. Lower the gas prices you over-paid half wits!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE .... someone make a mod of
HALO at Disneyland!!!!!!!!!!!

additionally, this game looks amazing. I actually want a PS3 now.

I grew up here in New York, and spent the last 10 years traveling the country, living in most of its major cities. When I was young, it was dangerous, and if you were stupid, you paid. The only place I have had my car broken into was peace and love crazed San Francisco. The only place I saw crack smoked on the street in front of my house? San Francisco. I am now back in NYC, and I do not feel the need to even lock my doors. It is a police state here, and all of you nice people from Kansas can now live here and continue to drive up our rents.
Politicians comment on this shite because of the lemmings approach: someone else is doing it. If another politician says something inflammatory, and you do not also comment, you look negligent. Without a doubt, if in November, 3 police get killed, there will be at least one idiot linking it directly to this game, and then the mayor and everyone else can say "I told you so." If they say nothing, rivals will chirp "The mayor ignored this menace!"
And that is why they are "outraged." So outraged... notice that the comment from the mayor is actually from a representative. There wasnt some press conference held.
Fucking press. uhk.

@Andrew Eisen

There is no uproar. This was a manufactured story. The "outrage" you're pointing to is nothing more than what we've been hearing time and time again - glamorizing violence is bad. There is nothing new here.

I'd appreciate it if people did not call me a troll. You may disagree with my opinion and attack my opinion all you like but please leave the personal attacks out of it. Thank you.

sincerely,
Dick Butterworth

“In previous incarnations, players advanced through the game by killing cops, selling pornography to children and killing prostitutes. Details of the latest version have not been released.”

Huh, last time I played any of my GTA games, I didn't remember selling porn to children, or advancing by killing cops. Huh, whoever wrote that is an idiot, plain and simple.

Halo in Disneyland? That would rock so hard core! The map would be massive and have so many hiding places.

any way, back on topic. So GTA has a couple of NY land marks, big deal. Tons of games have some NY land marks and no one gave two spits about them. Along with the ones stated here already, what about Twisted Metal 2s level "Roof top rumble" where you can see the statue of liberty and shoot at it making it change appearance until it blows up.

Safest city in America? ...Do you guys even remember what happened to you guys six years ago?

"Ubicar GTA 4 en Nueva York es como ubicar Halo en Disneylandia"...

Los políticos de Nueva York empiezan a hacerle publicidad gratis al GTA4: Las declaraciones del titular las ha hecho Peter Vallone, concejal de seguridad ciudadana, al considerar a Nueva York la ciudad más segura de América. Por su parte, el portavo...

Safest city? What's this mayor smoking? (Marion Barry anyone?)

Let's not forget the violence in the Spiderman movies, or for that matter how about.....

ESCAPE FROM NY? Where they turned the "Safest" city into a penal colony?

they're really reaching this time.

Not only GTA3, GTA1 is a top-down carbon copy of new york.

http://www.rockstargames.com/gta/cities/images/libertycitymap.jpg

Lulz you got slashvertised.

Ah, everything is back to normal for take two...

What about the Midnight Club series?

The whole thing was street racing through different cities. I doubt they approve of that. Yet no one said a word.

@ Dick Butterworth

We don't take kindly to trolls round these parts. So you should probably run the next time your in Disneyland and you see a Wart Hog coming straight at you.

[...] Source: GamePolitics (article) [...]

If you look at crime rates per 100,000 residents for the largest cities in the United States, New York is the lowest. That's where they get the "safest big city in America" stuff.

I can't believe, of all things to get mad about, they choose this. GTA has been set in Liberty City, which we all know is based on NYC, multiple times. Are they just now getting up in arms about it because Rockstar made a concerted effort to include some of the more recognizable landmarks in GTA IV? They haven't even seen one 1 second of violent gameplay in the game and they're already getting their panties in a bunch.

I think what Technical Magician says is spot on. Movie and TV studios can buy the silence of city officials with whatever fees they have to pay to the city in order to film there. As long as you pay the toll, no one says boo about the content of your project. But watch out if you use the city's "likeness" without needing to shell out any money.

I would totally play halo at disneyland. That would rock. Varied terrain, castles, semi-urban environments. It would be great.

I more surprised a Councilman knows what HALO is.

In GTA1, a decade ago, you earned points for killing cops. I honestly can't remember whether you did in GTA2 too. In GTA3, Vice City, and San Andreas, your points became money and you only earned them when somebody gave you cash. Killing a cop in a modern GTA results in two things: Not getting shot by that cop any more, and causing two more to grow in its place.

