Rumor: Team Bondi Headed Towards Bankruptcy

August 5, 2011 -

Sydney studio Team Bondi is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, according to a growing number of online sources. Mostly, the rumors are coming from the Neogaf discussion board, and the claims have not been substantiated by an official representative. While an official "statement is forthcoming," Develop claims that an unnamed company representative declined a request to comment.

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Should Game Developers Have A Union?

July 26, 2011 -

In light of the accusations of horrible working conditions that L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi has garnered of late (excessive hours, no overtime pay, employees cut out of the game’s credits), do game developers need labor rights?  Should they have a union?

46 comments | Read more

L.A. Noire Banned in UAE

May 21, 2011 -

United Arab Emirates retail chain Geekay Games updated its Facebook page today with sad, if unsurprising news:

Unfortunate news, L.A. Noire has been banned. Sorry guys :(

Bummer.  The UAE’s National Media Council (NMC) did not reveal why it banned the game and so far, Rockstar has not commented on the situation.

Speculation has it that The Witcher 2 and Duke Nukem Forever will be the next titles to receive a wallop from the NMC banhammer.

Source: Middle East Gamers via Cheater87

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

2 comments

Sony and Rockstar Release Statement on L.A. Noire Issues

May 19, 2011 -

After pointing the finger at the newest firmware update for PS3 as the cause of the console overheating while playing its crime noire game, L.A. Noire, Rockstar Games has backpedaled today. The company released a joint statement with Sony saying that the new firmware was not the root cause of the problem. Neither company claims to know what exactly is the cause of the PS3 overheating problem related to L.A. Noire either.

From the PlayStation Blog:

"We have received a very small number of customer support questions about PS3s overheating or shutting down while playing L.A. Noire. At this time, Rockstar Games and Sony can confirm that neither L.A. Noire or firmware update 3.61 are causing the PS3 hardware to overheat. We are both committed to working hard to find solutions to this and any issues that may arise."

2 comments | Read more

Breaking Down Walls: L.A. Noire Selected for Tribeca Film Festival

March 29, 2011 -

Rockstar Games’ upcoming crime noire thriller, L.A. Noire, is officially the first video game to be honored as an official selection for the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. It cannot be emphasized enough that, with this selection, Rock Star's game is the first to ever be chosen as an "official selection" in a festival reserved for film.

"We’re thrilled that L.A. Noire is being recognized by the Tribeca Film Festival in this way," said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. "It’s a real honor, and another step forward for interactive entertainment."

3 comments | Read more

Red Dead Wins Big at GANG Awards

March 7, 2011 -

Red Dead Redemption was the big winner at the Game Audio Network Guild (GANG) Awards at GDC in San Francisco last week, scooping up four awards in various categories including audio of the year, music of the year, best interactive score, and best dialogue. The game was nominated in ten different categories. The game also managed to sweep the GDC Awards last week.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 won Sound Design Of The Year and Best Use Of Multi-Channel Surround, while Bizarre Creations' last game, James Bond 007: Blood Stone, won Best Original Instrumental and Best Original Vocal.

A full list of all this year's winners are below:

2 comments | Read more

Cypress Hill Singer Sues Rockstar/Take-Two Over 6-Year-Old Game

December 15, 2010 -

Would you believe yet another musician is suing a game developer/publisher?

Joining the ranks of No Doubt, Courtney Love and most recently, Axl Rose, Michael “Shagg” Washington, backup singer of rap group Cypress Hill, has filed suit against Rockstar Games and Take-Two.  He alleges that the main character of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was created using his image and life story.

6 comments | Read more

Ban Hammer Coming for Red Dead Redemption Cheaters Next Week

August 20, 2010 -

Players fond of using hacked save games to gain benefits in multiplayer probably feel like cattle rustlers in the sights of Matt Dillon from Gun Smoke today. Rockstar is getting ready to ban as many accounts as it has to to clean up this “Wild West” of a multiplayer community, but it wants to give players a chance to repent by deleting those hacked save games.

