In a story by Australian news outlet Channel 7, the Australian police minister lashed out at a mod called LSPDFR for Grand Theft Auto V.
Police Minister Troy Grant went public with his denunciation of the GTA 5 mod in a Channel 7 news special, which focused on the mod.
“The game that I’ve seen, where they’ve arrested somebody, and then shoot them, that doesn’t happen, that’s perverse…. There’s a fear that this desensitizes people to the real risk the police face and I find it offensive,” reports Kotaku on the minister’s comments.
In a country which has banned numerous video games for unacceptable content and destroyed tens of thousands of real guns, it should come as little surprise that such a mod would be denounced by politicians and the media.
What is surprising is the timing of the announcement. LSPDFR is about seven-years-old, and has been out since Grand Theft Auto IV. The news channel had more than a few interesting comments regarding the mod, including that it was created by underground computer geeks.
More and more curious is why GTA was singled out for attention. The mod is far from the most violent gaming mod, or even game, in which police are a primary factor. Payday 2, a heist game where the player is a criminal, requires the player to gun down dozens upon dozens of officers in the course of a “hot” mission. And yet Payday garnered no attention in the story.
According to the mod’s site, “The LSPD First Response Modification (LSPDFR) is a police modification for the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V which transforms the game into a law enforcement simulation, allowing you to conduct traffic stops, engage in high speed pursuits and enforce the law as you see fit.”
Furthermore, a member of the Australian GTA modding community involved with the mod told Kotaku the following.
“Over the years individual polices officers have actually helped with the mod getting to where it is by showing support and providing reference pictures and encouraging the creation of the mod because they supported the harmless effects that it has, and as well as that it inspired kids to think of a career in the emergency services field. It put emergency services members in a positive light and gave kids somewhat an insight into our emergency services and encourage and inspired them to want to join them when they were older.”
In addition to the official denouncing of the mod, the police have promised to take action against the developers of the mod, claiming it could constitute a violation of the law. Keep in mind, that would be Australian law, which has some peculiar quirks for those who are more familiar with American laws and the expanded freedoms of expression that Americans tend to enjoy.
Below is the official response to Channel 7’s accusations from the forum by the mod’s creators.
“Over the past couple of days, we’ve noticed a flurry of activity on LSPDFR, seemingly sparked by some media coverage in Australia. The initial story, run by Channel 7 News was that our modification for GTA V, LSPD First Response, was being used by ‘underground geeks’ to simulate the killing of Australian police officers. This is simply a gross misrepresentation of what we, as software developers, and our users, as passionate members of a diverse and overwhelmingly pro-law enforcement community, stand for. In reality, LSPDFR is a mode which allows you to play as a police officer within the game — players can make arrests, pull over speeding vehicles and respond to emergency situations.
“Indeed, if there’s any story here, it’s the story of how LSPDFR has actually empowered law enforcement, by playing host to tens of thousands of young people, from across the world, who would rather play as the good guys than the bad guys.”
So what are your thoughts on the mod and its reception? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.