Poll: Did Rockstar Go too Far?


Pursuent to Darrin’s post about GTAIV’s “ladies of the night”, I got to thinking. Personally I think that this is going too far. Having sex with a hooker, following her out of the car, and shooting her in the head. It offends the sensibilities, and I’m not ashamed to say I won’t be buying the game.

That’s not to say it’s otherwise not a good game. And this poll is not asking you about whether or not GTAIV is a good game, or whether you enjoy it. I want to know what you think about how it’s pushing the boundaries. For some reason, society thinks that pushing the boundaries is always a good thing, no matter what the boundaries are. Personally I feel that some boundaries are just best left alone.

Vote in the sidebar, as always.

Last Poll’s Results:

What do you think of in-game messaging on the PS3?

* Very important – must have both voice and text.: 62% (269)
* Very important, but just text is good enough.: 14% (61)
* Not important to me.: 13% (56)
* Somewhat important.: 11% (46)

Total Votes : 432


Written by: Blackstaffer - News Contributor


  1. #1 by Gary on April 30th, 2008

    It’s entirely optional. You are not forced to shoot the prostitutes, you aren’t forced to have sex with them either. They are just part of the game world. You can drive around the city obeying the law (outside of the main missions) if you wanted to.

    It’s this type of freedom that makes the GTA games so special, along with the small details of the game world.

    I can fully understand people being offended by what can happen in the GTA world but people like Jack Thompson and certain media outlets use games (films, music etc) as an escape goat for what is really wrong with society and certain depraved individuals.

  2. #2 by freedesign on April 30th, 2008 [ 575 Points ]

    …so you’re not buying this game because: you don’t trust yourself to make moral choices……
    if the music is too loud, you’re too old

  3. #3 by Paranoimia on April 30th, 2008

    If Rockstar did go too far, they did it a long time ago. The business with the hookers (no pun intended) goes way back to GTA3 on the PS2. This really is nothing new.

  4. #4 by Martin Hansen on April 30th, 2008

    I agree with Gary, you don’t have to do those things.
    It’s just a possibility of the gameworld.

    Do you pick up hookers in real life and shoot them just because you can?
    No, it’s just a possibility of the world. (which would be horrible!)

  5. #5 by warpdrive on April 30th, 2008

    I have no problem with it. It’s not like I even remotely think about these things in real life, and it’s no different from what you see in the movies all the time (esp regarding what happens to hookers). I expect this game to be controversial given Rockstar’s past, and it’s precisely the richness of what you can do that sets these games apart from anything else.

  6. #6 by Larry on April 30th, 2008

    WOW, that’s just silly. You don’t like hookers getting shot? Then don’t do it, it’s not actually part of the core game play. You aren’t required to do it. Just like you’re actually given the choice of not killing targets in several of the missions. You’re just being a Prat go hang out with Mr. Thompson and Hillary. Sheesh!!!! The beauty of the game is that you have the choice to be as bad as you want to be or as moral as you want to be.

  7. #7 by DoucheVader on April 30th, 2008

    Are you serious man? It’s a Rated M game. I don’t want to play Little Red Riding Hood games. I want violence, headshots, sex, alcohol, drug use.

    Is it wrong when you watch a movie with these elements?

    Perhaps you should stick with Nintendo Wii.

  8. #8 by Rjcc on April 30th, 2008 [ 490 Points ]

    You should be ashamed that you don’t know what you’re talking about in terms of what you can do in the game.

    Whatever your moral code is, is nothing to feel ashamed of, but being uninformed is. You wouldn’t buy it anyway, it doesn’t have local co-op

  9. #9 by Darrin on April 30th, 2008 [ 17143 Points ]

    Oh sure, you *can* choose to deliver pizzas instead of hiring/killing prostitutes, but realistically that’s incredibly boring. The game encourages you to do the former and makes it a heck of a lot more fun.

    It’s still my favorite game, and no, I don’t think they went too far (I think this game is brilliant and will be remembered as such), but in all fairness, it does encourage all kinds of terrible in-game acts.

    It’s just fantasy, like movies and such, but this game is built around violent and sadistic fantasies rather than the crappy pizza/ambulance type mini-games.

  10. #10 by warpdrive on May 1st, 2008

    That is true Darrin, you will want to do bad things in the game. It’s expected that you do so.

