The Three R’s – Rockstar, Responsibility, and Ruin(?)

4 04 2007

Wired writes on Rockstar’s Road to Ruin, and an astute short bit of commentary on it by Simon Carless on GameSetWatch.

Responsibility isn’t something that’s assigned to you It’s something you TAKE.
Ok, so maybe Rockstar doesn’t want to take larger social responsibility to make games with arguably more redeeming social values. Alright, fine – in any medium there’s always a place for pure entertainment sans meaning (far too big a place, unfortunately). Still, you’d figure they’d at least take some responsibility for the games they do make.
Now why would it be advantageous for them to take that sort of responsibility? Well, if they don’t defend their own games, there’s no guarantee anybody else will. Well, ok, that’s not exactly true. Somebody will do it eventually (Doug Lowenstein did), the question is what does that lack of responsibility & delay cost Rockstar? You’d figure they’d realize if they backed up their work a little more, they would probably have to withstand fewer lawsuits, for one.

That’s what makes them the worst sort of cowards – it’s not just that they’re not interested in saying anything of much socially redeeming value with their games, it’s that they don’t even have the balls to stand up for the content they make. They can’t even take responsibility for their own actions enough to say, yeah we made these games, we have a right to make ’em, they don’t make people kill each other, so fuck off. I guess they’re too busy finding thickly accented voice acting talent for GTA IV.

Borut Pfeifer

Usually that kind of spineless behavior meets its own just reward in the end, I think, over a long enough time period. But that’s the sad part, that’s just as likely to not happen (even with activist investors). The Housers are, admittedly, masters of their chosen form. They execute on their vision, and they are rewarded for it – so I don’t really see the ruin prophesied by the Wired article. The biggest chance for it to come about is not because they’re media shut-ins have torrents of lawsuits, that’s always been the case.

You may note that the new T2 CEO is the former CEO of BMG entertainment, where the Housers worked before being bought by T2 and getting turned into Rockstar. So I don’t think that Rockstar has any chance of getting axed, necessarily, in the near future 😉




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