'Grand Theft Auto V' launches amid high reviews, fan anticipation
Published Tuesday, September 17, 2013 1:54PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 18, 2013 6:20AM EDT
The highly-anticipated Grand Theft Auto V, the fifth installment the mega-popular video game series, came out Tuesday to the delight of its many fans.
Eager gamers lined up overnight to be the first to snap up a copy of the game, which some stores started selling at 12:01 a.m. GTA V, which is rumoured to have cost $265 million to produce and promote, is predicted by some analysts to bring in $1 billion in sales.
Trailers for GTA V show that the game features more of the same criminal pursuits by its protagonists including car theft, robberies and shootouts, this time set in the fictional city of Los Santos.
But the success of the violent, crime-filled series has not been without controversy. From its initial release to sex-filled secret mini-games, here's a look at a few of the controversies surrounding the GTA series:
- PR ploy: Right from its initial 1997 release, GTA was condemned for its depictions of violence. In the U.K. the game was released amid a number of high-profile stories in the country's tabloid newspapers. It was later revealed in a Sunday Times interview that much of the outcry over the game was highly planned by publicist Max Clifford in a bid to get the most media coverage and increase sales.
- Lawsuits: Former U.S. attorney Jack Thompson has been a vocal critic against the GTA series. Thompson has represented a number of families of murder victims in lawsuits against the makers of the series, alleging that the game influenced the killers. In one case, Thompson argued that GTA's graphic depictions of violence influenced teenager Devin Moore when he shot and killed two Alabama police officers and a dispatcher in 2003.
- Prostitutes: A feature in GTA III allowed players to hire prostitutes for sex, meet with them in the backseats of cars and emerge with increased health. Critics were further incensed after it was discovered that players could later track down the same prostitute, beat them up and get back their money.
- "Hot Coffee Mod": In 2004's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a special modification allowed players to play a mini-game where the protagonist has virtual sex with his girlfriend. While the mini-game was only accessible to players who could hack the game's code, instructions quickly spread online. The game was re-rated as "Adults Only" following the outrage.
- Drunk driving: Mothers Against Drunk Driving took aim at GTA IV because players were able to virtually drink and drive. MADD said it was "extremely disappointed" by the feature and called on the Entertainment Software Rating Board to change the game's rating from "Mature" to "Adults Only." In a later version of the game, players can still drink and drive, but the action is considered a crime.
But all the controversy surrounding the series likely won't stop fans from buying GTA V, which starts at $60 and carries a "Mature" rating.
One gamer told CTV BC that part of the game's appeal is that its vices take place in an imaginary world.
"It's incredibly fun for all the wrong reasons," he said as he waited in line Monday night. "I suppose what makes it fun is because it's imagination."
It's estimated that the entire Grand Theft Auto franchise has sold more than 125 million units.