    When I play the game, I don’t feel like a bad person. You are given some objectives, and you try to do them. Sometimes that involves shooting somebody in the head, maybe hiring some prostitutes, maybe offing some crime boss. You run over many people in the car. I see them as cartoon characters, and I don’t feel like they are any more real than shooting a friend in COD4. I think “Oh, I guess I have to beat up that guy using a combination of timing my blocks and pressing square. Damn, I failed the mission. Maybe it’s expecting me to shoot him in the head first”. I just play the game and follow the plotline. It’s like watching a movie about crime lords, but you have to do things to advance the storyline.

    In the end, I get caught up in the mechanics of playing the game, and not once do I think “man, I’m low”. or “I feel dirty”. It’s just a game, I play it and you enjoy the variety of the open endedness and richness of the world. Most of the time, I just have fun trying to drive my car successfully and escape from the people chasing or trying to shoot me. I’ll use my new skill that it just tutored me on to advance the plot.

    The GTA series is brilliant, I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of these game than any other series of game, and I generally don’t like mission based games. Some of the minigames are more fun than other entire videogames. I haven’t really explored multiplayer but from what I know and read, that might be worth buying the game for that alone.

    So I don’t they went far at all. There are things you can do that will be controversial, but we’re all adults here. We should know these things are wrong but we might do try them just because we want to see if the programmers thought that we might want to do that. I have a laugh when I see that that they programmed this in at all. It’s a little demented but again, I don’t think of doing that in real life, it’s just a fantasy world.

  11. #11 by Graeme on May 1st, 2008

    Since playing GTA in the past I’ve hardly raped and killed any prostitutes at all in real life. And my drains are almost entirely free of body parts.

  12. #12 by flynn110 on May 1st, 2008

    do you watch R-rated movies? how is this any different? this is a game made by and for adults. a world where boundaries aren’t constantly being pushed sounds like a pretty boring and repetitive world to me.

  13. #13 by Henning on May 1st, 2008 [ 0 Points ]

    flynn110: I said that some boundaries are best left alone. Not all. Personally, I don’t see any merit in adding the ability to have sex with hookers to a game.

    Graeme: Good for you.

    Rjcc: Baloney. Do I need to actually play the game to know that it’s distasteful to me? Hardly. I’ve seen enough videos and read enough reviews to make my own opinion about the game.

    DoucheVader: I see you can’t tell the difference between a movie and a game. And besides, I wouldn’t like a movie made in the style of GTAIV either.

    Larry: I think you missed my point entirely.

    freedesign: See my response to Larry.

    Gary: see my response to freedesign.

  14. #14 by John on May 1st, 2008

    Count me with Henning on this one.
    Though I find rewarding the killing of innocent people a greater breach of boundaries than the presence of hookers/strippers in the game.
    Guess that’s a cultural thing, like a nipple slip triggering nationwide reactions of shock and horror, while accidental killing of thousandths of civilians in Iraq doesn’t.

  15. #15 by Gary on May 1st, 2008

    So correct me if I’m wrong but R* have gone too far by giving you the option to have sex with a prostitute then kill her, if you so wish. Entirely optional course of events that are not part of the main story.

    Yet it’s OK to murder middle eastern characters who are portrayed as terrorists in CoD4? Not optional or avoidable at all. Army of Two is probably a worse example of this, they even have them charging at you with bombs strapped to their body but where is the outrage about that?

    I’m not saying you are saying this, I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on this.

    I know which of the two disturbed me more and it wasn’t the prostitutes.

    I personally think R* should be applauded for what they have achieved with the GTA games. They have done an incredible job with GTA IV, especially creating a main character that has morals and giving you the choice to let people live or die during the main missions.

    I’ve found myself feeling very reluctant to break the law at all in GTA IV because I feel it completely goes against Niko’s moral code. R* should be given a lot of credit for achieving this.

    So there are two examples of R* pushing boundaries. Your view of having sex and killing prostitutes is a step too far yet they’ve also created a character that clearly has some moral dilemmas to make, who is also clearly effected by these decisions and you the player gets to make the decisions, which directly effect how the main story develops.

