The BBC has launched a teaser trailer for their film The Gamechangers, set to air on September 15 on BBC Two. The Gamechangers is the story of GTA co-creater Sam Houser, played by Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, and his epic battle with a group of moral crusaders led by lawyer Jack Thompson, played by Bill Paxton.
Upon its release in 2013, GTA V sold over $1 billion worth of copies in just three days. But GTA V would never have happened if Houser, the British founder and president of Rockstar Games, had lost what BBC Two describes as their “fight for the hearts, minds and freedoms of an entire gaming generation.”
Back in 2002, deeply worried by the graphic and violent content of the Grand Theft Auto franchise and its possible effect on children, Christian lawyer Jack Thompson launched what was to become a decade long crusade against anyone and everyone involved in the production, distribution, and sale of the GTA series. Thompson filed multiple suits in multiple courts against GTA, as well as persuading other lawyers to do the same.
Thompson, who appears to have attempted to ban multiple games he considered bad, including apparently innocuous titles like The Sims, is best known for his virulent attacks on the GTA games. He has consistently attempted to draw links between mass shootings, police shootings, and the GTA franchise, generally without much success. Upon the release of GTA V, Thomspon posted a wild spray on Gamezone, slamming GTA V as a “cop-killing, woman-bashing” game and refusing to discuss his concerns, saying that “gamers are too brain-impaired” to understand his arguments.
Thompson’s crusade has taken a heavy toll. Apart from alienating what turned out to be the biggest entertainment audience in the world, he has consistently lost his cases against the GTA franchise and has been disbarred.
While The Gamechangers chronicles that part of Thompson’s crusade that focused on Rockstar, GTA and Houser, it was embroiled in a legal controversy of its own. Made without the authorization of Houser or Rockstar, it was itself the subject of an unsuccessful lawsuit to prevent its release. In the short teaser trailer, Houser is described as the “British genius behind the most lucrative video game ever,” taking on the “man on a moral mission,” Thompson.
The factual drama is set to air September 15 on BBC Two. The film was produced by BBC Scotland as part of a program to promote the teaching of coding and other digital media skills to young people.
[Picture via BBC Two Media Centre]