Game modified to match New Zealand, police investigate

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sworn New Zealand police officer and police car.

A New Zealand teenager's conversion of the popular Grand Theft Auto (GTA) video game is gaining popularity and the New Zealand Police are unhappy at their portrayal. Stacy O'Callaghan talked to Wikinews' Gabriel Pollard about his mod.

The police cars and the police officers have been given a makeover to resemble the New Zealand versions. The planes were branded Air New Zealand, and ambulances were converted to match the local Wellington scheme, among various other changes.

The Beehive, Te Papa and the Sky Tower are looking to be added to the game also. O'Callaghan says, "We actually have the models for these buildings but haven't figured out how to import them into the game.

"Theres plenty more to come, but thats our progress so far."

Despite media reports stating the Police were investigating whether or not the mod breached the law prohibiting the unauthorised use of police insignia, O'Callaghan has not heard from the Police at all. He says that if the Police did contact him with their concerns then he might consider taking the download offline. "If people want to start getting all legal and stuff, then I will just remove it.

"I don't want to offend anyone, I don't hate NZ Police, I think they are actually one of the best Police forces in the world."

The 17-year-old has said that his total conversion mod for the San Andreas version of GTA is "fairly popular". "The mod has been fairly popular considering NZ's population, and considering NZ'ers aren't exactly game mod fanatics," O'Callaghan says. He says the latest version of the mod he uploaded has so far had 466 downloads.

He has made the mod publicly available for any gamer who wants to play the New Zealand-branded version of the game and enjoy the game as much as he now does. O'Callaghan says he doesn't want to make money off the game change.

The original plan was for the GTA modification to only transform the police cars into New Zealand branded cars but was later extended when O'Callaghan was contacted by other developers. He says, "I originally started with just the police cars back in November last year and left it at that, and then after uploading it people came to me saying they wanted to help out with it and so about a couple of months ago we started making this total conversion."

O'Callaghan says in the future he would like to join the New Zealand Police and work in computer forensics, failing that he'd like to go into the IT industry.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

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