Rockstar Bullies EA Over Parody

October 8, 2007 -
Rockstar is upset with EA over a GTA parody.

Wait, what?

According to CVG, Rockstar was miffed about a "Grand Theft Scratchy" poster being used to hype EA’s The Simpsons game at the recent Leipzig Game Convention. 

It's an odd turn of events considering that the GTA publisher has made liberal use of parody in its products and marketing campaigns for years. 

For example, the GTA: Liberty City Stories website poked fun at Jack Thompson; GTA San Andreas spoofed an LA gentlemen’s club, and the MetLife building appeared as the GetaLife building in a recent GTA4 trailer.

Greg Rizzer, lead designer on The Simpsons, told CVG:
I was always under the impression that when you do parody, it's a sign of respect... If we make fun of Grand Theft Auto, we're not going to hurt the sales of Grand Theft Auto... But yeah, we've definitely had some reactions - we've had to pull stuff from the game.

It’s not clear if the entire Grand Theft Scratchy level was pulled from the game or the convention poster was the only victim of Rockstar’s arguably hypocritical lack of humor.

For his part, Rizzer doesn’t believe the entire company took issue with the spoof and theorizes it was only one guy who didn’t appreciate the joke.
I don't know who specifically at Rockstar.  I'm guessing probably more than anyone it was a lawyer. The people who work on that product, I doubt they were like, 'Stop that!'

Hmm… a lawyer vexed by a parody, huh?

Yeah, we could see that.

-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen


[...] I hope the game’s level stays intact, and that this fracas was just about the poster - it would be a shame to lose an hysterical homage to Rockstar’s baby. Itchy and Scratchy and GTA? That sounds like carnage heaven! Can’t we all just get along? (Except you, Church of England. You’re not invited.) Rockstar Bullies EA Over Parody [GamePolitics] [...]

They've got strong legal ground, Rockstar doesn't have the moral upper hand after winning a suit against them brought for similar reasons and games are expensive to develop, so I really doubt the game itself was altered.

Honestly, doesn't rockstar seem to go with the "any publicity is good publicity" spiel? I mean, they get most of their coverage over people up in arms and controversy, and some guy seems to think that, while getting groups to call for their crusifixions is okay, someone poking fun at them isn't. I really do hope it was just one guy, otherwise rockstar is there even a word for hipocritical, stupid, weird, arrogant....forget it. the story speaks for itself.

Yeah, this person has a bright future at R*.

That seems odd, considering how things have been with R* in the past.

Well, someone's always a critic..

Did Rockstar throw a fit over Simpson's Hit and Run, another GTA parody?

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

Did I hear the pot calling the kettle black?

Why is Rockstar pulling a JT-type stunt?

Does not compute.

You'd think a lawyer for R* would have more important things to do with their time, like counting the giant stacks of cash that just lay around the R* offices.

Maybe I'd care if they were going after someone else.
But as it is, does anyone really mind them attacking an ogre like EA?

I thought Grand Theft Walrus was funnier.

Rockstar needs to shut it. If there is one thing they are known for, it's controversy putting them at the center of attention. The center of attention tends to get spoofed.

I hope the change they were forced to make was to rename that level/section/whatever. "Grand Theft Scratchy" was just stupid and lazy.

Also, why is Jack Thompson in the tags? This has nothing to do with him at all.

Sorry, gang. Not taking the bait.

For those who didn't jump to the CVG link, here is the "hard evidence" CVG cited that Rockstar was upset.

"At this year's Games Convention in Leipzig, someone took offence at a poster for 'Grand Theft Scratchy', one of the levels in the game, and asked that it be taken down."

Yeh, right. No quotes from Rockstar officials. No quotes from a press release. CVG doesn't even say it tried to get a response from Rockstar but couldn't. All it has to report is that "someone" asked that the poster be taken down. That's pretty lame, CVG.

Until we see a quote from Rockstar about this, my money says EA started the rumor to get more press for its game and CVG took the bait.

Yeah, I'm not sure this is Rockstar's fault here. It could have been someone involved with the convention (parody or not, that poster has a severed limb and a stabbed out eye) who thought it was in poor taste for the convention floor.

Everything I've been seeing on this Simpsons game actually has me intrigued. It might be worth a purchase.

Mouth, meet foot...

Wow aren't they hypocrites

@Rockstar Games:

What the f*** guys?

Can anyone confirm that the game will be altered?

The Simpsons game is pretty much a parody of an array of games including God of War (God of Wharf) and Everquest (Neverquest). Are these publishers/developers also upset?

I would be insulted too. The Simpsons has been ppor for a few years now and the movie couldn't make me laugh if it's life depended on it. Not once did I laugh while I watched it, I even argues with the manager of the cinema to get a refund for watching it.

I think the main problem is the poster. Maybe rockstar have an issue of the contenst of each picture in it. Normally it's just a face or a car, not alot of violance like GTS is showing.

Haw-Haw! You're embarassed!

Threatening legal action over harmless parodies.

I think the reason Rockstar and Thompson hate each other so much is that deep down, they realize they're exactly the same.

You guys are amazing.

You read one story that references another story which has no quotes from a Rockstar official, no quotes from a Rockstar press release, no "no comment" from Rockstar, not even a "Rockstar refused to comment"... and you take it as gospel.

How hard is it for someone from the gamer press to pick up a phone, call Rockstar and ask for a comment from one of its bigwigs or PR people?
Nah, why bother. It's easier to print a rumor.

