Earlier this week The Daily Star made the obviously false (to anyone acquainted with the games industry, photoshop mock-ups, or basic fact checking skills) claim that Rockstar Games would be basing their next Grand Theft Auto game on a recent real life British man who “shot three people, killing one, and was on the run from the police for six days before a standoff with the police in which [he] shot and killed himself.” Based simply on a obviously photoshopped image (above) that they claimed was appearing on game sites, they even went so far as to interview the grandmother of one of the victims on her response to Rockstar’s non-decision.
Well, Rockstar’s lawyers been more than earning their keep, as today The Daily Star has issued an incredibly complete and humble apology to the game maker.
Just a bit of it:
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.
Well, good for The Daily Star for unreservedly admitting that they published a really awful allegation without any follow up on whether it was true or not, I guess.
On a related note, here’s the response of the journalist who wrote the initial article, and solicited a response from the grieving grandmother, to the games industry backlash against his piece, the day it was published:
“Baffled by the fury of adult gamers,” writes Lawton. “These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who’ve today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story slamming a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto! You would think I’d denied the Holocaust!!! Think I’ll challenge them to a virtual reality duel….stab….I win!!!”
I’m sure he still feels the same way now, what with his employer paying a “substantial amount in damages” because he didn’t do his job.
(via Rock, Paper, Shotgun.)