There are other negatives to getting banned besides not being able to play the game online; banned accounts will also be removed from leaderboards, but those smart enough to erase those "bad save files" will still get to keep their achievements and trophies, pre-order items and cheats earned through the "Social Club" after creating a new save game and logging in.

4 comments | Read more

Arkadium Prez: Bad Timing for Release of Red Dead Murder Stats

July 8, 2010 -

Jessica Rovello, Co-Founder and President of the casual/social/advergame firm Arkadium, has authored an opinion piece on the Huffington Post that cross references a CNBC piece from earlier this week (in which game executives fretted over the Schwarzenegger v. EMA SCOTUS ruling) with new statistics just released from Rockstar’s hit Red Dead Redemption.

Writing that “Since a significant portion of the industry's best selling triple A console titles are loaded with violence, it [a Supreme Court ruling for the California law] could mean a huge drop in profits for major game publishers,” Rovello noted that Rockstar had just released news that players had murdered over 132 million people in Red Dead Redemption over the first two weeks of its release.

The timing of the release of the stats gave Rovello pause. She wrote:

22 comments | Read more

GTA DJ: Rockstar Games Not for Kids

May 25, 2010 -

Lazlow Jones (pictured), best known as the voice of the radio DJ in the Grand Theft Auto series of games, thinks that parental units who purchase a Rockstar game for their offspring are “terrible parents.”

Jones, who has been credited in a slew of Rockstar Games titles, was discussing the publisher’s latest release Red Dead Redemption in a BBC interview, when he was asked “How do you feel about accusations that games such as yours are responsible for more violence among young people?”

Jones responded:

Our games are not designed for young people. If you're a parent and buy one of our games for your child you're a terrible parent. We design games for adults because we're adults. There's a lot of kids games out there that we're not interested in playing. Just like you enjoy watching movies and TV shows with adult themes and language and violence that's the kind of thing we seek to produce.

17 comments | Read more

Irish Eyes Not Smiling Over Red Dead Redemption Character

May 20, 2010 -

The Irish aren’t too happy about the name of a town drunk in the just-released Red Dead Redemption.

An article on the Herald website notes that “The stereotype of the drunken Paddy will again be taken advantage of, as the game's town drunk is called "Irish". A description of the character, which the Herald took from a “popular gaming forum”, describes Irish as “the town drunk. Usually found stumbling around and getting into trouble with sober townsfolk while attempting to talk his way out".

Rockstar itself painted the character as “A teller of tall tales, who’ll try to talk his way out of anything.” Another piece of character artwork offered has Irish, while brandishing a liquor bottle, stating, “I was real drunk. You know how it is.”

19 comments | Read more

Scuttlebutt: Rockstar Title Banned in UAE

May 17, 2010 -

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption won’t be up offered for sale in the United Arab Emirates, at least according to chatter on a forum dedicated to visitors of the MEGamers website.

In response to a post asking if the title would be available in the UAE, user GetUpYaSook offered that a “Retailer at Dubai Mall told me last night that Red Dead has indeed been banned.” None of the users seemed to worry much about the game being banned, indicating, in as many words, that such bans are not all-encompassing and there is always a way to acquire a game.

MEGamers (Via MCVUK) did ask local distributor Red Entertainment about the ban and received a “no comment.”

5 comments | Read more

IGDA, Rockstar Reply to Allegations of Over Work

January 14, 2010 -

Both the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and Rockstar Games have issued responses to an open letter posted on Gamasutra which claimed deteriorating working conditions at the Rockstar San Diego studio.

Rockstar’s response came in the way of a comment on the original Gamasutra story, where user "Justwanna makegames" posted what appears to be an internal email from Rockstar to employees.

A few selections:

We do not agree with the allegations in the Gamasutra post (e.g. there has been no reduction in health benefits or ancillary benefits and perks (such as free dinners and massages etc), wage increases across the studio have kept track with cost of living increases, and anyone who feels they have been overlooked for a bonus for a game they worked on please contact HR to discuss as soon as possible).

