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Max Clifford 'doesn't recall engineering GTA outcry'

But PR guru tells CVG he would not dispute claims made about him

Celebrity publicist Max Clifford has said he does not remember manufacturing media outcry regarding the first Grand Theft Auto game, as has been suggested by two developers who had worked with him.

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An article published in the Sunday Times suggests that Clifford had "designed all the outcry [regarding Grand Theft Auto], which pretty much guaranteed MPs would get involved".

Grand Theft Auto series has become a routine reference-point within the national news media when debating violent videogames.

It was suggested by two developers at former Dundee studio DMA that Clifford had liaised with news editors and MPs to generate column inches by 'cooking' outrage regarding the game.

"Max Clifford made it all happen," developer Mike Dailly said.

"He told us how he would play it, who he would target, what those people targeted would say. He'd do anything to keep the profile high."

Clifford told CVG in a phone interview on Monday that he does not recall the specifics of the matter.

"It was such a long time ago and we've done hundreds of things since then," he said. He went on to add: "I wouldn't argue with the claims published in the paper".

But Clifford added that he "does not remember the publications or MPs I spoke to. I'm not being funny but I do fifty of these kinds of campaigns each year," he added.

"Most of those things published in the Sunday Times I had forgotten about, to be honest with you."

Speaking generally about violent games outcry within the news media, Clifford said that publicists will "look at every situation at its own merits".

"We've taken on controversial things over the years but we've turned down controversial things over the years. You have a look at it, you weigh it all up and you take it from there, and sometimes you work with people's double-standards and hypocrisy."

Dundee studio DMA, which had developed the original Grand Theft Auto, had in 1999 moved to Edinburgh as Rockstar North as part of a complex acquisition.

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