Monday, July 23

Rockstar for the win

i was reminded why Rockstar is my favorite video game developer this weekend when i read not one but TWO great news items regarding 2 upcoming releases, Manhunt 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV.

first there was a lot more info released in a German video game magazine regarding the new GTA IV. what's got me most excited? the people that wrote the magazine said that the city feels ALIVE:

"The streets and sidewalks are populated, people talk on their cellphones, smoke, entertain each other, make pictures etc etc. The Hot Dog vendor tries to get Niko to come to his stand by shouting at him."

i'm so sick of games that have huge cities that are devoid of life (Spider-Man 3, Rogue Galaxy) or there's people but they do either nothing or walk the same predetermined path (Saint's Row, Final Fantasy XII).

this, in addition to all the other cool info that came out of the article, is why i think that GTA IV will be my pick for game of the year - and that's saying something this holiday season, with all the AAA games coming out.

ok, so GTA is set to rock, and then Rockstar followed up with a knockout punch by responding to a story someone wrote about how giving their Manhunt 2 game an Adults Only rating was a GOOD thing. and the thing rocks so much i'm just going to repost it here:

Dear Mr. Fahey,

We are responding to the article Sick Filth?, in which you expressed support for the ban of Manhunt 2.

Although censorship makes you "deeply uncomfortable" and you found the ban’s rationale "a less comfortable topic", you agreed with the judgment of the British Board of Film Classification that no one - regardless of age or personal opinion - should be allowed to consider playing Manhunt 2.

We are still exploring our options for Manhunt 2, but how does banning our game support the industry or further the development of the medium? Unlike a heavy-handed editor or a critical review of a game, a ban is punishment for deviating from tradition.

A ban denies everyone the chance to consider, experience, or discuss the actual game. The only obvious victor is the status quo.

You seem to view banning Manhunt 2 as a way to protect the industry from scrutiny and unfair attacks. In fact, a ban is a triumph for the industry’s harshest critics, not an act of diplomacy.

A ban is only likely to encourage those who believe video games, already the most regulated medium in entertainment history, should be further restricted.

What about games make them deserve special treatment from the authorities? According to industry groups, the average games player is in his or her 30s, yet you support the widely held view that games are somehow a less sophisticated medium than cinema, only suitable for immature audiences.

In other words, although gamers can negotiate the boundaries between reality and fiction in other media, you believe we are incapable of navigating the same boundaries in videogames.

Yes, we have responsibilities as an industry, but as a creative industry, not as a pharmaceutical or weapons industry. Creative industries have always faced harsh political and legal criticism, and we know some of the movie industry’s more reactionary responses to scrutiny actually backfired.

We believe in a well-run ratings system. With the best rating system in history and the future of the industry and medium at stake, we don’t understand why it is necessary to effectively ban all games intended for players 18 and older.


Rockstar Games

wow, what a well-written, clear, concise argument. and it came from a video game developer?!? but i thought video games were just for kids!

kudos Rockstar. i'm behind you 100%.

- kawitchate

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