  16. #16 by astronautbread on May 2nd, 2008

    I can see how there are things in this game that are “taking it too far”, for example:

    (now doing this actually made me a little sick to my stomach, and that’s never happened in a video game.) After a reasonable long stint driving around on a scooter shooting the cops chasing me, I get knocked off and thrown over a ledge onto the interstate. Trying to stand, I get slammed into by a cab and drug “killing” me. I end up at the hospital, and for whatever reason, (Maybe it’s the curiousity, I don’t think you’ve been able to do this before.) I walk right back into the hospital where i just got nursed back to health, with a shotgun, and start taking out random people in the waiting room, patients, nurses, etc. I then find that you can go a little further in, and there are patients in beds awaiting treatment, you can fire into them also (even lock-on). Now this scenario really tugged at my emotions in a way that I’ve never experienced, maybe it’s the more realistic graphics or animation, I don’t know. But, it actually made me feel a little ill. Now, maybe that’s taking it too far, but at the same time there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to do this.

    There’s nothing in the game motivating you to murder all these peole. And in the story, sure there are people that you have to kill. Sometimes the motivation is simple (i.e. they’re trying to kill you). Sometimes it’s not so simple (slight spoiler), and your motivation is that a) this guys just a complete deuche and b) he’s ****ing your cousins girlfriend. But in most situations Niko is actually a pretty moral character, as far as GTA goes. He apologizes to people he’s just run over. When stealing cars he says things like, “I’m robbing you, don’t make me kill you.”. So far in the cutscenes he’s refused every kind of drug and alchohol offered to him. And, once you understand his motivations required violence almost seems justifiable.

  17. #17 by Sarlac on May 3rd, 2008

    Henning, you sir are a *****.

    [Edited by Henning for language.]

  18. #18 by Henning on May 3rd, 2008 [ 0 Points ]

    I’m glad that at least most people can keep this conversation civil. Of course there have to be narrow-minded idiots posting every so often.

  19. #19 by Daniel on May 3rd, 2008

    I thought this was a news blog not the fox news of the video game world. I will not be visiting this site any longer. Henning thanks for driving me out by shoving your bitter opinions down my throat. I don’t care what you think just post news. Ah well it doesn’t matter I won’t be coming back.

  20. #20 by Henning on May 3rd, 2008 [ 0 Points ]

    I wonder what it says at the top of this page. Does it say “dry boring news” or does it say “blog”? Hmmm.

    If you’re here for news only, then this is the wrong place. Get going. Get lost. Though I have to say that your search for a totally bias-free news source will come up empty. Unless you think that news reported in a manner that totally agrees with your world view is unbiased.

    If you’re here for a range of bloggers’ views on PS3 gaming, then stay. And be civil.

    Gary, Tosh, Darrin, and I are all bloggers here, each giving our own opinion on stuff. Obviously I come from a more conservative angle than the other bloggers here, several of whom enjoy GTA IV. Does that mean I agree with them? No. But does it also mean that they can still say what they want as long as they try to stay civil? Of course.

    Ever hear of free speech? Oh wait. Maybe it’s only free if you agree with it, right?

    Sheesh.

  21. #21 by Gary on May 3rd, 2008

    I fail to see how Henning has forced his so called bitter opinions down anyone’s throat. Henning expressed his views looking to start a debate that some people have managed to take part in.

    Others have just resorted to pathetic insults which are not welcome and won’t be tolerated.

    I don’t agree with Henning’s view but I can understand where he’s coming from and I respect his opinion. Resorting to insults just because you disagree is frankly pathetic and childish. There’s simply no need for it.

  22. #22 by Jim on May 5th, 2008

    Would you honestly not play the biggest game of the year just because of some silly little thing that isn’t even in the main part of the game, or even highlighted in any way? I wouldn’t have even known about getting hookers if I hadn’t read this blog…

    Seriously missing out there buddy.

  23. #23 by Henning on May 5th, 2008 [ 0 Points ]

    Say you’re allergic to peanuts.

    And say that Cadbury released a new candybar with peanuts that everyone is going nuts over.

    Would you eat it anyway, just because it’s popular? Would the chocolate bar be at all attractive to you?

    First off, GTA IV has elements to it that I don’t like. Second of all, it’s a type of game that I don’t like. Why would I play it?

  24. #24 by warpdrive on May 6th, 2008

    come on henning, that analogy is flawed. This is a recreational activity, not a danger to your health.

    Have you tried the game though? I didn’t think I would like it too but man, I was hooked.

    Just like the movie “300”. You said it wasn’t your type of movie at all, and looked way too violent, but you enjoyed it anyway. I think this game is a little like that, it’s just cool, and who knows, it might draw you in despite the theme.

    I think the response you got was because you implied you aren’t buying the game on moral grounds, when it’s actually just the type of game that didn’t appeal to you, so the morality issue is only part of it.


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