Rockstar Games has decided to take legal action against the BBC over its upcoming dramatization of the creation of Grand Theft Auto.
Game Changer is slated as a one-off TV film about the rise of Rockstar Games and its legal battle with the infamous activist lawyer Jack Thompson. Danielle Radcliffe will play Rockstar’s London-born founder Sam Houser and Bill Paxton will play Jack Thompson. The project brings to mind Pirates of Silicon Valley, or more recently AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire.
But, apparently, Rockstar is not happy about the dramatization of its dirty laundry.
A Rockstar spokesperson explained the suit in the following statement to IGN:
“While holders of the trademarks referenced in the film title and its promotion, Rockstar Games has had no involvement with this project. 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.”
The BBC’s only response so far has been that it does not comment on legal matters.
Game Changer started filming in April, with the plan to air later this year as part of a season of programing focused on coding. The BBC has described the story as “arguably the greatest British coding success story since Bletchley Park,” the site of the famed Enigma machine used to break the Axis codes in WWII.
We wouldn’t necessarily go quite so far as to compare the creation of a video game in which players can jack cars and murder prostitutes to the breaking of an impossible Nazi code while laying the foundation of modern computing, but we appreciate their enthusiasm.
As games become increasingly accepted as a part of mainstream culture, we can expect to see more dramatizations of their creation in film and television. How long before Aaron Sorkin makes a television show about a game studio?