Nevertheless, we do know that the team is working very hard right now, and we care deeply about the physical health and mental well-being of every single person on our team. We are committed to working through any issues anyone at the studio may have, and to providing support wherever possible.

In a post on its website, the IGDA wrote:

In any studio, the IGDA finds the practice of undisclosed and constant overtime to be deceptive, exploitative, and ultimately harmful not only to developers but to their final product and the industry as a whole. While our research shows that many studios have found ways to preserve quality of life for their employees, unhealthy practices are still far too common in our industry.

More:

Events like these raise the awareness of quality of life issues in the industry and among the public.  The IGDA has made clear its stance on excessive uncompensated overtime, and this instance represents an opportunity for reflection across the industry.

Additionally, MTV reached out to a former Rockstar New York employee who verified the claims made by Rockstar San Diego staffers.

The unnamed ex-employee even went so far as to compare Rockstar New York to the “Eye of Sauron” when it comes to dealing with other Rockstar studios:

Basically you'd have a studio working without guidance or milestones for nearly two years and then Rockstar NYC would suddenly pay attention to the project, making major changes as if out of the blue.

9 comments

Rockstar San Diego Wives Decry Working Conditions

January 11, 2010 -

In an open letter reminiscent of the now infamous 2004 blog postings by EA Spouse, a group of Rockstar San Diego employee wives have banded together to lament working conditions at the West Coast videogame developer.

Gamasutra has posted the letter in its entirety, which was signed by the “Determined Devoted Wives of Rockstar San Diego employees.” The group alleges that Rockstar San Diego employees have been in a perpetual state of “crunch” since March of 2009, employees have been diagnosed with symptoms of depression and that mandatory work hours have extended to nearly 12 hours a day, six days a week.

The letter also claims that comp and vacation time have been recouped by the company and that, since doctor’s offices are typically closed on Sunday, those working six days a week must utilize a sick day on a Saturday in order to visit their doctor. Those that do so receive “an attitude presented to them that they pose a hindrance.”

Additionally, the spouses claim that salary raises issued over the past four years have not kept up with inflation and that:

While managing to endure through the trying times, they still were hit with more blows. Again balance is denied, as working conditions worsened with no appreciation. Working harder, longer, faster, yet there was never a guarantee of a bonus nor if there was any earned, when they will be received! Moreover, bonuses could significantly be reduced based on ANYTHING management comes up with, while the employee would have no way to know about it.

The spouses write that if conditions “stay unchanged in the upcoming weeks, preparation will be made to take legal action against Rockstar San Diego.”

A user comment on Gamasutra posted by someone who claims to be a Rockstar San Diego employee stated:

RSG is not a bad place, and for many years, we hadn't crunched a lot. The last 10 months though have been terrible and were avoidable. Same for all previous projects that went through the same extended crunch, and unless something changes, for all future projects.

Rockstar San Diego is currently working on Red Dead Redemption, the successor to 2004’s Red Dead Revolver.

19 comments

AO-Rated Manhunt 2 Gunning for PCs

November 2, 2009 -

Rockstar Games’ controversial Manhunt 2 is being released for the PC this week in an uncensored version that carries an Adults Only (AO) rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).

Originally released in 2007 for the Wii and PlayStation 2 platforms, the title drew fire over its content and a perception that using the Wii’s motion controls to enact virtual violence could carry over to real-world violence, despite evidence that eventually emerged to the contrary.

The BigDownload notes that Manhunt 2 will be offered via the digital delivery system of Direct2Drive for $29.95. Purchases are limited to those who live in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  While Valve offers a full Rockstar Games collection through its Steam service, no mention of the pending availability of an AO-rated Manhunt 2 game can be found anywhere on their site or within Steam.

The ESRB content descriptor for the game states: “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs.”

30 comments

BBFC Dishes on Gay Tony Content

October 21, 2009 -

The British Board of Film Classification has bestowed an 18 (Adult) rating upon Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City, the bundle which features both The Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and The Damned.

