Rockstar has announced a Bungie-esque leaderboard website called the Rockstar Games Social Club, set to launch alongside Grand Theft Auto IV on April 29. The site is compatible with Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, so players on both platforms will be able to track the virtual crimes they commit.
The first player to complete 100% of the single-player game will be immortalized, and the rest of you will have to be content competing for the fastest completion of the game or dominance of other, lesser statistics such as total miles walked.
Pre-registration starts on April 17, full press release after the jump.
The hour is upon us… well not quite, but at least we know the date when the hour will be upon us. That’s right people: Grand Theft Auto IV had been dated to be released April 29th. The reason the game is taking so long is all thanks to the PS3, as Rockstar’s Jeronimo Barrera pointed out in an MTV interview:
“It’s really no surprise to anybody that the PS3 was definitely a contributing factor to [the delay].”
Thankfully now the progress on both systems are “neck and neck”, and the experience on 360 and PS3 has been quoted as “identical”.
Rockstar has released the third trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV, called “Move up, Ladies” - although before you hit play, those of you who have an Xbox 360 should jump on Xbox Live and grab the high quality version.
Rockstar have settled the class action suit they were facing over the Hot Coffee mod. The result is that if you can prove you bought the game before July 20th 2005, Rockstar owes you US$35 or a new copy of the game. Rockstar and Take-Two estimates that this will cost them $1.025 million. Interestingly, they believe that had they kept going they could have won the trial, as Ben Feder, Chief Executive Officer of Take-Two said:
“If the case had continued, we believe the court would have agreed that Take-Two was not liable for consumers acting independently to modify their games with third-party hardware and software to access normally inaccessible content. Nonetheless, we believe it is in the best interest of the Company to avoid protracted and costly litigation to prove our case and to finally put this matter behind us.”
Reminds me of a spoiled child, but what’s a few hundred thousand in legal fees to a million in payouts? Yep, makes absolutely no sense.
Manhunt 2 has put Rockstar in more hot water, this time from The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Mike Fitzpatrick, executive director of NAMI issued a statement regarding the portrayal of people with a mental illness in the game. In the statement Fitzpatrick asks Rockstar to modify or recall the game:
Even though some people may consider Manhunt 2 to be only a game, it unfortunately perpetuates and reinforces cruel, inaccurate perceptions that people who live with mental illnesses are violent. The U.S. Surgeon General has condemned such stigmatization, identifying fear of stigma as a major barrier to people getting help when they need it. The overall contribution of mental illnesses to violence in society is exceptionally small. In fact, people living with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of violence.
You’ve gotta love a good bit of drama and that’s exactly what we are still getting from the Rockstar/EA tiff. It seems the developers of The Simpsons game at EA are still very much bitter, as came to the fore in their appearance on Game Head. Here is Executive producer, Matt Selman‘s take on the events:
The game begins with Bart wanting to play a game called Grand Theft Scratchy. Of course this is a parody of Grand Theft Auto. And Marge immediately takes it away from him. She tries to clean up the town and stop the game from being distributed in Springfield because Marge is against video game violence. She uses horrific violence to stop video game violence… in a video game. Thats called irony… The people who make Grand Theft Auto, they spazzed out like little babies.
Rockstar has released Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis for the Wii. The game first released for the Xbox 360 seems such a perfect fit for the Wii it’s surprising it wasn’t released sooner. GamePro Magazine said:
“There is so much depth and skill involved in Table Tennis on the Wii that this version stands up to any tennis game out on any system, period.”
It’s times like these that Wii owners will thank Nintendo for their attention to the flying Wiimote problem. The game is in stores now for a low $39.99.
Remember that kid in your class that constantly hung shit on everyone, then had a major sook when they got it back? Apparently they work for Rockstar Games these days.
What gives us that idea, you ask? Well, Rockstar Games have taken offense to the parody of Grand Theft Auto set to appear in Electronic Arts’ upcoming The Simpsons Game. According to lead designer Greg Rizzer, they had to remove elements of the level in question:
I was always under the impression that when you do parody, it’s a sign of respect… If we make fun of Grand Theft Auto, we’re not going to hurt the sales of Grand Theft Auto… But yeah, we’ve definitely had some reactions - we’ve had to pull stuff from the game.
He then went on to explain how this contrasts to the owners of other franchises parodied in The Simpsons Game:
I don’t know if you’ve seen Sitar Hero? We did Apu playing this 60-button controller and songs like Pour Some Curry On Me - we made this wonderful parody poster and the guys from Harmonix loved it and we sent them 20 copies of the poster. They just loved it so much.
California Senator Leland Yee wants the ESRB to be a little more transparent about what was cut from Manhunt 2 to warrant the drop from an Adults Only rating to Mature:
Parents can’t trust a rating system that doesn’t even disclose how they come to a particular rating. The ESRB and Rockstar should end this game of secrecy by immediately unveiling what content has been changed to grant the new rating and what correspondence occurred between the ESRB and Rockstar to come to this conclusion. Unfortunately, history shows that we must be quite skeptical of these two entities.
Clearly the ESRB has a conflict of interest in rating these games. It is time to bring transparency to this rating system and for the industry to be held accountable. I join the [Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood] in urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the process by which Manhunt 2’s rating was downgraded from AO to M.
Michael Shorrock, director of 3rd Party relations at SCEA has announced that the next new franchise from Rockstar games will be exclusive to the PlayStation 3. Although Sony has made an agreement with Rockstar to say no more concerning the deal nor the title involved, they have mentioned it’s definitely not going to be La Noire.