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Rockstar Co-Founder Talks Grand Theft Auto V Having 100 Hours of Gameplay, Research, Movie Prospects

September 9, 2013 Written by Jason Dunning

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We’re just eight long days away from the release of Grand Theft Auto V on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with Dan Houser, the elusive Co-Founder of Rockstar Games, sitting down with The Guardian to discuss their upcoming blockbuster.

Speaking about creating the world of Los Santos itself, Houser remarked how “the single longest process is always creating the world,” before continuing on about how much research they did to get it just right:

We spent a minimum of 100 days in Los Angeles on research trips, probably more. Out and about, all night long with weird people, strange cops showing us around, a lot of first-hand research. We spoke to FBI agents that have been undercover, experts in the Mafia, street gangsters who know the slang – we even went to see a proper prison. These poor buggers in the middle of the salt flat desert, miles away. It was eye-openingly depressing.

After explaining that the lack of playable female characters in this game is due to the “concept of being masculine” key to the story, he discussed why they went with three main protagonists this time around:

Having three protagonists allows us to create nuanced stories, not a set of archetypes. Rather than seeming like you’ve got this super-criminal who can do everything effortlessly, they’re all good and bad at different things. We liked the idea of a protagonist retiring with a family, and how awful that would be. We’ve never done anything like that and you don’t really see it in games – to feed into these concepts of parenting and pseudo-parenting.

The conversation then turned to Hollywood and movies, with Houser revealing that “we’ve been offered, many times, and it’s never appealed” when it comes to the Grand Theft Auto film license. He explained this by adding:

The money’s never been close to be worth risking one’s crown jewels. Our small dabblings with Hollywood have always left us running back to games. The freedom we have to do what we want creatively is of enormous value. The second you go near Hollywood, people seem willing, or have been forced, to lose a lot of that control. That sort of amorphous ‘that won’t test well’ attitude is exactly how we don’t work. We’ve always tried to think of stuff that’s innovative and new, and to go into a world where that’s not encouraged would be horrible.

Dan continued that thought by adding how “we’ve got this big open-world experience that’s 100 hours long” and gives you control over what you do, so “how do you condense that into a 2 hour or 12 hour experience where you take away the main things: player agency and freedom?”

Would you be interested in a Grand Theft Auto movie? Let us know in the comments below.