Irish 'drunk' sours launch of hit game

Cormac Byrne

RED Dead Redemption is the biggest video game in 10 years but eager Irish gamers may be in for a nasty surprise.

The stereotype of the drunken Paddy will again be taken advantage of, as the game's town drunk is called "Irish".

On a popular gaming forum, the "Irish" character is described as "the town drunk. Usually found stumbling around and getting into trouble with sober townsfolk while attempting to talk his way out".

The video game, which will be available for PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360 console, is expected to sell four million copies this summer.

The groundbreaking game is set in the Wild West and comes from the creators of the hugely popular, but highly controversial, Grand Theft Auto series.

Copies of the game went on sale in the US on Tuesday with tomorrow marking its release in Ireland and Britain.

The game is expected to retail from €49.99 with enthusiastic gamers pre-booking their copies weeks ahead of the Irish launch tomorrow.

A familiar strand of dark humour common to the Grand Theft Auto series is in evidence, according to reviewers, with the title being described as "more Unforgiven than Blazing Saddles".

There is no shortage of bandits, bounties, and bourbon-fuelled brothels in the game's massive, free-to-roam open world.

Travelling on horseback as reformed outlaw John Marston, players can explore villages, rescue damsels, stop fights, and talk to every character they meet -- all voiced by actors.

Marston, a gruff but intelligent ex-outlaw is paying his debt to society by rounding up his old desperado chums -- and in doing so earning the right to return home to his family.

The appeal lies in the huge detail -- with players able to roam at will and every house in a village populated and open for exploration. They can climb boulders, go beaver hunting in the woods and relive life in outback America.

Makers Rockstar Games are thought to have spent up to €80m ($100m) on the long-awaited project.

The trailer for the game was first shown to industry professionals in 2005, but fans have had to wait until now to get their hands on copies.

It will take players at least 30 hours to complete -- leaving hardcore fans stuck in front of the screen for most of the summer trying to complete the mammoth game.