A story posted on the Daily Star about a brand-new Grand Theft Auto game based on real-life killer Raoul Moat has been pulled following an uproar over the fact that the U.K. news site made the whole thing up.
Sometimes it seems like the videogame industry just can’t catch a break. Take, for instance, this story posted by the Daily Star with the blaring headline, “Raoul Moat: Videogame, Film and Book Plans Cause Fury.” Moat, for those who don’t know, was a 37-year-old U.K. man who shot his ex-girlfriend, killed her new partner and then shot and critically wounded a police officer before killing himself a few days later during a standoff with police. And while tragic, it would have nothing whatsoever to do with our little world of digital entertainment except for the efforts of the Daily Star, which dug up a fake cover for Grand Theft Auto Rothbury and proclaimed that work on the game was already underway.
“Fury erupted last night over plans for a Raoul Moat book, movie and game… before the man he killed has even been laid to rest,” the story began.
“Last night, gaming websites showed the cover of Grand Theft Auto Rothbury – a version of the Xbox hit Grand Theft Auto,” it continued. It also claimed that “film companies are lining up bids for the rights” to a movie, although no specifics were given.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Star then went to the grandmother of Moat’s former girlfriend and asked what she thought of the whole thing. “I can’t believe someone wants to make money out of people who have been killed,” she said. “It is sick – it’s blood money. The game is beyond belief.”
And she’s right, in a sense; it is beyond belief, because it doesn’t actually exist at all. The Daily Star appears to have made the entire thing up. Is it likely that some random guy from the internet got bored and shopped up a GTA Rothbury cover? Sure. But the “gaming websites” allegedly promoting the new game seem to be in remarkably short supply outside of the imagination of Daily Star writers.
The story has since been pulled, an apparent acknowledgment of the fact that some lies go too far even for a site as notoriously trashy as the Daily Star. But it doesn’t appear too anxious to give up on such a juicy story; the headline and the fake GTA Rothbury cover are still plastered on the Star’s main page, at the top of the “Most Popular” stories list.