Congrats to EA and Rizzer for duping CVG and, by extension, GamePolitics.
When someone finds a CREDIBLE source that has ANY quote or decline-to-quote from Rockstar concerning this story, let me know.

I won't be holding my breath.

This seems very odd coming from a company that even spoofed other games such as "True Grime: Street CLeAners."

This is funny.

Does not compute stupid behavior.

Frankly WTF? It's not like they don't know they are wrong.

Of course they might be kicking stuff up to get themselves noticed.

If, and only if this is true, then Rockstar is stupid, especially after the Jack Thompson BS, but thats only if its true.


i have to agree with all the parodies that gta series has done (not too mention dealing with jt) they have to have a sense of humor
(as well as incredible patience)

Arguably hypocritical? I'd say it full well is!

Gotta agree with McDaddy, after reading the article, the sourcing is terrible. Where's the proof?

Hey GPers,

I'm currently seeking comment from Rockstar. Nothing so far but I’ll keep you all posted.

Andrew Eisen

The PR backhand to logic is always a interesting mess to watch....

Odd? No it's not odd at all. The people who run Rockstar are hypocrites, and Strauss Zelnick is hypocrite in chief. Glad to see the inconvenient truth is seeping through even to gamers.

I've just been contacted by a video game industry company which has offered to blow the whistle on Microsoft and others regarding the inner workings of the video game industry. This company has asked for my assistance.

What do you think I told this person?

Jack Thompson


I think you told him that you've already called the FBI and they will be breaking down their doors in a matter of seconds.

And "Video Game Industry Company"? What about just "Video Game Company"? Or maybe you put it that way to say that this company is in games, but doesn't MAKE games?

Either way, the simple fact of the matter is that you are an uptight, schezophrenic, paranoid, whiny, insulting, pitiful, small, neurotic little dousche of a man.

Now that I've got my insults to you out of the way, how's the wife and kids?


@jack thompson, attorney

The article has to tdo with Rockstar, NOT Take Two. Learn to read.

Also, I think any game company would realize that YOU helping them with a case against of all places, Microsoft is professional suicide. Tell us again, how many times have you succeeded, can you name even one case?

I thought not.

Easy Kurisu, just let the senile old man have his fun. He doesn't know better. :)


kurisu7885 -

What's the difference? Rockstar is just a development studio owned by Take-Two.

Also, he's going to cite the time he played a large role in getting Howard Stern taken off the air. That's not really an insignificant thing, but it doesn't really say anything about his ability to fight against the Constitution (he can't win).

@Carter Mills

Not to mention, he still lost that. Howard Stern is still on the air, albeit in a different radio form, so really, that's not even a victory.

Ahh yes, John Bruce "Jack - What Constitution?" Thompson.


It's just too easy!


@Carter Mills

And sorry for nitpicking his post, I was just trying to point out that taking down Take Two will not destroy the development house as well, they'll just find another publisher, which in my opinion, for Rockstar wouldn't be too hard


No no.

"jack thompson, constitutionally protected and you're not."


Well Jack, you get on your soap box and you go as far as you can with your group of spys. I'm guessing the "secrets" will probably include how Microsoft's employees forget to put a lid on their pen or some other worthless crap. You've already proved to us that you're predjudiced man who would feel more at home in the 1400's. Are you on the electric yet? Don't let the door hit'ya on the way out.

(Of course you could just try and sue Microsoft. That'l be a good laugh.)

Is that the real Jack Thompson? I thought he wasn't going to speak to GP ever again (for the nth time).

Yep, it's Jack. He complains at Rockstar for having double-standards, and yet he's still here. Maybe he's just gone senile instead.

I think he may have commented here just because his name's in the tag, but I could be wrong.

Anyway. Jack? What I say in response to that is:

Good luck.

I mean it. *If* Microsoft (or any other game company) is acting inappropriately, and *if* this is verifiable, and *if* it's something noteworthy... then sure, I think the public should know about it.

But please note we've yet to see any verification on the original article you've responded to. Did Rockstar complain to the EA? We don't know for sure. Did the details make it noteworthy? Also unknown. ("Please take down that one poster" is not, by the way; that may reflect an individual's decision at the time, and not company policy.) All we know is that an alleged 'someone' requested that a poster be taken down.

But sure, even if it comes from someone as famously biased as you, the truth is important. The only thing that concerns me is that you historically have played fast and loose with the facts, to put it kindly; be prepared for serious examination of whatever 'truth' you put forward.

@Jack Thompson

"I’ve just been contacted by a video game industry company which has offered to blow the whistle on Microsoft and others regarding the inner workings of the video game industry. This company has asked for my assistance.

What do you think I told this person?"

Uh, let me guess... "I can't, my career's in deep shit"?

After all, that's probably more than likely after tomorrow, Jacky T.

"I’ve just been contacted by a video game industry company which has offered to blow the whistle on Microsoft and others regarding the inner workings of the video game industry. This company has asked for my assistance.

What do you think I told this person?

Jack Thompson"

Ummm.... what the hell are you trying to say? I figured you wouldn't want any help from the 'evil, Manchurian-raising' video game industry in 'taking down' Microsoft?

1. What does this have to do with Rockstar (if you could READ you could see that THEY are the subject of this article and not Take Two.)

2. Why are you even here? Shouldn't you be preparing for your important, make-or-break hearing tomorrow? Of course not, because you're a hack with no life who google's his name and has a man-crush on someone half his age, and looks up gay porn in his spare time aside from that, and otherwise doesn't give two shits about his own career.
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