Every day for the last 7 days, we’ve brought you a little slice of Grand Theft Auto history and controversy as we count down to the launch of Grand Theft Auto V. Now, just hours a way from launch, the time has come to put down the keyboard and return to the control pad. In the coming days, Twinstick Gaming will bring you our first impressions, followed by our full, analytical review. If you are spending the coming days playing the game, come back and tell us what you think. If you’re not yet getting the game, by all means come back and find out what we think, we promise to keep it spoiler free! So, without further ado, we bring you the conclusion to ‘Countdown to GTA V: Courting Controversy’. Thanks for counting down with us.
Here it is, the concluding part of our journey through the Grand Theft Auto series, the controversy, the debate, the anguish, the misunderstandings and the occasional shot in the direction of one’s own foot. We’ve had violence, swearing, prostitution, accusations of racism (and inciting genocide), Hilary Clinton deriding the series for eroding family values and a smattering of full-frontal male nudity. It has been quite the journey and it all ends here.
As we referred to in yesterday’s article (Part 6, check it out here if you missed it), each new iteration of the Grand Theft Auto saga seems to push the boundaries just a little further, as though to make the previous GTA title a little rosier by comparison. Violence and theft in the first games was superseded by the hooker bashing of GTA III, which was superseded by racism and sexual mini-games in the next two games. Finally, those issues were ousted by the mixture of intoxication behind the wheel, being branded a ‘murder simulator’, and shocking the world by showing a digital, polygon based penis flapping about in GTA IV and Lost and Damned DLC.
So what’s next for the company that brought you Grand Theft Auto’s concoction of controversy? Well in a little over 6 hours from time of writing, the world will be primed to play Grand Theft Auto V and with it a whole new batch of contentious issues and critical debates.
Even the briefest look at the ESRB rating for Grand Theft Atuo V promises to raise the bar again. Just taking a few choice quotes from the rating summary give a blurry outline of a wild ride through Los Santos:
Players use pistols, machine guns, sniper rifles, and explosives to kill various enemies (e.g., rival gang members).”
So far, so Grand Theft Auto!
Blood-splatter effects occur frequently, and the game contains rare depictions of dismemberment.”
Ok, we’re amping it up a little. Dismemberment is relatively new (and let’s not forget, in EU territories games such as The Last of Us were censored to remove such actions.)
players are directed to use various instruments and means to extract information from a character.”
Player controlled torture is definitely new. This won’t sit well with many players, critics or media outlets. Expect backlash of somekind.
Nudity is present […] that includes male cult members with exposed genitalia in a non-sexual context.
Sounds like Rockstar are taking the approach of ‘What can make brief male nudity in the previous game seem more innocuous?’ Answer, ‘Lot’s of male nudity in the sequel!’ It makes sense in a twisted sort of way. No-one will be talking about The Lost and Damned anymore, that’s for sure!
a brief instance of necrophilia.”
Bingo! There we have it. The thing that will cause everyone to lose their minds! The most controversial thing to be included in a GTA game – or ANY game from Rockstar for that matter – since the series began! This is the one that will be hitting head lines nationwide, ney, globally! Could anything be more of a incendiary topic than necrophilia?
Well, it turns out yes. But it’s not what you might think. Apparently, the topic that is ALREADY causing distress across the pond is this final little gem:
Some sequences within the larger game allow players to use narcotics (e.g., smoking from a bong, lighting a marijuana joint)”
That’s right. Lighting a joint, passing the dutchie, sparking an owl. Whatever you want to call it, apparently THAT is the talking point in America. Despite wide spread class A drug use in the nation, despite class A drug use in the GTA series in general, despite ‘a brief instance of necrophilia’ in THIS very game!? Marijuana use is the thing people are going ‘bat-shit crazy’ over. It seems bizarre that a substance that has been down graded in the past, is used medicinally already and is categorically proven to be better than other controlled substances (alcohol and tobacco) for you would become the hot, contentious topic. But there you have it.
The coming days, weeks and months will tell us all we need to know about the controversial side of Grand Theft Auto V. The papers will tell us what they want us to know, but we’d rather hear from you, the people playing it! We’ll be certain to share our thoughts.
With only a few hours to fill before launch, why not take a minute to enter our competition? It closes at midnight tonight, just as the tills open to ring in the first few copies of the game! Click the link below and follow the brief instructions to enter!
Richard is a father, teacher, gamer and writer. He believes that The Last of Us and Olli Olli 2 are the finest games ever made, feels that the StarWars Saga should only be watched in ‘the Machete order’ and once cleared Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in one sitting. Took him 20 hours, four cups of tea and a sausage roll. You can follow him on twitter @TLOUFactionsMP or @VigilanteSanta and view his occasional twitch outbursts on twitch.tv/spooklebeans.