It appears that Rockstar Games, who until now delighted in trafficking controversial content and ignoring moral panics, have censored the image of a confederate flag in their upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition.
The now-censored image of the confederate flag could previously be seen emblazoned across the t-shirt worn by series regular and moonshining arms dealer Phil Cassidy throughout his appearance in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
However, as seen briefly in the official trailer for the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy remaster, Cassidy’s shirt no longer bears the confederate flag, with the image having been replaced instead by a simple skull crest.
While many fans hoped that Rockstar Games would refuse to bend the knee to any social pressure regarding their content – after all, this is the same developer whose last mainline release in the series poked fun at everyone from transgender individuals to affluent white families living in Los Angeles – even the company’s own co-founder once warned that the current political climate would have an effect on making any new Grand Theft Auto game.
“It’s really unclear what we would even do with it, let alone how upset people would get with whatever we did,” Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser told GQ in 2018. “Both intense liberal progression and intense conservatism are both very militant, and very angry. It is scary but it’s also strange, and yet both of them seem occasionally to veer towards the absurd.”
“It’s hard to satirise for those reasons,” he added. “Some of the stuff you see is straightforwardly beyond satire. It would be out of date within two minutes, everything is changing so fast.”
As of writing, Rockstar has not publicly addressed the censoring of Cassidy’s shirt – though many fans fear it could be only the first of many more such edits to come.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition includes Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The game arrives on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC on November 11, 2021.
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