Grand Theft Auto V has become another avenue for the growing conflict between Hong Kong and China. Some new clothing additions have meant players are replicating the chaos of the Hong Kong protests in Los Santos.
Thanks to some new items recently added in GTA V’s Diamond Casino Heist update, players have adopted the typical protest garb and begun causing disruption within the game. Organized through LIHKG, a Hong Kong Reddit-like forum, as reported by BBC, clans of protestors have been donning the yellow hard hats and gas masks typical of real-life protestors and making a mess wherever feasible.
The outfit, dubbed ‘Glory to Hong Kong’, is being bought en-masse by members of the ‘Stand With Hong Kong’ crew, who have then been making a stir in typical Grand Theft Auto fashion by trashing subway stations and throwing petrol bombs at police vehicles, mirroring the social disruption of the riots in Hong Kong and resulting conflict between citizens and the states.
Rockstar’s crime sandbox is just the latest example of turmoil in Hong Kong spilling out across the games industry. The issue became a prominent concern when Blizzard made the controversial decision to ban professional Hearthstone player Ng Wai ‘blitzchung’ Chung for expressing solidarity with protesters during an official tournament livestream. The ban resulted in outcry from developers and members of the Blizzard fanbase alike, resulting in the punishment being rolled back to a six-month suspension and Blizzard’s assertion the choice was not politically motivated, which many found a tad dubious.
Blizzard’s company profile has been taking a rocking since then, with major sponsors ending their professional relationship amid other reports of long-time developers leaving as the company’s priorities shift.