After a year of pre-publicity and a five-year wait since GTA IV, the latest instalment in Rockstar’s gangland opus is almost upon us. Featuring a game world larger than than any other title in the series, hours of cinematic sequences and a truly epic cast of crazed characters, Grand Theft Auto V has a scale and ambition that exceeds most triple A development on the current consoles. Indeed, people are already calling GTA V the first next-generation video game.
Last October I travelled to New York to get one of the first demos of the game. While there, I met Dan Houser, co-founder of Rockstar and co-writer of the Grand Theft Auto titles. There, I asked him about the process of building a new GTA from scratch, and how the different parts of Rockstar North combine to allow its complicated interplay of story, side-missions and sand box freedom.
In the first part of that interview, he tells us about the creative process, about how the characters are written and how they are brought to life; and about the complexities of marrying narrative and gameplay in such a large adventure.
Part two follows on Monday.
How do you begin a Grand Theft Auto game? Are you always thinking of the next one?
We don’t see it as a production line in that way. We have a lot of guys on the team – it’s not like a freelance unit that gets taken down and put back together again, so of course, when it finishes we do need to roll on to something fairly quickly, but there’s a certain amount of downtime. Not till the very dying embers of this will we give the next one a moment’s thought. And that’s if we’re going to do another one – we always said that if we couldn’t think of something interesting to do then we’d stop – for this or Red Dead, but particularly for GTA. As much as anything they are a response to what we think went well or what we could do better or what could be different from the last one.
GTA IV felt like a real change in direction – or at least a maturation – for the series…
After San Andreas, with the move to high definition, we really wanted it to be focused and very tight – apart from anything else, we couldn’t do any more than that – because of the complexities of just making an HD game at the time. This time, we wanted to make something very broad in scope because we have a bit more understanding of the tech and we wanted to use that to put a big landscape in there and lots of outdoor aspects to it. That was the first sliver of a concept.
See on www.theguardian.com
An interesting insight into Rockstar’s process and how they put the GTA experience together – CJ