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Old News - December 2003 Contents


Friday - December 19, 2003   <9:30 PM CST>


Take2 Reports Financial Results   <9:30 PM CST - schu>
Take2, owner and operator of Rockstar Games, recently reported their financial results and their plan for the upcoming year.  This plan lists all of the releases expected in the coming year which should immediately make it obvious as to why I even mentioned this.  There really aren't too many revelations in this year's report with the exception of Manhunt PC and Red Dead Revolver.  From what I've read, RDR was a Capcom game that Rockstar acquired when they brought Angel Studio's on board.  It also reconfirms that the next installment of GTA is expected in the fourth quarter of 2004, which basically translates to October 2004.  Here is a listing of Rockstar releases in the coming year:

  • Red Dead Revolver (PS2, Xbox) - Q2 2004
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2, PC in Japan) - March 2004
  • The Warriors - Q2 2004
  • Grand Theft Auto sequel (PS2) - Q4 2004
  • Manhunt (Xbox, PC) - 2004
  • Grand Theft Auto (GBA) - 2004

You can find out more about Take2's status and you can listen to the conference call on their Investor Relations page.

Vote R*   <9:30 PM CST - schu>
IGN is conducting their year end Readers' Vote and a few Rockstar titles have been nominated for numerous awards on various platforms:

PC (Vice City)

PS2 (Manhunt)

XBox (GTA Double Pack / Max Payne 2 / Manhunt)

There may be more, but the XBox links are all screwed up so you might want to check back later.

NZ Bans Manhunt   <9:30 PM CST - schu>
New Zealand's Office of Film and Literature Classification recently announced that they are banning Manhunt from being sold in New Zealand.  I find it funny that they monitor both films and video games and don't have any problems with violent movies, just violent games.  Just another case of uninformed government officials who place video games on the same level as Tickle Me Elmo.  Thanks to Adam.

New GTA Sites   <9:30 PM CST - schu>

  <9:30 PM CST - schu>

  • Amid Take2's incredible financial results is a potential kink in their quest for financial Nirvana.  The New York Times is reporting that the S.E.C. has filed a lawsuit against Take2 for some it's past accounting procedures.  More on this at the New York Times.  Thanks to Rev Ted.
  • A Scottish game designer is claiming that DMA stole his idea for GTA back in 1993 when he applied for a job at DMA Design, now known as Rockstar North.  I'm just wondering why it took the guy so long to file a lawsuit.  More on the situation at BBC News.  Thanks to chrizbo and Parwez Ali®.
  • AfterMathMusic.com is reporting that Eminem may make an appearance in the next GTA and that the new game will make use of the PS2 HDD.  So why is this bit of news way at the bottom?  Let's just say I when I think of reliable gaming news sites I don't include AfterMathMusic.com in that list.  They offer no source for their comments, so until something more solid comes along I'm going to put this in the ever growing pile of rumors.  Thanks to Makaveli.


Tuesday - December 16, 2003   <11:30 PM CST>


Announcements   <11:30 PM CST - schu>

  • The latest installment of Biz Buzz on GameSpy addresses a few of the latest R* controversies, including Manhunt's grade on The National Institute on Media and the Family's annual report card.  The article also touches on the Haitian controversy as does this new article on EuroGamer.  Mugwum brings up a lot of good points and it's definitely worth a read.
  • The Sun-Sentinal is reporting that retailers in Florida will not pull Vice City off the shelves, despite the outcry from the Haitian community.  I find this amazing, because I was convinced that Wal-Mart had lost its balls years ago but apparently I was wrong, either that or greed overrules a lack of testicles.  Regardless, it's nice to see that Blockbuster, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and other retailers realize how much bullshit this protest is.  Rockstar has agreed to remove the content that is annoying these groups but now they are on a roll, they have some press coverage, and so they have decided to continue fighting for ridiculous concessions that no sane company would even bother to think about complying with.  Has anyone bothered to actually explain why the "Kill all the Haitians" line is in there in the first place?  It might take all of one sentence to explain its context in the game but I guess most journalists would rather copy the work of others instead of actually RESEARCHING something.
  • Chris Robbins sent in a link to the BBC's coverage of some of the latest violent video game titles which also includes a few bits about Manhunt.  Apparently they aren't huge fans :) ...


Wednesday - December 10, 2003   <11:30 PM CST>


R* News   <11:30 PM CST - schu>

  • XBox Double Pack In Europe
    Rockstar confirmed that the European release date for the XBox double pack has been set for January 2nd.  More on Gamespot.
  • Max Payne Headed to the GBA
    Rockstar has announced plans to release Max Payne on the GameBoy Advance.  In fact it's due out next week according to EuroGamer.  Check Eurogamer for the full story along with some new screenshots.
  • Max Payne 2 In Stores
    Max Payne 2 is now in stores for XBox and PS2.

