The Daily Star has apologised for its recent claims that Rockstar was working on GTA: Rothbury.
The tabloid admitted it didn’t even bother checking whether or not the game was real, and didn’t contact Rockstar – but apologises for contacting a grieving family member for comment.
Biting further into its slice of humble pie, the paper even apologised for not questioning why a "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".
In addition to the apology, the Daily Star has paid damages to Rockstar, which will be donated to charity.
The original story ran earlier this week, ‘revealing’ the cover art for a Grand Theft Auto game based on the recent Rothbury shootings, with the journalist who penned the piece later defending himself on Facebook.
Here is the Daily Star’s statement in full:
"On 21 July we published an article claiming that the video games company Rockstar Games were planning to release a version of their popular Grand Theft Auto video games series titled ‘Grand Theft Auto Rothbury’.
We also published what we claimed would be the cover of this game, solicited comments from a family member impacted by the recent tragedy and criticised Rockstar Games for their alleged plans.
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.
It is now accepted that there were never any plans by Rockstar Games to publish such a game and that the story was false. We apologise for publishing the story using a mock-up of the game cover, our own comments on the matter and soliciting critical comments from a grieving family member.
We unreservedly apologise to Rockstar Games and we have undertaken not to repeat the claims again. We have also agreed to pay them a substantial amount in damages which they are donating to charity."