When the BBC announced that it was developing a feature-length film based on the making of the popular gaming franchise Grand Theft Auto, most assumed that it was at least OK’ed by the game’s creators – if not blessed by. Apparently, that’s not the case.
Rockstar Games’ parent company Take-Two Interactive has filed a lawsuit against the BBC, saying its goal is to “ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC’s pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events.”
Here’s Rockstar’s full statement (via IGN):
Take-Two Interactive has filed suit against the BBC for trademark infringement based on their movie currently titled ‘Game Changer’ as it relates to Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto video game series.
While holders of the trademarks referenced in the film title and its promotion, Rockstar Games has had no involvement with this project. Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC’s pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games. We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary.
The BBC first announced the project as part of its ‘Make It Digital’ initiative, which aims to “inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology.”
Here’s the film’s, which we now know to be titled Game Changer, official synopsis:
Conceived for an adult audience, this special 90-minute drama tells the story of the controversy surrounding the computer game Grand Theft Auto – arguably the greatest British coding success story since Bletchley Park. Its triumph was down to a bunch of British gaming geniuses who had known each other since their school days, and at the heart of it all was GTA’s creative mastermind, Sam Houser. In autumn 2013 its latest iteration – GTA:V – earned $1bn in its first three days, becoming the fastest selling entertainment product in history.
But the violent gameplay coupled with its outstanding commercial success leads to fierce opposition: from parents worried about children immersing themselves in such a violent world; from politicians, alarmed at the values they say it encourages; and above all from moral campaigners, who fight passionately to ban it. At the vanguard of this crusade is the formidable campaigning lawyer Jack Thompson, a man determined to do whatever he can to stop the relentless rise of Grand Theft Auto.
Daniel Radcliffe is signed on to play Sam Houser, while the role of Jack Thompson has gone to Bill Paxton.