GTA Gets Chappelle?   <11:30 PM CST - schu>
Terminatrekker spotted an interesting bit of news on page 26 of the January issue of GMR.  GMR is reporting that Dave Chappelle is rumored to be one of the voice actors for GTA Next.  Dave Chappelle is a big GTA fan and did a great GTA spoof on Chappelle's Show awhile back, so there may be something to this rumor.

Announcements & Editorials   <11:30 PM CST - schu>

  • The Vice City / Haitian debacle continues and now after the NYC Mayor threatened legal action, Take2 and Rockstar released a public apology and promised to make some minor changes to all future copies of Vice City.  You know, I don't recall anyone demanding that Scarface be censored because the main character/druglord was Cuban, so why the fuck is there such an uproar over this?  Why is it that game developers aren't allowed to exercise their right to free speech like filmmakers are?  The main gripe is over the title of a single mission entitled, "Kill all the Haitians!".  He is in the middle of a fucking gang war with the Haitians, what the hell else should the title of the mission be???  "Use your diplomatic skills to create a peace treaty with the Haitians over coffee and doughnuts"?  This is Vice City, a game about crime and corruption, it is not about sending Tommy Vercetti to sensitivity training so he can unite Vice City by hugging all of his enemies under a rainbow.  Thanks to JCronic for the link.
  • Casey sent in a transcript of a letter he sent to CBS in response to a "Shame On You" segment they did about Vice City.  Here is the transcript of his correspondence with CBS:

    At the very beginning of this Haitian controversy thing, CBS did a Shame on You segment about GTA:VC. The piece was so skewed that it basically made our beloved game seem like it was Deer Hunter with Haitians in replace of deer. So after that atrocity of a news report, I sent Arnold Diaz the following letter:

    Shame on you indeed....for your so called 'research' on the Rockstar story. You people managed to take an incredibly complex game and narrow it down to make it concentrate on one single group of people. What you showed on your program was a part of the game called a "Kill Frenzy." (Uh oh, you should do a show about that alone right!?) The 'killing of Haitians', or any other group in the game, is merely a side mission that has various other offshoots as well, such as blow up a number of cars in a certain amount of time. But your crack reporting staff must have overlooked that. You also completely overlooked Grand Theft Auto 3. Remember that game? You people were all over that game when it came out, and it was MORE harsh toward different races. Singling out Italians in the mafia, Asian Triads, Cuban gang members, and making more obvious and blatant stereotypical references.

    Vice City has been out for a YEAR. You just decided to report on it now? Was it a slow day for REAL things? And wait a minute, i just mentioned Cubans. Funny, Cubans and Haitians, and the game OBVIOUSLY takes place in Miami. I guess Rockstar could have made the game concentrate on elderly Jewish citizens, but realized this a more marketable item. And back to Rockstar, they wont comment because they spent the last YEAR commenting about this. Every week someone was reporting about this game affecting children. Children! Its rated M, for mature!! Did we give up on parenting until something bothers us? This game is for adults. ADULTS. The same adults tactfully reporting on this game. I don't suppose anyone at your fine establishment of useful information has ever seen a slight flick called Scarface. Its got a no name actor in it named Al Pacino. I didn't think you would. Vice City almost MIRRORS Scarface, but you aren't yelling and screaming about Scarface being watched by children, are you? It SHOULD be easier for children to get that movie on DVD then to get this game. Its cheaper too.

    But i do have to commend the job you did, running into this reporting half cocked at full speed. You did an excellent job making it seem like an entire game focused on the killing of Haitians. I guess its ok in the game that we can run around killing whoever we please, but as soon as an ethnic group is introduced into play, sirens and alarms and buzzers go off in reporters offices to let them know they have a story for 15 minutes. But don't worry, there is a new Grand Theft Auto coming out in about a year, so you will have something to complain about then. Of course, you will wait a year, when the rest of the country is well-adjusted to the game, to show your classic CBS style of research to the world. Again, on behalf of everyone who plays or enjoys the Grand Theft Auto series, i would like to thank your reporting staff for actually making the game MORE popular, so more and more sequels are produced, thus making it so we never run out of entertainment; from both the video games, AND from your humorous style of reporting on them.

    To which he responded with this:

While I respect your differing opinion, I wonder if you'd feel the same if the dialogue was "kill that stinking next of Jews" or "kill all the blacks". Sorry, but I just can't buy into the culture of violence. But I realize that it's part of our culture and it's parents' responsibility to monitor what their kids are watching and playing. Perhaps, along with making the game more popular, my report will also put parents on notice about it's potentially objectionable content. Thank you for writing.