In doing so, their report contains a few spoilers from both games, which we won’t detail here. The BBFC noted that “at least four uses of very strong language that crop up in some of the cut scenes” bounced the rating up from 15 to 18. “Strong sex and violence and hard drug use” also contributed to the higher mark.

There is also sex scenes, which are “quite strong, but always masked and the characters concerned are invariably fully clothed (no nudity).” Portrayals of cocaine, in addition to references to drug trafficking, are also spread liberally throughout the game.

Additionally:

“There are blood spurts as people are shot and stabbed etc. and pools of blood form on the ground. However, there is never any discernible injury detail and it is not possible to inflict post-mortem injuries, although there is considerable ragdolling as dead bodies are shot.”


Click through to see the whole BBFC report, and don’t worry, sections that contain spoilers must be expanded to be read.

|Via EuroGamer|
 

18 comments

Rocker Gamers

September 25, 2009 -

Joystiq has an interview with Trent Reznor talking with the Nine Inch Nails front man about the games he grew up on, how much he sucks at Rock Band and the game character he most identifies with (Link).

Reznor also discussed his experience with pitching a videogame to publishers:

And as first time people in a pitch meeting, it was kind of depressing. Depressing to see that the people in control of those studios and publishers are much the same as the people sitting at record companies.


When asked about any similarities between the indie videogame and indie music industries, Reznor called the iPhone platform “inspiring,” and added that he likes what he sees from the Xbox, noting, “they're providing a place to get indie games and you don't have to hack your system or fight updates to get those games on it."

Indie musician Ryan Adams has also been active lately on the videogame front, writing for The Awl website over the past month. His rambling posts center on videogame titles and systems from the past, while interjecting plenty of obscenities and pop culture references.

A take from Adams on Q*bert:

Anyway, there are two ways I am thinking about Q-Bert now, either if videogames were around when making Exile on Main Street maybe it would have been a single album or that maybe it would have been longer.

11 comments

SouthPeak Proud to Have Former "Worst CEO of Year" Join Its Board of Directors

August 4, 2009 -

Video game publisher SouthPeak Interactive announced late yesterday that former Take-Two CEO Paul Eibeler (left) is joining its board of directors.

Judging from the language of its press release, SouthPeak appears to regard the addition of Eibeler, named Worst CEO of 2005 by MarketWatch, as good news:

“As one of the most respected executives in the interactive games industry, we welcome Paul to the Board of Directors,” said Terry Phillips, Chairman of SouthPeak. “His depth of experience will certainly be an asset to SouthPeak growth as a major publisher.”

Paul Eibeler is best known for his leadership at Take-Two Interactive...

Eibeler is indeed best known for his days at Take-Two. It was under his watch that the Hot Coffee scandal rocked the video game industry, with the Grand Theft Auto publisher inexcusably blaming the now well-known sex scenes on the GTA mod community before ultimately 'fessing up that it was original content.

Eibeler's reign was also plagued by securities investigations which led to charges against several past employees (although not against Eibeler). The former CEO was ousted by a 2007 shareholder revolt led by current T2 chairman Strauss Zelnick. Eibeler exited with a $2.5 million golden parachute.

5 comments

T2 CEO: Government Should Not Determine the Games You Buy

June 24, 2009 -

Eurogamer caught up with Take-Two Interactive CEO Ben Feder for a wide-ranging interview which is now available on the site.

While much of the conversation deals with various T2 games, Feder did touch upon the Manhunt 2 controversy and the notion of government censorship of games:

We firmly believe that games are art. A), we have the right to produce art. B), the consumer should have the right to make their own choices, providing the labelling on the package is clear about the content of the game.

Apart from that, I don't think it's the role of governments to determine what you or any of your readers can, or should, buy. They should be able to make their own choices. Government has no role in that at all...

