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GTA V release poised to top sales charts, make waves of controversy like predecessors

The “Grand Theft Auto” video game series is one of the most successful gaming franchises of all time. It has sold over 125 million copies of its games, has held 10 Guinness World Records and boasted the most successful entertainment launch of all time for the most recent installment of the franchise, GTA IV.

Gamers all around the world have been waiting since 2008 for the series’s developer, Rockstar Games, to release the next title. Today, their patience will be rewarded, with GTA V set to be released worldwide at midnight.

In the series, players take control of a character who is asked to complete tasks throughout the game in order to build a successful and glamorous lifestyle for themselves, no matter how legal or illegal these tasks may be. However, the appeal of the GTA series isn’t necessarily the storyline, the graphics or the gameplay. Rather, it’s the freedom.

Although most video games give you a linear storyline you must follow if you want to progress through the game, GTA gives its users the option to do almost anything they can think of. Law-breaking seems to be a major appeal to people that buy the games. You can kill, have sex and steal cars, planes and much more. Whatever gamers can think of, GTA will probably let them do it.

With all these actions available to the user, controversy has surrounded every single GTA game since the first title was released in 1997.

GTA Vice City, released in 2002, was criticized in Florida by Cuban and Haitian groups for inviting players to harm immigrants in the game. Rockstar Games removed several lines of dialogue from the game that satisfied the groups enough to downgrade their complaints in the courts.

GTA San Andreas, released in 2004, received backlash for the uncovered “Hot Coffee” feature that allowed the user to take part in a mini-game involving the character having sex with his girlfriend in the game.

GTA IV, released in 2008, has been slammed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for giving gamers the option to make their character drive drunk, while several other complaints have been related to a scene of full-frontal male nudity.

Needless to say, Grand Theft Auto does not shy away from controversial topics, and that is one of the reasons it appeals to gamers all over the world. With GTA V already known to give gamers an option to have their characters smoke marijuana, it’s safe to ensure the haze of controversy surrounding this game will only grow as more of the gameplay is revealed after gamers get their hands on one of the most highly anticipated game of 2013.

 Opinion columnist Euan Leith is journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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