Arnold Diaz

The final contact was made by me, with this response:

Mr. Diaz, I greatly appreciate you getting back to me, if this is in fact you, and not a response generated with your name on the email. But you don't need to wonder how I would feel, because I am about to tell you. I wouldn't care. I am mix of Italian and Irish and a non-practicing Catholic. So lets see here, I guess I should be offended and upset about EVERY mafia movie or game. Especially the game called Mafia, a stereotypical mafia game. But then I should also be offended by all the Irish cops in the game that are killed. Or should I also be upset that white people are killed? There is no "culture of violence", that is something the media is trying to push on us. You all do realize that Grand Theft Auto has been around for years don't you? It was a very early game on Playstation..and there were SEVERAL versions of it. And your report SHOULD put parents on alert for this game, and it SHOULD make retailers card minors who try and purchase this game. But should you or I be restricted from purchasing this game? No. The game is rated 'M', as I started before. It is NOT for children. Perhaps parents should just wander over to the Playstation every now and then and see what games are sitting there. I think your reporting was completely unfair towards Rockstar gaming and anyone associated with them. You made it seem like all Haitian people should shun this game because of one statement that occurs once in the game. The only reason this is part of our culture is because it keeps being thrust into the mainstream over and over and over again. The game has a rating for a reason. Should you be restricted from seeing a movie because it offends people? That's why there are ratings, previews, and loads of information available all over for things that children should be aware of. If you are a parent sir, police your children and their activities, just like every parent should, and allow people who have every right to play the game, play it in peace

I figured some people who frequented GOURANGA!! would enjoy this letter, and hopefully encourage other people to not just sit back and let Rockstar take loads of crap.

  • This really has nothing to do with GTA, but I thought I'd mention that Interplay recently saw fit to drive the final nail into Fallout3's development by shutting down Black Isle Studios.  The only reason I mention it is because Fallout 1 & 2 were both incredible games and at the very least this news deserves some sort of mention.  More and more publishers are canning popular PC licenses so they can concentrate on releasing a lot of console games with less depth than a kiddie pool, leaving the PC gamers who supported them early on high and dry.  For that, I'd like to give a big middle finger to Interplay, whose shortsightedness and greed has lead to the downfall of a great game that not only sold well but also managed to be one of the best RPGs of all time.  For that and for putting a lot of people out of work a few weeks before Christmas, I'd like to say, Fuck You Interplay...

    Two other companies who recently passed on include Microprose, original publisher of XCom - another game that never got a modern day follow up even though it ranks up there as one of the best games of all time (its closest modern day counterpart is UFO Aftermath) and Muckyfoot, developer of Startopia, a great game with a Dungeon Keeper feel to it - unfortunately their publisher didn't see fit to give them a marketing budget over $10 and then blamed them for the sales.  Fucking awesome...


Thursday - December 4, 2003   <11:30 PM CST>


GameSpy's Gamer's Choice Awards   <11:30 PM CST - schu>
GameSpy is collecting votes for their annual Gamer's Choice Awards.  GTA VC appears on the XBox, PC Action, and PC Overall voting pages.

R* News   <11:30 PM CST - schu>

  • MaxPayne 2 Ships on PS2
    I think the headline pretty much speaks for itself, but if not...  read this...
  • Take2 Takes TDK
    Take2, Rockstar's parent company, recently acquired TDK Mediactive to further diversify their product lineup.  It doesn't really effect GTA directly, but the better Take2 fares financially, the better off Rockstar is, and the better off GTA is.
  • Rockstar & Rephlex
    Rephlex will be releasing a new budget CD with a bunch of Manhunt remixes, check this thread for more info.  Thanks to virgin pusher.

Manhunt / GTA Crossover   <11:30 PM CST - schu>
BeavFlyer sent in a few GTA easter eggs found in Manhunt.  The second easter egg may contain a spoiler if you haven't finshed Manhunt yet:

  • In the Director's mansion, if you look at some of the paintings in the main staircase, they're straight from Vice City
  • We already know that Carcer City is mentioned in GTA3, but after beating Manhunt, the reporter talks about how Police Chief Gary Shaffer may be involved. Maybe these are the corruption charges talked about on the radio in GTA3?

Announcements   <11:30 PM CST - schu>

  • I watched about 30 seconds of SpikeTVs VGA's, and that's about all I could handle.  To say it sucked the sh*t out collective ass of humanity would be an understatement.. but, that's just my opinion.. well actually it's a fact..
  • Apparently some Haitian Americans are protesting Vice City trying to claim portions of it are racist and may qualify as a hate crime.  I'm not sure really what to say about this so I won't waste any more time on it.  Thanks to JCronic for the news.