I’m grinding my teeth at the moment after reading yet another article about the R*/GTA/Hot Coffee repercussions, and I feel I really have to get this off my chest. I should point out I haven’t talked with any of the guys I know at R* about this, because I don’t want to put them in the position of them talking about something their company no doubt wants the official line to be the only line.
But I must say, this is in no way Rockstar North’s fault! People say that they made a mistake putting that content on the disc, but thats rubbish. If I were say, 1 month from beta and Design decided a particular bit of content should be removed from the game, would I:
a) Go through every build asset and code module and remove every trace of the content, then deal with all the bugs and other problems caused by such a major change (missing assets, broken links from other features which reused those assets, code flaws introduced by losing bits of code other modules expected to be there, etc.)?
or b) Flip a toggle in code which stops the user ever seeing the content, a toggle to which a legitimate player has no access, while leaving everything else in place.
I’m sorry, as a software lead, my responsibility is to take option b). If I went to a producer and said, I’ve got two options, one with possibly large and time-consuming consequences, and one with no ramifications which leaves a bit of unused material on the final master; I’d like to choose the first option, they’d laugh at me until they realised I was serious and then tell me I was an idiot.
If someone deliberately sets out to alter the game that we’ve developed and have had signed off, then how in the name of sanity are we responsible for what they do? If I make wooden spoons, and I sell them to a man who snaps one in half and stabs himself with the splintered end, am I responsible for it?
Brave had an unfortunate bug at one point which made him look really like he was humping a dead rabbit, until we added a few lines to fix the problem. If someone hacks our game to bring the bug back, do we deserve an 18 rating for bestiality/necrophelia? Or would such a thing be ridiculous?
This controversy isn’t about sex, or violence (even though GTA has them both in spades), its about responsibility. I refuse to be held responsible for what other people do to themselves using things that I’ve done.