Wild West video game bucks trend

Red Dead Redemption, from the makers of the controversial Grand Theft Auto, has been approved for release in the UAE.

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The latest video game by the developer Rockstar, known for the controversial Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, has been approved for release in the UAE, according to the game's distributor. A manager at Red Entertainment confirmed on Wednesday night that the game Red Dead Redemption had been accepted for sale in the country by the National Media Council (NMC), which rules on whether entertainment products like games are appropriate for public consumption.

There had been doubts about the game, often referred to as the GTA of the Wild West, after online fan sites were told by retailers that the game may not be released in the UAE. The game, labelled a Western epic by its creators, is set in 1911 and follows the trials of John Marston, a former outlaw forced by the government to track and kill members of his old gang. The NMC banned the last two iterations of the GTA series. One of the games, GTA: San Andreas, features a secret sex minigame that can be unlocked.

Red Dead Redemption looks set to court controversy as well. Videos posted by gamers on YouTube show the presence of an "achievement", or in-game milestone, called "Dastardly", which a player earns for hog-tying a woman with a lasso, placing her on a train track and witnessing her death. Red Dead Redemption was released on May 18 to almost universal acclaim by reviewers. The NMC could not be reached for comment.