The renaissance enjoyed by the Grand Theft Auto series means the game is without question the new darling of the games industry. As well as sales figures beyond the wildest dreams of any analyst, it re-ignited the mission-based driving genre, spawning a incalculable amount of copycat games.
However, the theme of the games and the gratuitous nature in which they are portrayed was always bound to cause more trouble than the odd parental raised eyebrow.
And today it has been revealed that Take 2 Interactive is being sued in the US by the family of a homicide victim.
Following the high-profile unprovoked murder of a man at the wheel of his car by two boys aged just 14 and 16, the deceased man’s family have filed a suit against Rockstar claiming that Grand Theft Auto was the “inspiration” for the shooting spree, which left one man dead and many others injured.
Speaking to press, the lawyer of dead man’s family said, “The industry needs to cough up money so victims and their families can be compensated for their pain. The shareholders need to know what their games are doing to kids and their families. They need to stop pushing adult-rated products to kids. These products are deadly.”
And indeed, this may well be the first such lawsuit that is won outright by the plaintiff. Both boys when questioned by the police stated on record that they were emulating GTA.
The American videogame regulator ESRB made the following statement: “Parents are present at - and involved in - the purchase or rental of games 83% of the time, according to a September 2000 Federal Trade Commission report,” hinting that the defence of Take 2 will focus on putting the majority of the responsibility of monitoring game content on the parents.
However, given the game was named outright by both teenage murderers, this will undoubtedly be the closest such case in history.
We’ll bring you updates as they break.