Asked whether the interactive nature of games requires them to be viewed apart from, say, movies, Feder said:

It's not a difference with distinction... It's as if to say art as a painting is different than art as a sculpture. For sure they're different art forms and they use different mediums, but they're art nonetheless - they're forms of expression.

That, at least in the United States, is something that's guaranteed by the constitution, and in democracies in Western Europe there are very similar concepts about the ability for individuals to express themselves. If you stifle that, then society and the economy pay a pretty heavy toll.

Of particular interest given the ongoing RapeLay controversy, Feder was asked whether T2 might theoretically permit edgy developer Rockstar to create a game featuring sexual violence or abuse of children, Feder commented:

Look, I suppose there's a line somewhere. I don't think we've even come close to it. At the end of the day, we're also a commercial enterprise and we do intend to turn a profit with our games. That, in and of itself, provides a certain boundary beyond which we won't go.

I suppose there are more lines [beyond] which we'd be uncomfortable, but I don't think any of our games in the past, or any of our games that I've seen in development, come even close to that.

27 comments

GTA Chinatown Wars Sales Are a Major Disappointment

April 17, 2009 -

Sales of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars have been a major disappointment, according to Silicon Alley Insider.

Citing data released yesterday by NPD group, SAI reports that only 88,704 units of the critically-acclaimed DS game were purchased in March. Published estimates by video game industry analysts had suggested that GTA: Chinatown Wars would sell in the 200,000 - 450,000 range:

So how did Take-Two flub a sure thing? Chinatown Wars was built for the wrong console. The title -- whose gameplay centers around drug dealing, cold-blooded murder, and sex -- is only available on the Nintendo DS, who's primary audience is children. Parents refused to let their kids play, and the adult DS audience just isn't that big...

 

Chinatown Wars may yet find life down the road, but all in all a rare misstep from Take-Two. And the winner here might actually be Sony (SNE): The Chinatown Wars disaster will likely scare other publishers away from making new adult-themed games for the Nintendo DS. Some may redirect efforts towards Sony's PSP, which targets a somewhat older crowd.

Reacting to the poor numbers put up by GTA:CW, Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz reduced earnings estimates for Publisher Take-Two Interactive:

What Happened? Take-Two exported their most valuable IP onto the most widely distributed gaming platform, and created the most highly-rated title in the history of that platform...

 

The disappointing first month sales reinforce our view that achieving meaningful success on Nintendo platforms remains a very difficult proposition for third party publishers.

Germany: Extra Age Warning Labels on Mature Games?

March 31, 2009 -

In the aftermath of this month's horrific Winnenden school shooting, criticism of violent video games in Germany has hit a fever pitch.

Although there are no details on the origin of this photo, it appears to show an extra age warning label slapped onto Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. Germany's official USK label can be seen at lower left.

Are German retailers doubling up on age warnings?

Via: GoNintendo

Thanks to: Sharp-eyed GamePolitics correspondent Andrew Eisen...

38 comments

Meet Rockstar's Motion Capture Studio

February 26, 2009 -

The Long Island Business News has a feature on Perspectives Studio of Glen Cove, New York.

Described as "the largest 'motion capture' studio on the East Coast," Perspectives did the mocaps for Grand Theft Auto IV:

If you don’t know what motion capture, or “mocap,” is, then think of the Grand Theft Auto video game series, said Nelson, studio supervisor for Perspectives. The eerily lifelike movements in the phenomenally successful games... were shot at the Glen Cove studios.

The mocap process begins with actors and stunt people rehearsing scenes... including highly choreographed fights with guns, knives, whips and other objects... The real people are then dressed head to toe in what looks like Velcro wetsuits where silver markers, about the size of gumballs, are stuck to 53 locations on the suits...

40 cameras set along the studio walls at various heights record the action, picking up points of light from the markers attached to the suits. The movements are then mapped onto a digitized 3-D model, and a skeleton of every character and object in motion is created. Later physical features, clothes and backgrounds are filled in to create animated sequences.

Since Perspectives has an exclusive relationship with Rockstar for GTA games, naturally  we can't help but wonder whether the infamous Hot Coffee scenes were shot there...?

