GTA Producer to Buy Church for Edinburgh Community

The producer of the games so often derided for eroding morals secures a community center for his city.

President of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar North Leslie Benzies will buy Edinburgh’s St. Stephen’s Church to save it for the community, the Edinburgh Evening News reports.

A spokesperson for Benzies said that the church, which is believed to cost well over £500,000, is “an entirely philanthropic purchase” to preserve St. Stephen’s and keep it open to community use.

Dating back to the 1820s, the church has an 800-capacity venue that hosts live music, dance, and theater performances, and has been used as a local community center for the past two decades.

Benzies, a Scotland native, has lived in Edinburgh for more than a decade, where Rockstar North has developed every Grand Theft Auto game since Grand Theft Auto III.

According to the Edinburgh Evening News, Benzies’ undisclosed bid for the church beat more than 50 potential buyers who intended to turn it into private apartments or businesses.

Benzies’ spokesperson said that he recognized the building’s importance to the community. “My client looks forward to completing the sale imminently to secure the plans for the church’s ongoing use. We will engage with the community as the plans progress and look forward to welcoming local residents and groups back to the center in the very near future.”

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.

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Discussion

64 comments
Takeno456
Takeno456

Nice to see him help the community.

thedeadraptor
thedeadraptor

Step 1: Buy Church.
Step 2: Scan Church.
Step 3: Put church in Grand Theft Auto Scotland (working title)
Step 4: Blow the hell out of it!

ChunkyDrawers
ChunkyDrawers

Good man! At least this keeps it from converting to a mosque

mattcake
mattcake

I'm sure some anti-videogames lobbyist will find fault somewhere.

cameronrobinson
cameronrobinson moderator

Fantastic. I hope it continues to be used as a venue. I've seen a few theatre/music things there in the past and it's a lovely place. 

BrokenChaos666
BrokenChaos666

That's really great of him. :) It sucks to see beautiful buildings like this be turned into yet even more housing which will probably just fill up with immigrants, as if countries need more of those. :\

WayneL23
WayneL23

I wonder if Fox news will cover this since they enjoy covering his game.

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

I would rather he buy a mosque in Edinburgh so we can sing praise to Allah and wish death upon all infidels.

xcollector
xcollector

£500,000 is like the cost of a single detached home in Toronto Canada. What the hell is wrong with this country when you can get a castle somewhere else for the same cost as a shitty little old home.

nigelholden
nigelholden

That's awesome. No doubt that building meant a lot to many people for all sort of reasons. A much better use than some shops or condos.

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

Doesn't mean a thing.  The true Church isn't a building, it's the body of believers.  That's been forgotten and is now associated with the building, however there were no "Church" buildings at the beginning of the church.  Therefore you can't buy a church, and I wouldn't attend one he paid for.   From the article is sounds more like a community center than a meeting place for the Church anyway. 

amaneuvering
amaneuvering

What a hypocrite.

The dude can't buy his way into Heaven or whatever it is he thinks he's doing here.

He carries his demons and skeletons with him inside till the day he dies.

Money can buy you almost anything, even a church, but it can't buy you a clear conscience.

Note: I'm not religious in the slightest.

theteaface
theteaface

Wow, I use to live around there - beautiful street. Good on you, R* 

chewbacca72
chewbacca72

Heh, virtual blood money to buy a church. After services do they go out and beat up prostitutes and have weed brownie bake sales? Good for you Rockstar. If it was EA, they would have sacked half the congregation.

sgt_hunter
sgt_hunter

He is gonna need to put 3 forms of DRM around that church so PC pirates don't try to steal a prayer. 

PainMaker
PainMaker

And tomorrow they'll continue whining that making games is so expensive.  Maybe change the salary, because if you can afford to buy a friggin CHURCH for over 500.000,  you kinda proved that there's lots of money in your pocket. But no, they are gonna whine that games are expensive to make, and they are losing money due to piracy etc.  Just ridicilous.

A good thing He did though, but really, come on.

GrayF0X786
GrayF0X786

@ChunkyDrawers what is wrong with it turning into a mosque?

atleast inside the mosques they actually worship God instead of playing music and dancing around, something Jesus himself would not approve :/

Lostat
Lostat

@BrokenChaos666 Well as someone born & who is a resident of Edinburgh, I'm very glad we're not filled with racists in our great city.  Also, you clearly know absolutely nothing about the building itself, nor have you clearly read the article.  Thankfully those of us "Edinburgers" like myself are welcoming, liberal & generally happy with living in this great city.  Those who have moved to Edinburgh from other parts of the country & parts of the world, have added to the city in a great many ways, they're very welcome to join us.  Small-minded racists are the ones not welcome here & long may it continue.

Nerpraptor
Nerpraptor

@BrokenChaos666 Dude cut the racism, Edinburgh is one of the most liberal and tolerant cities in the UK and we don't think like that here. Immigrants as a percentage use up significantly less social funds than the "native" population. They are great for the economy, diversity and culture of our lovely city.

hitomo
hitomo

you pathetic ... its not about the building, its about a community place ... immigrants are people like you, you pathetic ... bag

grimlord_xvii
grimlord_xvii

@BrokenChaos666 Well if they come over with skills, why not? There are a load of nationals who refuse to that I would have no issue trading for a skilled migrant.


jayjay444
jayjay444

@WayneL23 Is it normally about how violent video games are I don't watch Fox?

