Capcom says it will publish Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto IV
in Japan and has set a release date of October 30th, 2008 for localized versions to be released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
As in the rest of the world, previous games in the series have courted considerable controversy in Japan, with two of the country’s 47 prefectures banning Grand Theft Auto III on PlayStation 2
The bans came after the release of Vice City
, but before San Andreas
, with Capcom vigorously opposing the ban and Japanese trade organization CESA (Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association) intervening with a voluntary program to prevent the sale of mature rated games to minors.
Although an age rating for the game has not yet been announced, it is likely to receive a ‘Z’ rating from Japan’s Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO). The ‘Z’ rating is equivalent to an AO (Adults Only) rating from the U.S. ESRB, and was introduced in the wake of the Grand Theft Auto III
controversy. It is also the only CERO rating to be legally enforced.
Despite the controversy, the Grand Theft Auto
games have proven unusually popular for a Western-developed title in Japan, with each becoming a minor hit despite being released many months after the West. According to Rockstar Grand Theft Auto IV
sold 3.6 million units on its first day of release in the West and 6 million in the first week.