“We’ve done sex. Simulated, of course.”

Bingo!

5 comments

Common Sense Media Criticizes Full Frontal Nudity in GTA IV Expansion

February 20, 2009 -

The mainstream is beginning to react to the news that GTA IV add-on The Lost and Damned features a moment of full frontal male nudity.

Watchdog group Common Sense Media has now weighed in on the controversy:

It is even more controversial than its predecessors because this game has full frontal male nudity. The game lets you lead a life of crime as part of a motorcycle gang with plenty of gang violence... relentless foul language, drugs and alcohol, and sexual references...

Families can talk about why Rockstar likes to push the envelope and garner controversy over its games? Why did they have to put full-frontal nudity in the game if it's not integral to the story? Do they correlate media outrage with extraordinary game sales? Do players expect Rockstar to stir up controversy with each of its titles, including the Manhunt and Bully series?...

 

56 comments

Report: Australian Rating Board Under Fire Over GTA IV Lost & Damned

February 18, 2009 -

According to Edge Online, the Australian Board of Classification is "under heavy fire from critics" over the MA15+ rating granted to GTA IV expansion The Lost and Damned.

EO describes the situation Down Under:

Critics say that the strong similarities between GTAIV and The Lost and Damned add-on casts light on the disparity at the Australian classification group,‭ ‬a body which had initially refused classification for a number of high profile games such as Silent Hill:‭ ‬Homecoming and Fallout‭ ‬3.

Yet the Board's handling of the matter may be advocated by the fact that its GTA IV‭ ‬information page clearly shows that the title hasn't ever been refused classification.‭ ‬Rockstar had censored the content before showing it to the classification board,‭ ‬and the game was granted submission on its first attempt.‭

13 comments

Full Frontal in GTA IV Lost & Damned

February 16, 2009 -

When I ponder the things that I'd like to see in video games someday, a fully nekkid Congressman is not high on the list.

Nonetheless, Kotaku reports that a cut scene in GTA IV: The Lost and Damned, scheduled to release tomorrow, features a male character displayed with full frontal nudity:

[Congressman] Stubbs, in his first meeting with lead character Johnny Klebbitz, is receiving a massage at the private gentleman's club Jousters when we meet him. The Congressman, dressed in nothing but a towel, quickly becomes pretty comfortable with his new biker friend, choosing to deliver his monologue in the buff...

The ESRB rating for the game—which is "M" for Mature—does make mention of the gratuitous digital d*ck on display, noting that the game has "Nudity" in its content. The original Grand Theft Auto IV is listed as having only "Partial nudity."

PC Version of GTA IV Installs Resource Draining App

January 17, 2009 -

It seems that the PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV not only installs SecuROM, but loads the resource-hungry Rockstar Social Club app as well.

Kieron Gillen runs this issue down in the current PC Gamer:

Playing GTA IV's excellent multiplayer means suffering a certain level of upfront irritation.You'll first need a Games for Windows Live account. If you don't have one, the web-forms for creating this are almost incomprehensible, and the site often breaks.

 

Then, that account must be linked to Rockstar Social Club account. Annoyingly, the resource-hungry Rockstar Social Club application runs in your task bar, even when you're not playing (though it can be disabled) for no discernable reason.

There's more discussion on how to deal with the vagaries of the Rockstar Social Club app on GTAforums.

27 comments

GTA Chinatown Wars Rated 18 For British Market

January 9, 2009 -

No surprise here.

The British Board of Film Classification has assigned an 18 rating to the upcoming Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

No edits to the game were required, although the BBFC issued warnings that GTA Chinatown Wars "contains very strong language and drug references".

The game is scheduled for a March 20th release in the UK.

UPDATE: GameSpot notes that the 18 rating assigned to GTA Chinatown Wars is the first ever assigned to a DS game by the BBFC. The game's rating for the North American market is not yet listed on the website of the ESRB.

