MAKERS of the hit game Grand Theft Auto have added an unlikely controversy to its fifth chapter – the Edinburgh tram debacle.
Known for its scenes of violence, drugs and prostitution, the creators of the game’s latest instalment have taken a swipe at the cost and delays to the project.
Rockstar North, based on Leith Street, felt the full force of the tram-related mayhem, which has cost £776 million and is years behind schedule.
Set in the fictional American city of Los Santos, the new release - which has earned a record-breaking £496m in just 24 hours after - features the same distinctive white trams with a red stripe.
In a dig at the protracted roadworks, a radio news bulletin in the game says a “$16 billion” scheme will “shut down busy streets for years”.
Another describes a proposed plans “to get average speeds in the city up to 3mph”.
Gaming fan Scott Smith, 22, from Portobello, who bought the game, said it was a “cheeky” dig.
He said: “I think they’re clearly having a laugh at the council’s expense. It’s a bit cheeky but that’s the makers for you. I think it’s quite funny.”
Alex Wilson, chairman of Leith Business Association, said its inclusion in the game would come as a fresh embarrassment for the city council.
He said no businesses in Leith would be happy about how they had fared during the trams project.
He said: “It’s a bit of a stab at Edinburgh’s monumental folly. Given where they are based, they’ll have had a lot of experience of the trams and I can see the point they are trying to make.
“It is going to be the subject of a lot of ridicule for people.”
Rockstar North has already sneaked in references to Scotland, with an area of Los Santos sharing its name with the Borders town of Hawick.
An insider admitted the latest feature was a “not-so-subtle dig at the Edinburgh tram works”.
Brian Roberts, co-owner Headline hairdressers on Shandwick Place, said: “If they are making a dig at the trams, it’s fine by me.”