Officials from Take-Two publishing label Rockstar Games have announced that Japanese publisher Capcom will help to localize, publish and distribute Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
for the PlayStation 2 in Japan.
Capcom originally published Grand Theft Auto III
and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
for Rockstar in 2003 and 2004, respectively, and achieved a reasonable level of success with the titles, despite their Western origins and violent nature.
However, Grand Theft Auto III
was classified as “harmful material”
by the Kanagawa prefecture, where the game was banned from sale to anyone under the age of eighteen - as well as having restrictions placed on its position and advertising in-store.
Despite the potential for negative publicity, Capcom vigorously defended the game in a letter sent to local officials. The complaints of CEO Kenzo Tsujimoto were not heeded, however, and it is not until now that plans for the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
have gone ahead.
In the meantime, the Japanese CERO ratings organization has introduced the new adult only “Z” designation
, most recently applied to Capcom’s own Dead Rising
. The Z rating is government regulated and if, as seems likely, it is used for San Andreas
, it will see the game’s sales being limited in a similar manner to the original Kanagawa prefecture restrictions.