PC Version of GTA IV to be Saddled with SecuROM

November 29, 2008 -

Say it ain't so, Houser Bros.

IGN reports that the upcoming PC flavor of Grand Theft Auto IV will install the dreaded SecuROM 7 copy protection on gamers' computers.

On an up note, however, the number of times that the game can be installed will not be subject to a limit. GamePolitics readers will recall that EA's much-awaited Spore came with a three-install limit. At least, it did until a gamer revolt prompted EA to relax the resrtiction.

Regarding GTA IV's SecuROM, an unnamed Rockstar spokesperson told IGN:

Having copy protection allows us to protect the integrity or our titles and future investments, but at the same time we have worked very hard to ensure that our solutions do not persecute the legitimate players of our games. Implemented correctly, SecuROM is the most effective form of disc based copy protection and allows us to manage authenticity on a global level for Grand Theft Auto IV...

 

GTA IV PC uses SecuROM for protecting our EXE until street date has passed, to ensure the retail disk is in the computer drive... Product Activation is a one time only online authentication when installing the game. GTA IV has no install limits for the retail disc version... and that version can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs by the retail disk owner... All versions of the game will use SecuROM for Product Activation. Downloadable versions of the game will have additional code if the vendor requires it, such as Valve's Steam program.

Rockstar also warned that pirated versions would not function properly:

Aside from the fact that warez are a great place to pick up a Trojan or key logger, using a cracked copy of GTA IV PC will result in varying changes to the game experience. These can range from comical to game-progress-halting changes.

60 comments

GTA IV Ads Back on Chicago Buses, But Future M-Rated Game Ads Banned

November 19, 2008 -

Shortly before the April 29th Grand Theft Auto IV launch, the Chicago Transit Authority pulled ads for the game from its vehicles and facilities. Prompting the move was a rash of unrelated shootings in Chicago and a Fox News hit piece that linked GTA IV to the violence, even though the game hadn't yet been released.

Just a week later, Take-Two warmed the hearts of censorship opponents by suing the CTA in U.S. District Court for breaching its $300,000 contract. The case dragged on through the summer, but in late September GamePolitics reported that the parties were nearing a settlement.

Chicago Breaking News is now reporting that, as part of that settlement, GTA IV ads will appear on CTA buses for the next six weeks, which should give T2 a little boost for the holiday season. CTA spokesperson Noelle Gaffney explained:

The CTA made the earlier decision to remove the ads from the system following some violence in the city. The CTA felt that, based on the circumstances, it was in the best interest of our customers to remove the ads and further review the circumstances.

But wait - the CTA dropped some discouraging news as well, saying that it will accept no further ads for M-rated games once it works off its GTA IV debt. Here, the agency employs some highly questionable - read: highly political - logic:

Last week, the CTA board voted to ban advertising for video games rated "M" and above. The ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1, cites a "demonstrable correlation" between intensely violent video games and violent or aggressive behavior.

Thus, Chicago joins Boston among major U.S. cities in which public transit systems will not accept M-rated game ads. Miami also yanked its GTA IV ads after now-disbarred attorney Jack Thompson raised a stink.

GP: Even though many M-rated games are fantastic examples of the creative arts, the transit agencies are essentially equating such games with smut. The industry needs to stand up for itself on this issue. Take-Two was right to sue the CTA over its GTA IV case, but the larger ban on M-rated games in general needs to be addressed by the ESA.

42 comments

Locked Up, Key Thrown Away for GTA "Teen Sex Fiend"

November 6, 2008 -

The Daily Mail reports that 19-year-old Ryan Chinnery (displaying bling at left) has been sentenced to an indefinite period of incarceration after pleading guilty to a series of sexual assaults in Kent. GamePolitics previously covered the start of Chinnery's trial in September.

As it does so often these days, Grand Theft Auto gets the blame:

[Chinnery] prowled streets in his car targeting innocent women he thought were prostitutes - imitating scenes from the controversial [Grand Theft Auto] game in which a man drives around and attacks call girls...  Officers found a copy of the 18-certificate Grand Theft Auto during a swoop on the home Chinnery shared with his girlfriend - and he initially insisted to detectives that he had been playing on his computer at the time of the attacks.

Prosecutor Eleanor Laws told a jury last month how Chinnery's obsession with Grand Theft Auto, which has sold some 35million copies, 'may go some way to explaining his attitude towards women'. Miss Laws added: 'Prostitutes in it can be exposed to violence. There may be some connection with the defendant admitting spending a lot of time playing that game.'

The judge, on the other hand, seemed to relate Chinnery's crimes to an obsession with porn, but did give GTA a mention. The Kentish Express reports:

Judge Philip Statman said: "What most troubles me is the mirror conduct between pornography and that which he later does. It is as if spurring on comes from the pornographic material.

"I know part of this case referred to something called Grand Theft Auto. While it appears the defendant does not accept it influenced his conduct on that particular evening, it could not have helped him, I would have thought, in all the circumstances of the case."

 
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Andrew EisenMarvel on the leaked Avengers 2 trailer: https://twitter.com/Marvel/status/52507165630662656010/22/2014 - 8:09pm
E. Zachary KnightI squeed like a little girl when I watched the leaked Avengers Age of Ultron trailer. So much awesome.10/22/2014 - 6:47pm
quiknkoldI have a problem with games that use a digit for sequals when clearly they can be called something else. Five Nights at Freddy's 2? Nonono. Its "Another Five Nights at Freddy's" or "Five Nights Week 2"10/22/2014 - 5:30pm
E. Zachary KnightExtra Credits has come out against GamerGate. https://www.facebook.com/ExtraCredits/posts/86104175727438610/22/2014 - 5:28pm
E. Zachary Knightis it really that hard to answer a question, that to me seems fairly straight forward? I ask, because I have asked a specific question now 3 times without an actual answer in the wastebook thread.10/22/2014 - 5:20pm
Andrew EisenFive Nights at Freddy's 2! Yay! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVPONdZBh6s10/22/2014 - 5:07pm
Matthew Wilsonyou guys know he doesnt work for ea anymore?10/22/2014 - 5:02pm
WymorenceYou forgot having to open Unity through Origin too. :p10/22/2014 - 4:37pm
MaskedPixelanteUnity will now be licensed out half finished, with remaining tools to be sold back to you for 10-15 dollars a piece.10/22/2014 - 3:23pm
E. Zachary KnightNot a big fan of this news, but Unity3D's CEO is stepping down and John Riccitiello steps up. http://gamasutra.com/view/news/228384/Helgason_steps_down_as_Unity_CEO_and_John_Riccitiello_steps_up.php10/22/2014 - 3:06pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's probably extremism.10/22/2014 - 12:07pm
Matthew Wilsonthat being said, they are more likely to blame religious extremists than games.10/22/2014 - 12:01pm
Matthew Wilsonlets just hope they dont try to blame video games.10/22/2014 - 12:00pm
MaskedPixelanteOh joy, Ottawa's on lockdown, this is going to be a fun couple of days...10/22/2014 - 11:56am
MaskedPixelanteAnyone have any good text replacement scripts? I want one that can censor out Breitbart links.10/22/2014 - 11:35am
james_fudgeMilo and I are not BFFs. I tried, man!10/22/2014 - 11:33am
ZippyDSMleequiknkold:you too eh? 0-o10/22/2014 - 10:23am
Michael ChandraI don't like bullying anymore than you do, and yes, I think you're petty. Not commenting on the sob part, because I don't know your mother and don't see why I'd insult her.10/22/2014 - 10:02am
quiknkoldif that makes me petty, then I guess I'm one petty sob10/22/2014 - 8:48am
quiknkoldwell I'm sorry Conster, Having my skull smashed in when I was 14 made me skeptical to apologies when it comes to Bullying regardless of the platform its given. I guess Bullies beat the sympathy out of me.10/22/2014 - 8:47am
 

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