Last week’s media frenzy over the research into the creative industries created a lot of coverage, across a very broad range of websites. From the BBC to Joystiq and Game Politics, news of Scotland’s non-existent games industry provoked a great deal of reaction and outrage.
One of the more recent articles is worth mentioning here. Robert Florence (co-creator of Consolevania, Burnistoun and board game fan), writing in Eurogamer lays the blame squarely at the feet of a very unexpected party – Rockstar North…
We all know that Rockstar North is a secretive company. And that’s fine. It’s good to be secretive about your projects. But I think that this influential giant, slumbering in its Edinburgh hideaway, is shirking its responsibilities to its home nation. I don’t think it’s acceptable for an industry leader to play no part in the grassroots development of an industry. If I were at Rockstar North, I would be embarrassed by stories of Scottish kids thinking our games were made in America. I would be ashamed.
When we made Consolevania, Scottish Enterprise asked us to make a documentary film about the Scottish games industry. The idea was for us to highlight how healthy our games industry was, so that people from abroad could be very impressed by us at industry parties. In actual fact, the companies we spoke to were struggling and desperate for help. It became a documentary about struggle, and the need for some government assistance. And everybody spoke to us apart from Rockstar North. Everybody told us the same thing – “Ooh, no. Rockstar won’t talk to you.” This was a piece about the games industry in Scotland, and Rockstar North wouldn’t take part.
That sums them up. They just don’t take part.
You should read the whole article.
While we don’t agree that the blame can be laid at Rockstar’s door, Rab makes a fair point. Your editor has been called upon by newspapers, radio, TV and magazines across the world to defend titles such as GTA and Manhunt on numerous occasions. Which he’s happy to do. The company creates some phenomenal games and Scottishgames.net will always defend the games sector against the hysterical accusations of the media when it comes to mature content in gaming.
However, Rockstar’s ongoing wall of silence, well, it doesn’t help. Anyone. We have a company on our doorstep that creates one of the world’s biggest games franchises. GTA is arguably Scotland’s biggest cultural export. Ever.
Yet the team in Edinburgh aren’t part of the community. They’re absent from the discussions, not involved in the events and don’t get the chance talk to the rest of the industry.
We know this isn’t the fault of the Rockstar North team in Edinburgh. We suspect that every request gets forwarded straight to the team in New York, where it’s ignored, refused or killed.
Which is a crying shame because the folks in Edinburgh deserve better. It would help the rest of the games industry – not just in Scotland – but UK wide and it would show the rest of the world the expertise and talent that we all kinda suspect exists up here.
Rockstar North contributes a lot to the UK games industry, having them here gives Scotland credibility that it sorely needs in the cultural sector.
It would be nice to include them in more things. It would be good to talk to them directly. It would be great to get their take on things and use their expertise and experience to make the interactive sector more prominent – and give them the recognition they really should have.
How about it, NY?