Grand Theft Auto IV – New York Mayor’s View of Digital Cities

The latest installment of the Grand Theft Auto series, which takes place in the fictional ‘Liberty City’, has upset the Mayor of New York with its striking resemblance to the real city. The trailer below provides a few glimpses of the city model:

In a report in the New York Daily News City Councilman Peter Vallone, chairman of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, states that “Setting Grand Theft Auto in the safest big city in America would be like setting Halo in Disneyland“. The article continues that “The mayor does not support any video game where you earn points for injuring or killing police officers,” said Jason Post, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg.

Now we are not going to get into the debate about violence and games based on real locations.. suffice to say the Mayor of London didn’t pass comment on The Getaway (see our movie) which allows you, amongst other things, to hijack a bus at gun point and attack passers by, but these are changing times.

With games increasingly leading the way in the creation of digital cities, and the move towards photorealism, it looks like this is the first shot across the bows of game creators in what looks like a long running debate.

We can’t help wondering how different it is however to film, how many violent films have been set in New York and depicted it in a negative way? From the Lights of New York in 1928 (the first Gangster film to feature sound) to the latest blockbuster – New York is often portrayed as a crime ridden city due to its gritty urban environment and architecture. GTA IV is simply following a similar path.

However, with the Playstation 3 Getaway due soon we wonder if this time the Mayor of London will take note from Mayor Bloomberg and give his views on games in the city?

Author Bio

Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.

2 Comments

  1. Duke Nukem 2000 - April 2, 2007

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  2. Thorus - May 10, 2007

    “We can’t help wondering how different it is however to film, how many violent films have been set in New York and depicted it in a negative way? “

    GREAT =))

    It was always hard for me to find just a one-sentence-argument for situations like that .. i´m glad you did it now ;D

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