Fake GTA Story Results in Damages

If you haven’t heard about this one yet, oh boy.

It seems that The Daily Star (a London-based tabloid) published a story stating that Rockstar was developing a Grand Theft Auto title based on the shooting spree and manhunt in northeast England earlier this year. This game was supposedly going to be titled “Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury.”

Kotaku reports that the story spawned from a photoshopped parody cover found on the web. Rather than spot this for the internet fakery it obviously is (seriously, that is a horrible looking game cover), The Daily Star took this as confirmation that the game was in the works, and didn’t even bother contacting Rockstar for comment or confirmation.

That sounds crazy right? Well, if you want crazy, look no further than the official statement from The Daily Star:

“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.”

Kudos to Rockstar on two points. First, they acted swiftly to keep this nonsense from going any further than it did. Second, they’re donating the money gained in damages to charity. With any luck, the The Daily Star folks will learn a little something about class from this incident.

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