Few games punish you for being bad like GTA. The reason they are so much fun is *because* your actions have consequences. The joy in the games lies in triggering a major incident and screaming through city streets in a stolen sports car while special agents try to run you off the road and use you as a mobile ammo storage unit. It is the anarchic thrill of seeing just how much damage you can cause before the inevitable happens. If they make the police force even better, get rid of the respray shops or reduce your ability to lose the fuzz, GTA would *improve*.

Let's not forget, folks - it's Saturday. I'm holding out hope that TT will fire back, but it'd also be rather cruel of them to call off the weekends of their PR guys just because of this.

I popped in GTA 1 and went to the map and Liberty City is RIGHT WHERE NYC would be. Vice CIty is Florida and San Andreas is in California.

Wow, it took them THIS long to figure out that Liberty City is a thinly veiled parallel of New York?

Dick,

Today’s headline:

“GTA4 Trailer Outrages NYC Pols – Honeymoon Over for New Take Two Owners”

Title of the sourced article:

“Pols rage as vid game takes shot at city”

Quotes from the sourced article:

“And outraged political leaders say the rampant brutality of the game, Grand Theft Auto IV, has little in common with reality.”

“"It's despicable to glamorize violence in games like these, regardless of how far-fetched the setting may be," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.”


Andrew Eisen

Why didnt they bother when it was in LC? Or in Liberty City Stories? Or Vice City (Miami) or SA (state of California)?

True Crime New York was in New York and they didnt bother. I guess because the game is not so known as GTA is.

And wheres the fuss if people under 17 cant (shouldnt) buy the game? If someone sells it to a kid, its his fault, not the makers fault.

Remember, people dont play GTA because you can commit crimes. Atleast me.

This time the outrage will be bigger because GTA has moved into photorealistic graphics.

If they ban this game, they should ban all M rated games. Why discriminate?

"Grand Theft Auto IV, has little in common with reality."

Well DUH thats the whole point

I've been counting down the days to the release of the trailer and am now considering hibernating until the game comes out :P

@Tony Selby...

To be honest, GTA is no more 'suggestive' than some of the more racy 'National Lampoon' or 'Scary Movie' stuff, though people here are bringing up the worst of it, the way it's projected in game is far more reminiscent of these movies than of anything else.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks Halo in Disneyland would be a cool idea.

Perhaps if these safety campaigners actually played the game they might realise that it's actually pretty harmless entertainment, and shooting at the police is discouraged.

No one sounds outraged.

I'm outraged at the sensationalist headline this website had to resort to.

So CSI:NY is ok, but this isn't? Yeah ok...

And these guys didn't have a problem with The Warriors, also set in NYC. Albeit set about 30 some odd years ago.

I think most of the major landmarks in the video will be changed for the final game to differentiate it from NYC a little more.

I'm still waiting for my game to count up all those points that I got for "killing" all the police and Prostitutes.
They are just picking on Take-Two for no reason, because there were a number of other games that did just that (as named by a previous poster).

Halo in Disneyland? I'll be sniping on top of Cinderella's Castle =P

I forget what mission let you sell porn to kids :P

Look, the whole reason why the game is getting this kind of mistreatment is because of one thing- It's set in New York, and the city isn't getting a dime for it unlike if a movie or television program was filmed there. However, stating that openly would make them look like money grubbing goombas so they take the tired and ignorant wild exagerations of gameplay routes.

It makes them look better because they are now... all together now:
"Doing it for the children!"

I won't be surprised if these people would think the game is the best thing since sliced bread and gain a case of "selective lockjaw" if the city got a cut.

Politicians just want to suck-up a little of the GTA hype that's going to start after this trailer is released, after all the election year is just around the corner. No kids were ever featured in GTA so far, though a few quests did involve you killing a police officer, albeit corrupt ones. None of the other games that featured NY and had violent background were nearly as notorious as GTA, so it only makes sense to go after the biggest of them all.

"Setting Grand Theft Auto in the safest big city in America would be like setting Halo in Disneyland."

Safest big city my skinny white butt. Hell, the whole idea of running people over in taxi cabs came from walking down the streets of New York. You're not fooling anyone.

So politicians think that aliens invading Disney Land will make people afraid to go???

Is it just me or does Halo in Disneyland actually sound like a pretty fun mod? I mean, chokepoints and sniper roosts ftw!

HOUSE OF LIES!!!!!!

Anyone remember that Campari ad (featured heavily in "The People vs. Larry Flynt" where Rev. Falwell describes his first sexual experience as occurring with Mom in an outhouse? Ya, I think that Halo at Disneyland is more like that. And we all remember how that movie (and history) turned out.

People who have no idea what they're talking about should STFU.

And "Setting Grand Theft Auto in the safest big city in America would be like setting Halo in Disneyland." I don't get his point, what's wrong with setting Halo in Disneyland?
 
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