If you were a key cog at the studio producing, eh, notoriously violent titles like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, would you be embarrassed to the explain to the “normies” in your life what you do? Jeremy Pope was, and that’s why he left Rockstar Games a decade ago and is pursuing projects that he sees as more palatable to him.
“I would always kind of defend the games we were making and I was pretty proud of being involved, but then I would visit my grandmother… and have to explain what I do for a living, I didn’t feel so great about explaining to them that I was a part of ‘that game’ they’ve been hearing about,” Pope told Games Industry International, referring to how the GTA franchise has several times been blamed by some media outlets for influencing violent behavior in the real world.
Pope went on to found a mobile startup called Rally Games that would provide players with a perhaps calmer experience.
“What we’re focused on at Rally is really trying to push things on the social end. I think about what it is I enjoy most about games and it’s always interacting with other people, it’s multiplayer. And I think about where games really come from – guys gathering around rolling dice together – it was really about interacting with each other and not so much about ingesting something on your own.”
I highly recommend you read the full interview over at GI, because he says some interesting, I think, things about how the violence that permeates AAA titles jives, or doesn’t jive, with the stories that most of those games are trying to tell. It’s good reading.