Rockstar Games, developer and publisher of the hugely successful and controversial video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, issued a statement Thursday in response to complaints of recently discovered pornographic material within the game. Parents groups claim that children were downloading something called the "Hot Coffee" mod, which reportedly unlocks X-rated scenes only hinted at in regular gameplay.
"We fully support efforts to keep mature-rated video-game content out of the hands of children," the statement reads. "Although we may not agree with certain interpretations of our titles, we are looking forward to the opportunity for a balanced and open discussion of these issues. Now that video games are mainstream popular entertainment, parents need reliable solutions to ensure family members only play the games appropriate for their age group."
The company goes on to note that the game in question is rated "M" because it is intended for mature, and doesn’t belong in the hands of children to begin with. The statement suggests that parents need to be more mindful of ratings placed on games. "As the creators of Grand Theft Auto and other popular M-rated games, we join political leaders in fully supporting the video game rating system and any efforts to empower families to make the best choices for their homes."
What Rockstar doesn’t address, however, is the question of whether the additional material was created by its team, or by mod hackers. Though the statement doesn’t convey an admission, it doesn’t deny involvement either. The company only offers, "We are disappointed by comments that misrepresent Grand Theft Auto, detracting from the innovative and artistic merits of the game. Unfortunately, the recent confusion only serves to suggest that games do not deserve the same treatment as other forms of creative expression. By promoting awareness, we can avoid propagating the fear and mistrust of a new entertainment medium."
Parents who want to learn more about the video game rating system can visit the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) at www.esrb.org.