How People Involved with GTA Reacted to the BBC's Docudrama

By Julian Benson on at

Last night the BBC broadcast The Gamechangers, a drama based on a slice of Rockstar's history. It pulled in events from 2002 to 2008 (though it seemed like a lot less time in the film) to tell the story of Jack Thompson's attempts to sue Rockstar and get Grand Theft Auto banned in the US.

You may have already seen what Rockstar thought of it:

It wasn't just Rockstar that was disappointed by The Gamechangers: Steve Hammond, Mike Dailly, and Brian Baglow, all members of the original GTA team from before DMA Design became Rockstar, were live-tweeting the whole thing. Their tweets are excellent, mixing criticism with history of how the franchise was really made.

One significant point of contention is that the film is set entirely in the US and, largely, the only studio we see is Rockstar NYC.

Rockstar started life as DMA Design and was based in Dundee. When it became Rockstar North the studio moved to Edinburgh, where a huge part of Rockstar's staff are still based.

There was one mention of Edinburgh...

The actual game-making was also less than accurate

Hammond shared some pictures of what development looked like in 1996 for viewers to compare:

As well as sharing pictures of the office back in 1996, Hammond dug up this awesome poster for the first game:

I don’t think I’ve seen this GTA ad anywhere online before. #TheGamechangers

— Steve Hammond ⌨ (@snap2grid) September 15, 2015

The Gamechangers also simplified history a little. When the characters learn about Jack Thompson's suit against Sony and Take-Two in 2005 they act like it's the first time this has happened. It wasn't: Thompson had sued in 2002 and 2003 already.

In fact, the protrayal of Thompson throughout the drama seemed off. If you have a read of our profile about the lawyer you'll see that he was not known for being calm.

The BBC showed him very much as the moral man undermined by the evil law firm.

The BBC also simplified the game's history:

Still, one thing the BBC did give us, was a wonderful motion capture and break-dancing montage:

A great many of the oddnesses to The Gamechangers is likely due to the fact so few of the original team were consulted. Rockstar is far from involved in the project – it's suing the BBC over its production.

While The Gamechangers might have been a frustrating watch, seeing the original GTA team talk about its development was a joy.

On the plus side..... this whole evening is acting live a free, collective therapy session. :) #TheGamechangers

— Mike Dailly™ (@mdf200) September 15, 2015

Okay...I'll admit it. I'm disappointed I wasn't in it and being played by Brad Pitt. Perhaps I'm too good looking.....yeah #TheGamechangers

— Mike Dailly™ (@mdf200) September 15, 2015

And Dailly points out that The Gamechangers existence is a good sign:

And, if you want to see something with the real devs about how GTA was made: