Rockstar Games, who have never been strangers to button pushing controversy when it comes to their “Grand Theft Auto” series of games, suddenly don’t feel so comfortable when the spotlight is shined off their games and onto their personnel. Earlier this year, they decided the sue the BBC over the upcoming “The Gamechangers” starring Daniel Radcliffe, which finds the actor playing Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser. Well, it’s now clear that lawyers can’t stop the film as the first teaser trailer has arrived.
Co-starring Bill Paxton, and directed by Owen Harris (“Kill Your Friends“), the film details the battle between Houser and Christian lawyer Jack Thompson, who starts a crusade against the games where carjacking, murder and more are de rigeur. Here’s the official synopsis:
In Autumn 2013, the game’s latest iteration – GTA: V – earned $1bn in just three days, becoming the fastest-selling entertainment product in history. But this drama goes back to 2002, to tell the story of a three-year period of intense controversy in the history of this iconic game’s development. It happened when two passionate men on either side of a high-stakes cultural divide clashed. This conflict, between the creative genius behind the game and a self-styled crusader for American morality, escalated into a fight for the hearts, minds and freedoms of an entire gaming generation.
The fastest-selling entertainment product in history comes not from Silicon Valley, but is driven by a bunch of British game designers. Friends since their school days, they are led by the game’s mastermind-designer, Sam Houser. By 2002, Sam and his creative team have constructed for their fans a vast virtual world, teeming with a high-octane mix of criminal characters, lethal weapons and outrageous storylines. Here you can even shape and sculpt your avatar, crafting their character and appearance to your personal preference.
Within this fantasy landscape, some players choose to take part in a series of dangerous missions, while others become immersed in a sprawling criminal underworld, killing cops, hijacking cars and running over pedestrians. And it’s this that increasingly drives opposition to GTA. Because the game’s violent gameplay leads to fierce opposition: from parents worried about its impact on children; from politicians, fearful of its influence; and, above all, from campaigners fighting to prevent the game being played by minors.
At the vanguard of this crusade is the formidable Christian lawyer Jack Thompson, a man determined to do whatever he can to stop the relentless rise of the game and its influence on children. The Gamechangers tells the story of how British game designers pushed boundaries into uncharted territory, of how those fighting GTA became consumed by a battle which overwhelmed their lives, and how the subsequent fallout threatened to bring down leading players on both sides.
“The Gamechangers” will debut on BBC Two on September 15th. Watch below.
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