'I ask if theyâ??ve ever played the game. Invariably they havenâ??t,' says Benzies

Rockstar North’s president speaks out against media criticisms of GTA

In his first newspaper interview, given to The Sunday Times, Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies has defended the studio’s games saying they have been ‘victims of the same misplaced moral panic that greeted rock’n’roll’.

In discussing the ‘scandal’ in the press that erupted over Rockstar North-developed Manhunt during the summer of 2004, 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.”

He also said that those who criticise games are actually just scared by the progress the medium is making:

“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.”

Benzies added that, contrary to what the company’s critics say, Rockstar takes care when promoting its 18-rated titles: “We’re very careful about who we market the game to and what is in the game.”

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