British Tab's Bogus GTA Story Brings Bigtime Apology — And Damages

The idea that Rockstar Games was making "Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury" - whether or not a ghastly crime was committed there - was so sensationally ridiculous that when The Daily Star alleged such a plan, I ignored it. Rockstar didn't.

The studio has now extracted a remarkable apology from the U.K. tabloid, which last week spotted some kind of parody Photoshop on the web (pictured) and took that for confirmation that the games maker was capitalising on the notoriety of a shooting spree and manhunt in northeast England earlier this year. Worse, the paper went and contacted victims of that crime for comment, representing as fact Rockstar's plans to make such a game - but made no attempt to get a statement from the studio before publishing.

Rockstar went on a counteroffensive, and The Daily Star today published a self-flagellating retraction and has promised "a substantial amount in damages" will be paid to Rockstar, to be donated to charity.

Here is The Star, served a banquet of crow:

ON 21 July we published an article claiming that the video games company Rockstar Games were planning to release a version of their popular Grand Theft Auto video games series titled "Grand Theft Auto Rothbury".

We also published what we claimed would be the cover of this game, solicited comments from a family member impacted by the recent tragedy and criticised Rockstar Games for their alleged plans.

We made no attempt to check the accuracy of the story before publication and did not contact Rockstar Games prior to publishing the story. We also did not question why a best selling and critically acclaimed fictional games series would choose to base one of their most popular games on this horrifying real crime event.

It is now accepted that there were never any plans by Rockstar Games to publish such a game and that the story was false. We apologise for publishing the story using a mock-up of the game cover, our own comments on the matter and soliciting critical comments from a grieving family member.

We unreservedly apologise to Rockstar Games and we have undertaken not to repeat the claims again. We have also agreed to pay them a substantial amount in damages which they are donating to charity.

It's staggeringly idiotic that any person - much less a news reporter or editor - would lack even the thimbleful of scepticism necessary to see this begins with an Internet fake. I have no idea what the penalty is but I hope it is painfully large. And participating in the writing, reporting, editing and publishing of this story - even at The Sun - should be a firing offence.

Rockstar Games - Grand Theft Auto - An Apology [The Sun via Rock Paper Shotgun]


Comments

    So idiotic words fail to describe.

      not only should they compensate Rockstar, but they had better damn well compensate the victims of that crime for causeing more undue stress.

    Writer and Editor should be fired. From a cannon. Into the sun.
    (Sol, not the newspaper.)

    The fact that someone genuinely thought Blizz would make a GTA based in what I'm sure is some sleepy English town is mind-boggling. The photo-shop is downright awful.

    The fake GTA: Cronulla shop would have been more feasible.

    Does anyone even check if the info is right... seriously.

    Had a newspaper do a write up of an incedent in my store, they got info wrong and didn't contact me once to get my opinion or a quote from me.

    As an apology, they did a write up on my store for some free advertisment, I checked the paper in the morning to see the write up and you'll never guess what they did.
    They used my picture and everything as they came to my store to interview me and stuff, but they advertised a different store on the other side of town with a different shop name....

    They can be so thick at times.

    come on guys, what do you actually expect from the media. they are all bottom feeders

      You... you realise Kotaku is part of the media, right?

    I hate Rockstar and this business should shut down! Perverting and disgusting games I had ever seen. GROSS!

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