British tabloid The Daily Star has lost a court case against Rockstar games, and has been forced to pay Rockstar an undisclosed, but substantial sum for libel.
At issue: A July story (since pulled) in which The Star claimed Rockstar was planning to release a game in the Grand Theft Auto series called "Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury" about the murders of British killer Raoul Moat. The Star went as far as soliciting comment from a relative of one of Moat's victims about the game.
The problem with the story is that it's entirely false, and seems to be based on nothing more than a poorly done photoshop that appeared on the internet. Check it out above (I blacked out the image in the top right for gore.), and consider for a moment that a journalist at the Star saw that image and believed it was the cover a new video game. Sure, the proper journalistic thing to do would have been to contact Rockstar to get comment before running the story, but the Star could have avoided even that, basic step with some simple common sense: Anyone should be able to immediately see that the photo above is not a game cover. Besides, questions of taste aside, "Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury" is the worst idea for a game ever.
"The defendant now accepts that Rockstar Games never had any intention to create such a video game at any time. The story was entirely false," said Rockstar's lawyer, Melanie Hart.
In an apology printed by the Star in July, the paper said:
"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."
As always, the video games that opponents of gaming create in their minds are much more horrible than anything the game industry actually creates.