Looking for a new job? Fan of thumb-based mayhem, violence and controversy? Us too. And most of the rest of London. So the news that Rockstar Games are to open a new development studio right here in the Big Smoke will cause a flurry of CV writing amongst the hoards of would-be game designers in the capital.
Rockstar, of course, are the software house behind the hugely successful, achingly violent Grand Theft Auto series of games, which has provided a rich seam for tabloid scaremongering. The new studio is advertising for game designers, artists, developers and animators. The address is listed as 555 Kings Road, currently the Trowbridge Gallery. Few other details are given and it is not known what new titles the studio might work on.
There’s no better time to join the company. The industry is gearing up to release defining games for the new generation of consoles. Rockstar, in particular, are going to receive Blunkett-loads of news next year, when they (try to) release their new title, ‘Bully’ (pictured). The game would appear to take the video-games-make-kids-violent debate to its natural conclusion: by bringing GTA-style punch-ups to the classroom. This one’s really going to nark the Evening Standard and other tabloids, whose moralistic rants will ensure the game becomes a bestseller.
So, could the new studio be a sign that a GTA: London is in the works?
Well, the forthcoming PS3 will sell like hot cakes when Sony can bundle it with a GTA game, and where better to set it than in London? The series needs to get away from the US, or risk getting too samey. It’s dipped its toe in our manor once before, in the 1999 2-D expansion pack to the original game. Just think of the potential for an update: car chases over a raised Tower Bridge, gun fights on the Eye, the seedy underworld of Soho, remembering to pay your congestion charge every time you enter Zone 1...
Rumours are that a new game, dubbed GTA4 and possibly set in Europe, is in preparation for Autumn 2006. Punters who can’t wait that long to get their fix of random street violence might consider a stroll through Somers Town, wearing an iPod.