Controversy and Grand Theft Auto have been a tabloid celebrity couple since the first game launched in 1997, but that’s all according to plan – the original series creators Dave Jones and Mike Dailly have admitted that the shock and scandal were deliberately manufactured as part of their marketing strategy.
“Max Clifford made it all happen,” said Dailly. “He designed all the outcry, which pretty much guaranteed [members of Parliament] would get involved… He’d do anything to keep the profile high.”
The series has featured prominently on the Moral Panic-O-Meter with every release, including several high-profile attempts by American lawyer Jack Thompson to sue GTA publisher Rockstar on behalf of the families of murder victims. The series also holds a Guinness World Record for the most controversial video game series ever, with more than 4000 articles alleging that it’s responsible for glamorising violence and corrupting the innocent, innocent children who aren’t supposed to be playing it anyway because it’s rated for adults.
Not that the controversy has defined the game itself, as Jones was quick to clarify.
“He told us how he would play it, who he would target, what those people targeted would say. Every word he said came true. We knew why every decision was made, and we were never, ever influenced by ‘let’s do something to create a bit of controversy’,” added Jones.
“We always did everything from the perspective of what’s going to be the most fun. It just naturally kept pushing us down the darker direction.”
So is the next big GTA controversy about the GTA controversy? YOU DECIDE.