GTA IV Creator: Scotland Ignores Us

May 2, 2008 -
Grand Theft Auto IV developer Rockstar North may be one of the most successful high tech firms in Scotland, but company president Leslie Benzies laments a perceived lack of respect by government officials.

As reported by the Times:
Rockstar North is to video games what JK Rowling is to literature but few, particularly in government, are prepared to acknowledge this. It seems odd that politicians committed to “a smart, successful Scotland” haven't come knocking at Benzies's door.

Of the apparent official shunning, Benzies says:
We'd love to help if we have time. But there are a number of agencies which actively seem to cut us out. There is this weird thing where people think Scotland is so innovative, but if you do anything truly innovative, you get beaten down... This is our home. I love Scotland. I like the people...

We've had such a beating over the past three years - by the American government, the British government, the Daily Mail...

Via: CVG

Comments

@Kerotan,
I'm comparing their popularity and selling. Nothing else.

Captain Sensible Says:
"While I have great respect and love for Rockstar, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that they are the same to video games as JK Rowling is to literature - especially if I was company president. "

I agree. J. K. Rowling is a hugely overrated hack. She's like the McDonalds of children's fantasy writers.

Oh emm gee.

While I have great respect and love for Rockstar, I wouldn't go as far as saying that they are the same to video games as JK Rowling is to literature - especially if I was company president.

sorry to add to my point, this reminds me of a certain music group in the 60's who claimed they were bigger than Jesus...

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptGrand Theft Auto IV developer Rockstar North may be one of the most successful high tech firms in Scotland, but company president Leslie Benzies laments a perceived lack of respect by government officials. As reported by the Times: Rockstar North is to video games what JK Rowling is to literature but few, particularly in government, are prepared to acknowledge this. It seems odd that politicians committed to “a smart, successful Scotland” haven’t come knocking at Benzies’s door. [...]

"We’ve had such a beating over the past three years - by the American government, the British government, the Daily Mail…"

Hehe, sounds like they're used to this sort of thing.

Sorry but JK Rowling is what to literature? Sorry but the impact of R* on the video game industry far exceeds that of Harry Potter on books. Other than that, being ignored by the government is about the best any game dev can hope for at the moment.

Gift.

@Gift

Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, take your pick - The way I read Benzies comments says to me that he feels that there wouldn't be a games industry without them.

That, or basically that they should be treated like gods.

@ Captain Sensible

Try reading the article. Benzies didn't say that, it was a comment by the interviewer. With that in mind maybe you should stop putting words in his mouth.

And as to links to Rowling.
Poor, Scottish, unsuccessful nobody, who creates a piece of art that then becomes an essential part of the genre, if no this generations essential entry to that form of media. I'm talking of impact rather than quality here (I like Potter but it's hardly high art)

I wish they hadn't mentioned Rowling, I really don't think she's in the same league as certain other writers in the same genre, but in all fairness, it's down to taste.

I don't think it's a question of respect, I suspect Rockstar would be happy simply being ignored by them (though not as rich). The problem is people like Vaz who think they can use Rockstar as a 'leg up' for their own failing careers.

I'm sure Benzies is not just talking about an abstract form of 'respect' or acknowledgement. In terms of business, Rockstar has a huge impact on Scotland's economy as it continues to transition from its earlier industrial economy. I'm sure he would like the Scottish government to be more proactive in promoting Rockstar North as well as be supportive of legislation and policies that would further encourage video games as an industry...i.e. tax incentives, educational initiatives for prospective local employees, regulatory consideration and some positive PR opportunities.

In a sense, I'd say Rockstar is closer to being Stephen King or Piers Anthony in that they do push some limits. And they have an audience who isn't expected to like everything they publish, but still receive a great deal of respect in general.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

nightwng2000 Says:

May 2nd, 2008 at 9:32 am
In a sense, I’d say Rockstar is closer to being Stephen King or Piers Anthony in that they do push some limits. And they have an audience who isn’t expected to like everything they publish, but still receive a great deal of respect in general.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software

Yeah defo....

lol I'd second anyone here who had said that R* has made far better games that rowling has written books.

@ alex

Let's not forget R* also put out State of Emergency, which is far more forgettable than any Harry Potter book.

In Scotland's defense they ignore everybody that's not in a fighting mood or half drunk on goat piss scotch.


I should know, I'm Scottish. :D.

Kidding, really. I mean I am Scottish but I prefer not to fight. Odd that.

It doesn't come down to taste. He's comparing the impact of JK on literature to Rockstar on video games. Frankly I think it's apt and a neck and neck tie. I don't care if you don't like Harry Pothead. (I don't.) You have to admit the franchise has made money. Just like GTA.

Sorry but JK Rowling is what to literature? Sorry but the impact of R* on the video game industry far exceeds that of Harry Potter on books.

Yeah - I have to agree with you.

