Take-Two Interactive, the owner of Rockstar Games, has announced that it is suing the BBC over the broadcaster's plan to air a docudrama about the company and its most famous creation: the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

As part of its Make It Digital initiative, the BBC announced that it would be filming and airing a 90-minute docudrama about Rockstar Games and the creation of the original Grand Theft Auto - a story which includes some of the biggest names in gaming and a franchise that would go on to earn the company billions of pounds in revenue. While few details were available, Rockstar's owner Take-Two Interactive isn't happy - and has filed suit against the broadcaster in an attempt to get the show cancelled before it has even been aired.

'While holders of the trademarks referenced in the film title and its promotion, Rockstar Games has had no involvement with this project,' Take-Two's statement to gaming site IGN reads. '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.'

Known at the time as DMA Design and having found earlier success with the platform puzzler Lemmings, the studio that would become known as Rockstar North following a series of acquisitions - first by Gremlin Interactive, then Infogrames, then Take-Two Interactive - refused to shy away from controversy: infamous publicist Max Clifford, long before his conviction for indecent assaults on girls aged 14 to 19, was responsible for planting numerous tabloid stories about the gory and amoral nature of Grand Theft Auto in order to boost sales - including orchestrating a campaign by the Daily Mail to see the game banned.

Journalist Guy Cocker - who worked on the project for the BBC - has described it as 'a 90-minute feature-length drama focussing on the people behind [Grand Theft Auto's] creation' on social networking service Twitter. Details obtained by Hollywood Reporter suggested that the drama will ignore DMA Design entirely, instead focusing on the company's battle with anti-videogame lawyer Jack Thompson and taking its contents from David Kushner's unauthorised book Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto. Former DMA Design writers Steve Hammond and Brian Baglow, speaking to GamesRadar back in April, have indicated that they doubt the film will do the subject justice - but neither suggested that a lawsuit was on the cards.

The BBC has refused to comment on the matter.
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October 14 2021 | 15:04