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Scottish town miffed at role in Grand Theft Auto V

Some in Hawick, Scotland, worry that a ratty fictional version in GTA V could destroy the "good reputation of the town."

"The Horse" at the end of Hawick's High Street marks a victory over English invaders in 1514.
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Tourism Web sites describe Hawick, Scotland, as a charming town of rolling hills known for rugby, quality knitwear, and frequent floral awards.

In the newly released Grand Theft Auto V, however, a fictional town of the same name is a hub for "druggie hipsters." And some in the real Hawick are none too happy about that.

"I am absolutely disgusted...there is a lot of history and a lot of good things happening in the town," local councillor David Paterson told the BBC. "We have got a lot of good things planned for this coming year. It is going to destroy the good reputation of the town."

Hawick (pronounced Hoyk) is located in the Scottish Borders, an area that covers around 1,800 square miles and sits just south of Edinburgh and The Lothians and northeast of Dumfries and Galloway. Game developer Rockstar North's headquarters is located about 40 miles north.

In hopes of showing Rockstar just how not druggie hipster the real Hawick is, John Lamont, the town's local Member of the Scottish Parliament, has invited the game's developer to travel south to see it for themselves.

"While some may take the view that any publicity is good publicity, I am sure that many local residents will see this as an insensitive move from Rockstar North," Lamont told the BBC. "The game undoubtedly portrays Hawick in a bad light and is likely to sell tens of millions of copies over the next year."

Indeed, sales of the highly anticipated game, released Tuesday, hit a record-breaking $800 million in a mere 24 hours. That makes it the biggest video game launch ever for Take-Two Interactive, publisher of Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto series.

It's been widely lauded by reviewers, including CNET's Jeff Bakalar, who says that "if there's one thing you need to know going into Grand Theft Auto V, it's that the game not only lives up to the over-inflated hype, but simultaneously sets a new bar for immersion in open-world gaming."

Such reviews probably won't mean anything to Hawick, but it's not the first real-life spot to show up in Grand Theft Auto.

In Rockstar's re-creation of Los Angeles, dubbed Los Santos, for example, famous landmarks and well-known locales are often the source of satirical jabs. The Los Angeles Gun Club is the Ammunation Gun Club, the Beverly Hills Hotel is the Richman Hotel, and all of Hollywood is Vinewood, where the wealthy and film industry crowds are often stereotyped in the most negative ways imaginable.

CNET has contacted Rockstar Games for comment on Hawick and will update this post as soon as we hear back.

Quality Scottish knitwear is probably hard to find on the streets of Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar Games

CNET reporter Nick Statt contributed to this story.