GTA: Hot Coffee controversy was ‘draining and upsetting’, says Houser

Tuesday, 20th November 2012 08:36 GMT By Dave Cook

Grand Theft Auto 5 chatter is also throwing up some tasty insight into the series’ past, and Rockstar vice president Dan Houser has shed light on the studio’s reaction to the infamous ‘Hot Coffee’ sex mini-game scandal that broke out around GTA: San Andreas. It was an upsetting time, Houser suggests.

Speaking with The Guardian, Houser discussed the studio’s reaction to the fallout from the Hot Coffee content. It was left out of the core game but left in the source code and was subsequently discovered then flagged up by hackers, sparking a media outcry that led to staff members being interrogated by the Federal Trade Commission.

Houser recalled, “It was draining and upsetting, a tough time in the company,” and added, “The massive social decay that we were supposed to induce hasn’t happened. So in that regard, a lot of those debates that used to go on, they’re not such a big deal now.

“We never felt that we were being attacked for the content, we were being attacked for the medium, which felt a little unfair. If all of this stuff had been put into a book or a movie, people wouldn’t have blinked an eye. And there are far bigger issues to worry about in society than this.”

What’s your take on the Hot Coffee blow-out? Was it too much, or should Rockstar have been more careful? Let us know below.

Thanks Kotaku AU.



  1. uomoartificiale

    I get what he’s saying about being attacked for the medium and not for the content. But at the same time how are you supposed to be taken seriously when you have content like that and you are so relevant for the medium you are prodcucing content for (ok they cut it out, but still…)?

    Anyway, considering that this year we all played Journey, that seems like a thousand years ago…

    #1 2 years ago
  2. TD_Monstrous69

    If “Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto” is anything to go by, Rockstar Games could’ve defended itself a bit better during that whole fiasco. But then again, that’s an unauthorized biography (meaning, no involvement from Rockstar Games, other than past interviews with former Rockstar employees, and old interviews of both Houser brothers), but still, an interesting read none the less, same with the article from The Guardian. Can’t wait for GTA V, I eagerly await my issue of Game Informer to show up in the mail, because my Digital Subscription’s not working for some reason. Hope this makes an appearance at the VGA’s, but I’m not counting on it.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dave Cook

    @2 Worth reading mate? I’ve got a copy of Masters of Doom still waiting to be read. I hear both are great.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. TD_Monstrous69

    @ Dave Cook You couldn’t go wrong reading either, both are great reads (though I can only really speak for Jacked).

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Dave Cook

    @4 Nice :) I think I’ll buy Jacked. I’m from Scotland too, so I know a few ex-DMA Design people up in Dundee who are still making games now, and I used to live 5 minutes from the Rockstar North office, this big, black, monolithic building with tinted windows so you can’t see a damn thing inside. You wouldn’t even know it was their office.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. TD_Monstrous69

    @ Dave You don’t say. Well funny story, didn’t even know Rockstar North was based in Scotland till I looked it up on gamedevmap about a year ago. Would’ve thought with their headquarters being in NYC, that North would’ve meant the same place seeing as how NYC is in the North-East of the US. Learning new stuff everyday I suppose. Though I will say about Jacked, it tells a story from multiple perspectives, kinda makes me wonder if they were reading this at all during development?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Dave Cook

    @6 Yeah, and Edinburgh – which is where I’m from and where Rockstar North is based – always goes big on celebrating each GTA launch. You can tell when you pass a studio employee in the streets because they wear a tshirt with the games number on it

    When GTA 4 was in development, R* employees would walk around with black shirts with just the ‘IV’ logo on it. I got drinking with one once and he told me tons of stuff about it off the record. Was mad.

    They also go billboard crazy. They put a giant cloth poster over the side of an entire building showing Niko putting on his gloves with the message. ‘Edinburgh, Home of Grand Theft Auto IV’

    Some older people took offence to that as they don’t want our country being represented by such an ‘evil’ game ;)

    #7 2 years ago
  8. rafterman83

    Double quote.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Dave Cook

    @8 what do you mean? If you mean the headline then I kept it single as it’s not the full quote. You have to be careful with headline quotes or people get upset. I don’t want to make Rockstar upset, they have ten high priced lawyers ;)

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Da Man

    Poor poor Houser.

    Refrain from including shitty mini-games, which do nothing positive for your so called ‘medium’ then. Simple.

    I’m sure 12 years olds disagree.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. TD_Monstrous69

    @ Da Man Read “Jacked: The Outlaw Story Of Grand Theft Auto”, and you might have a difference in opinion.
    Also, @ Dave Cook, only wish I could’ve seen what u described, can only imagine what they might do for GTA V, and as far as old people, screw them and their ignorance.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. zinc

    I wonder why Farenhiet (Zodiac Conspiracy in the USA?) never got attacked for its player controlled sex scenes?

    Did the people who get offeded over that type of thing just figure its what to expect from a fruity Frenchman?

    #12 2 years ago
  13. fightclubdoll


    Houser recalled, “It was draining and upsetting, a tough time in the company”, and added, “It was draining and upsetting – a tough time in the company.

    Interesting story though. =-)

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Dave Cook

    @13 Ah I see it now, thanks :P

    @11 Yeah they really go all out. Not every day Scotland makes one of the biggest things in the world ;)

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Da Man


    Could you please summarize that in a couple of sentences? Just the main point.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. rafterman83

    @13 got it. That’s what I meant ;)

    #16 2 years ago
  17. NocturnalB

    Dave you’re from Scotland?? Thought you were a Sorry I’m still new here.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. TheWulf

    So… basically they’re saying that GTA V for the PC was delayed because they didn’t feel comfortable promising a release date until they’d gone over it with a fine tooth comb to ascertain whether any questionable content was hidden away in there?

    How scandalous!!

    (Sorry. Sorry.)

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Cobra951

    My take is that it was political horseshit. It’s much easier for politicians to attack game companies than the deficit, or our real mortal enemies. Games are such a convenient foe for them. They still cling to the notion that games are strictly the domain of children. In the guise of protecting children, usurping freedoms for political gain becomes viable, and quite scary.

    #19 2 years ago

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