I'd class GTA in with Robert Howard - that's a suitable comparison. After all - Robert Howard pretty much started the fantasy genre - as we know it today, as GTA more or less started the 'free will' type of game. Although others sought to do it, GTA was really polished - almost all other games were far too scripted prior to GTA. While GTA has missions and all, there's no real absolute necessity to do the missions in any specific order or at any specific time. In both cases, they weren't the first to do what they did, but they changed it from a 'cult following' - to a mainstream animal.

I'm not knocking JK Rowling - I'm not a Harry Potter fan, but many people really like the books. Give me a Conan or D&D themed game anyday over Harry Potter - but that is of course, personal taste. But JK Rowling didn't really 'revolutionize' literature - she just wrote some books that many consider to be top-notch.

GTA changed the Video Game landscape significantly - lots of copy cats - I'm not sure Harry Potter significantly changed literature.

Overcast, at the risk of derailing the thread, Robert E Howard might have popularized fantasy in the early 1900's but he didn't start the genre.

I, too, don't hold Rowling in any high regard. I found the couple of books I waded through to be shallow and pedantric (five points for quote source without using Google). Similarly, I didn't like Steven King's Behind the Dragons Eyes (or something similar).

I felt that Rowling use of every cliche in the book to be slightly forgivable if it wasn't for the absolutely horrible misuse of foreshadowing.

I hold Piers Anthony, Azimov, even David Eddings (who I think does a great work with characterization, dispite what people complain about repetetive plots) all as great authors. Orson Scott Card wrote on of my favorite books. I'm a big reader and have several book shelves full. I have rarely read such tripe as what Rowling often puts to paper.

To be honest, I haven't played any GTA games. I may not like them.

I realize that my feelings are contrary to the majority, but don't argue with my opinions on these since they are mine alone. I do not seek to discourage you from reading and/or enjoying Rowling or King, I simply don't find it enjoyable myself.

once again, scotland ftw

also, R* is not the JK Rowling of game companies. their games aren't for kids and DO NOT INVOLVE WIZARDING SCHOOLS

I think the JK Rowling comparison is more or less related to how much crap is being shoveled at both her and Rockstar by people who think they know better.

I mean, hell, how many were thinking andstill think Harry Potter would turn their kid into a devil worshipper and how many think GTA will turn their kid into a cop killing psychopath.

"shallow and pedantric (five points for quote source without using Google)"

Family Guy. Peter said that about Lois' cooking after he won a game of Trivial Pursuit.

We don't actually have to work out which author is the more apt comparison to Rockstar.

A nicer point to pick up on is that it would be very good if the government encouraged the growth of the games industry in the UK, perhapse with tax incentives

Mogbert, it's pedantic. there's no r in it.

Hehe opps derailed the comments slightly.

Anyway, my point is this: R* have had a big impact on the games industry popularising free roaming crime drama in video games. (Possibly inventing the genre even, anyone know what was GTA before GTA?) Regardless of what I think of HP, and I don't want to bash it, it's not really had anything like the same impact.

Returning to the subject though, and as I've said already, no attention is probably better than the wrong kind. Given the hysteria over GTA4, R* is doing rather well if they are being ignored by SMPs. ;)

Gift.

JK Rowling? What does she have to do with literature? Funny, it feels almost like when my sister tells me that Myst is the greatest videogame ever made.

Gift,

Actually the saying goes "No press is bad press." Which is true. Positive or not, the attention GTA IV is getting will drive up sales and stock prices.

GTA to video games what Rowling is the literature?

Sorry what?

GTA is widely accepted as good, just look at the review scores that GTA:SA got, and is also rated 18+/M.

Harry Potter books widely accepted as not very good literature when it comes down to being compared with other works in literature, also is marketed to kids.

bad comparison is bad.

Fail.

Is this a hint at the next game in the series: GTA Hogwarts?

@Eville1, that's a good point, but I think Benzies is lamenting the lack of positive attention in this case.

Gift.

gta made like 600k sales first day in uk only
ofcourse breaking all records

R*/GTA and JK Rowling - both Scottish products - that was the point he as making. One sends out a formualic sequel that arrives with a fanfare and a choir of angels. The other sends out a formulaic sequel, and the upright uptight citizens of the world want to see them burn. He makes a fair point.

Captain Sensible Says:
"sorry to add to my point, this reminds me of a certain music group in the 60’s who claimed they were bigger than Jesus… "

They WERE more popular than Jesus. If not, they certainly sold more records. ;)

LOL Lorenzo, when you put it like that I see what you mean :D

Gift.

You people who are getting all huffy about the JK Rowling comparison - just stop. Face it, she's massive, she's a massive Scottish (well, I know she's not Scottish but she lived here when she wrote the first few books) media sucess with her books that are renowned world wide. Now, you can't deny that can you? NO! And you can say the exact same thing about RockStar, massive Scottish sucess story, games renowned all around the world, etc, etc ¬__¬.

Now, I'm quite surprised about this, as far as I was aware the government were pretty pleased about the great economic benefits this was brining our country, a government pretty bent on Independence isn't going to succeed unless they do aknolwedge RockStar, seeing as we'd have a nasty depression otherwise.
 
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