Grand Theft Auto has evolved, it’s “not just about shooting anymore,” says Houser

Tuesday, 17th September 2013 20:21 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Grand Theft Auto 5 is about more than shooting things, according to Rockstar boss Dan Houser, and long time GTA fans know this: it’s an adventure full of cultural satire, humor, kick ass music, and about holding a mirror up to the dregs and upper crust of society. It’s come a long way since GTA 3, and Houser knows this.

Speaking with the [a]list daily, Houser said Rockstar was surprised over the success of its franchise, and says the continued success of it can be attributed to the firm staying true to its instincts, instead of relying on focus testing.

“Focus testing in 1999/2000 would never have predicted that a 3D gangster game was going to blow up,” he said. “Then having done that, no amount of focus testing would say do it in the ’80s. So doing stuff that is true to yourself, as opposed to what the market thinks it wants, that’s definitely something that we’ve always done and hopefully other people have followed suit.”

Even with the enormous growth of the games industry since the first GTA iteration, Houser feels Rockstar continues to grow alongside its audience.

“The audience has been gradually expanding – one of the things we wanted to try and do — and we did to some extent – is reach out to some older audience with LA Noire and go, ‘Hey, this game is a little bit slower. It’s definitely historically interesting. It’s more like interactive TV shows. It’s not twitch-based like some of those games. You might have a go with it and see what you think’,” he said.

“With content like that, you’re always trying to find a way of reaching different audiences. Even with the action games, we’re trying to constantly make them easier to play, and put different difficulty levels in them so the barely-skilled 18-year-old with very short nerve endings can play at the hardest level possible. And those of us who are more afraid or whatever to begin with can play on the easiest level.

“The games are hopefully getting good enough as pure adventures, and they’re interesting enough to play, that it’s not just about shooting anymore.”

GTA 5 is out today on PS3 and Xbox 360.

Thanks, GI International.



  1. Sini

    focus testing is the worse fucking thing you could possible do, unless I’m the sole tester of course, and even then it’s shaky ground.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Edo

    It’s also about stealing vehicles.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Djoenz

    GTA has always been about freedom. If you play this game just for shooting you are lame. If you play this game just for killing you are lame. GTA is all about freedom. Doing what you want without the boundaries of the government and society.


    I cant wait to get my hands on this baby!

    #3 1 year ago
  4. DSB

    Let’s try not to make it something it isn’t though. GTA III, Vice City, and (at least in part) San Andreas were largely made up of stuff that was stolen from other media. And that made it cool. It was like playing through a montage of pop culture criminality.

    It was funny and it was understood.

    GTA IV stands out the way it does because it tried to do something entirely different. Instead of simply ripping off characters from shows and movies that were already entertaining, they were suddenly doing characters whose main focus was being real, and in the process the Housers forgot to provide them with a reason to ever exist.

    They forgot to care about the entertainment part of the equasion.

    The obvious thing to compare it with is The Wire in my opinion. David Simon and Ed Burns are both hardcore realists, but unlike the Housers they were smart enough to know that nobody gives a shit about the truly unremarkable nobody.

    I’m not far into GTA V, but it seems like the tongue is back in cheek, so I’m not pessimistic about it :)

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Gheritt White

    Yup… now it’s about mindless, unjustified and abhorrent torture porn, too!


    #5 1 year ago
  6. Hcw87

    And we all love it.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. AngryConsumer

    its all about the torture now in gta5….

    #7 1 year ago
  8. stretch215

    Weirdos complain about polygons being tortured. This is a video game fellas.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Gheritt White

    @8: So you’d advocate portrayals of rape or pedophilia in a videogame as well, huh?

    #9 1 year ago
  10. gswat85

    The whole map feels so alive…I’ve got about 5 hrs in so far and I can’t remember the last time I was this addicted to a game

    #10 1 year ago
  11. zinc

    @9, Not in the West no… Japan on the other hand…

    #11 1 year ago
  12. YoungZer0

    Kind of bored with the game right now. I think I’ve poured over 20 hours into it and there still no resemblance of a real story in sight. Gameplay remains largely the same and since I played GTA IV for so many hours I’m not having too much fun.

    Los Santos is also very much inferior to Liberty City in design and structure.

    All I do is complete boring missions for trivial people and hope for some actual Heists missions to come.

    Gotta say though, the game is pretty damn stable and runs very consistant on the PS3.

    #12 1 year ago

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