GTA 5 character research was “eye-openingly depressing”, says Houser

Monday, 9th September 2013 12:11 GMT By Dave Cook

Grand Theft Auto 5′s character research was spread over 100 days and saw Rockstar staff conversing with FBI-agents, former Mafia members and some “eye-openingly depressing” experiences out in the sticks, according to Dan Houser.

In an interview with The Guardian, Houser shed new light on the team’s process, and explained the game’s three-pronged character approach. he said, “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.”

On troubled father Michael he added, “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.”

While researching for the game’s 1,000-page script, the team took to the streets of Los Angeles to nail the local flavours therein. House continued, “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.”

Seeing as GTA games like to lampoon and capture various aspects of American culture, it’s little wonder the volume of research that has gone into GTA 5′s character work.

GTA 5 hits PS3 and Xbox 360 on September 17.

Via OXM.



  1. Bloodstorm

    Wonder from where this parenting/criminal could come from…
    Signed W.W.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. KAP

    Most people who remember buying and playing GTA3 (like I did) now have a family and I just think It’s a nice touch that Rockstar has created a character like this almost like a mirror to its long time fans..

    Almost the same way Hideo Kojima did in Metal Gear Solid 4 in THAT section of the game…

    It’s something only a few of us will understand.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. whamdanglers

    You guys credited this quote to the wrong Houser. The interview was with Dan Houser, while your article cites Sam Houser as the source.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Vice

    Know what also is “eye-openingly depressing”, Rockstar? Your main characters’s design. Let us create our own characters finally for fuck sake…
    P.S.: have to add because of some possible smartasses: let us create them in a main OFFLINE game. I don’t play online.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. samgamgi

    @#4 If you want to tell the stories of two white men in their 40s and a black man in his 20s, the characters have to look like they are two white men in their 40s and a black man in his 20s. It’s simple as that.

    #5 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.