Bjjallday
Bjjallday

Wow. You really miss the point of the article. I think its an amazing gesture of good will toward a community which he loves and wants them to enjoy a beautiful building for many things, including the Church. To not attend a church service because he paid for the chirch is quite short sighted of you regardless of his personal beliefs does his act of shear generosity and selflessness not reflect that of Jesus....?

arrow2thekneeXD
arrow2thekneeXD

Religious people don't think like that..Idiotic morons do..

king_gimpy
king_gimpy

@amaneuvering


What the hell makes you think he's trying to "buy his way into heaven" or has "demons or skeletons?"

Some of us aren't total morons and realize games are just games, and he's also buying a community center because he loves his city.

It's not even used as a church anymore.

Psycold
Psycold

@amaneuvering You think he needs to even believe in god in order to appreciate the architecture of an old church? I don't believe in god but some of those buildings are amazing. Maybe he went there as a kid and has good memories. I wouldn't presume to know his intentions though. 

naz99
naz99

@amaneuvering Not everyone is as cynical and negative as you, go bother others who care what you are saying.


F***ing overly opinionated people who think they can preach to others.


And who cares why he did it,the community center stays open so the outcome is the best case.

chuckles471
chuckles471

@amaneuvering It's also a community center, idiot.  He is doing something nice with his money, do people need a reason to do nice things?


"He carries his demons and skeletons with him inside till the day he dies."  Easy with the melodrama.  He makes video games, that's it.  So that must mean you think video games are responsible for killing people?

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

@PainMaker Almost agree, I'd just blast them when they outsource to third world countries for cheap labour or lay off a few hundred employees while continue to make millions each year. I could care less about them whining about piracy everyone but the fanboys knows piracy doesn't impact sales too much.

Talldude80
Talldude80

@PainMaker no. they aren't saying they are losing money.  They just make less money because of piracy. That's a fact.  And the President of Rockstar should be rich enough to buy a church (or any other building) for only 500k.  I"m sure he makes millions a year.  You can't really say if his salary is too high or not, since you're not on the board of directors.  are you a rockstar shareholder?  You can envy the guy for having $500k to give away, but no reason to hate on him.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator moderator

@PainMaker Wait, the President of a hugely successful company shouldn't make a lot of money? O.o

Hurvl
Hurvl

@PainMaker With GTA V being the most successful launch ever, I doubt they'll whine about that. Not anytime soon, anyway. Other companies, especially Ubisoft, will most certainly do so.

Molekh
Molekh

@GrayF0X786 Jesus never asked anyone to create a religious group in his name, I don't see why he would oppose people communing happily anywhere. Religion is solely a human creation and has very little to do with the divine.

mikees1
mikees1

There are lots wrong with mosques! There too many for starters, disproportionate to the size of the Muslim population. All of the so called 'British' Muslims fighting for ISIS were radicalized in mosques. Mosques and Islam are trouble!

mikees1
mikees1

Nothing racist about being anti immigration. It's common bloody sense!

xcollector
xcollector

@Trickymaster @xcollector I took that into consideration. 500000GBP currently converts to 912666CAD. There are shitty little properties in Toronto that go for that price. 500000USD  (533550CAD) is very low for Toronto prices. The longer it takes for Canada to face up to a market correction the harder it will be to recover. And if it doesn't people will have to migrate from Canada to other countries for affordable living.

amaneuvering
amaneuvering

@bitviper @amaneuvering

Hey man,

Drink the Kool-Aid all you want but I used to work for the company.

If anyone thinks the guy's doing this because "he's just a nice guy" then they live in cuckoo land. His games are a reflection of the man and his principles, which many of the people in the company share, and he can't buy away that truth.

The devil is in the details.

naz99
naz99

@Sefrix @PainMaker I know it's just crazy isnt it,i mean ,most people usually make successful buisnesses so they can lose money...who wants to make it eh :P

Molekh
Molekh

@mikees1 You shouldn't believe everything you hear on the news. Extremism of any kind, muslim or christian or whatever are the trouble.

jayjay444
jayjay444

@WayneL23 @jayjay444 Breaking news just in! man kills 100 cops in GTA V then murders a ant by standing on it, this would never have happened if it wasn't for violent video games.

MrGazzo
MrGazzo

@amaneuvering @bitviper if that is even true, then probably he was asking for redemption. lol you're right, his games really do reflect him and his principles :))

93ChevyNut
93ChevyNut

@Molekh @mikees1 Well said Molekh.  The Islamic doctrine is actually one of peace.  As part of our church's confirmation program, I attended an Islamic prayer service and we were fortunate to receive a presentation on the pillars of Islam.  It shattered everything I formerly understood about it because what I knew about Islam was a result of the extremists misusing its message.