By Jared Newman | Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm
Apparently not satisfied with the level of controversy in video games lately, Rockstar has announced the next downloadable expansion for Grand Theft Auto IV, and it will be subtitled “The Ballad of Gay Tony.”
The add-on will focus on an assistant to the eponymous nightclub owner Tony Prince. Players will “struggle with the competing loyalties of family and friends, and with the uncertainty about who is real and who is fake in a world in which everyone has a price,” according to the press release.
So it’s only a matter of time before someone appears on cable news channels to complain and we start hearing appeals to bar the game from release — all for naught, of course.
Normally, I’d say “let’s not jump to conclusions,” but I’m willing to bet that this expansion pack will offend people because Grand Theft Auto has always relied on stereotypes for its characters. Like Comedy Central’s South Park, GTA is an equal opportunity offender, but instead of relying on satire, it mixes horribly offensive jokes with a thin layer of compassion that gently tugs at the player’s sense of decency.
For that reason, you won’t get a condemnation from me. I’m actually pleased to see Rockstar Games state its intentions so blatantly, especially in an industry whose fear of homophobia (no, that’s not a typo) has repeatedly caused problems. Besides, this is a game for mature audiences. Those who worry for our precious children might first want to check on seemingly innocuous games, like Punch-Out.