In a revealing interview with The Times, Rockstar North's president Leslie Benzies (pictured) has compared the GTA series to Elvis Presley – saying that both have been targeted by a section of society which is unnerved by progress”.
In his first ever newspaper interview, Benzies also claimed that Rockstar's Manhunt 2 wouldn't have faced as much criticism as if it were a film or a book – and said that he wouldn't let his own children play GTA IV.
When asked about the controversy surrounding tomorrow's release of GTA IV, Benzies said:
There is a big fear factor here. It's the coming of the railways; it's Elvis shaking his hips. It's cars going over 25 miles per hour and making people explode.
We've had such a beating over the past three years. If I get into a confrontation about it, once I've had my beating, I ask if they've ever played the game. Invariably they haven't.”
He added: We're very careful about who we market the game to and what is in the game.”
Benzies also defended Manhunt 2, which was last year at the centre of an epic battle between Rockstar and the British Board For Film Classification – which wanted the title banned.
He said: We wanted to make a horror game that would scare you in the same way a film would.
It doesn't seem to me to be any worse than a film. If it's a film or a book, you can do what you want. We seem to be in a different category.”
PICTURE: THE TIMES