“Grand Theft Auto IV” doesn’t arrive until April 29, but critics of the franchise were already piling on last week.
Parents Television Council president Tim Winter was first up on April 23, declaring, “This brutally violent videogame must be kept out of the hands of children, and we are calling on all major retailers to reconsider any decisions to sell this game.”
The next day, California state senator Leland Yee, who wrote legislation prohibiting sales of vidgames deemed violent to minors that’s now being fought over in court, sent a message urging parents to “avoid (the) latest ultraviolent videogame.”
The hitch: Neither group had actually seen the game.
Publisher-developer Rockstar kept a tight lid on the product and only a small group of journos got relatively brief hands-on time with it — typically less than an hour. And based on those previews, it looks like “GTA IV” will be just as graphically violent — or smart, mature, and funny, depending on your perspective — as the last few incarnations.
But, apparently, it doesn’t take actually seeing the game to stir up controversy.