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GTA 5: misogyny, teeth-pulling and subjectivity

Friday, 20 September 2013 15:21 GMT By Dave Cook

Grand Theft Auto 5 has come under fire this week from critics and gamers alike for its portrayal of women and one particularly ‘taboo’ scene. VG247′s Dave Cook discusses the week that was. WARNING: SPOILERS.

No really, this is your second and last SPOILER WARNING.

As expected, Rockstar North’s fifth core GTA game launched to near-perfect scores across the board this week. At the time of writing Metacritic tracks the Xbox 360 version at 98/100, while the PS3 build rests at 97/100. Yet as the days rolled on and the world had a chance to sleep on the matter, several questions have been raised about the game’s misogynistic tone and one playable scene involving a man being graphically tortured.

It’s a playable scene that rewards a completion score depending on how many implements you use to hurt a man – an innocent man I might add – strapped shirtless to a chair. You can water-board him, break a knee-cap with a wrench, electrocute him with a car battery and if you’re feeling particularly savage, extract a tooth with a pair of pliers. The scene can’t be skipped, and you lose a fraction of your final mission percentage if you exert mercy and skim over any of the tools.

This has got a lot of people upset, and many gamers are now asking why critics failed to either highlight the scene in their reviews, or dock the game points for its gratuitous nature. I’m no prude, and I enjoy wanton violence in movies and games – hell, I even watched the fourth Rambo film last night with a friend and that is absolutely horrific – but I too felt uneasy when I guided Trevor’s hand.

I also have to point out that when writing my own appraisal of GTA 5, I hadn’t witnessed that scene. If memory serves it’s about 22-25% into the core plot-line. I played for nine hours and didn’t even get that far due to side-quests and such, but why did it make my skin crawl? After all, GTA games have always done this sort of thing, and always with an erect tongue bursting through its own cheek. So there’s no need to get upset about it, right?

Well no, that sort of thinking can’t be used as a blanket ‘get out of jail free card’ any more. In fact, it could never apply to the GTA series because as I’m sure you’re all well aware, it has long-existed as a parody of American life, criminality and the falsehoods of everyday life. Jokes are subjective to begin with, and while one person may find a particular joke hilarious, another might find it offensive. Where do you draw the line between observational humour about a particular class of person before it becomes prejudice? Do you laugh at racist jokes? Is the death of a celebrity cause for humour or shock?

Personally, no, these things absolutely are not funny, but like it or not, agree or not, each person will answer these questions differently. That’s the nature of the world we live in, and that too is the nature of parody. Some of us will view the torture scene as some sort of statement on how readily American security firms such the FBI and the CIA persecute those of Middle Eastern descent as potential terrorists without proper grounds to do so. We saw it happen on the news after 9/11, with stations like FOX regularly slapping images of men from different ethnic backgrounds on the screen and calling them villains.

”I found it to be vulgar, and it really didn’t have to be a playable scene, but does this mean I’m shitting on the game or saying it’s crap? Not at all, and I think some gamers are too quick to savage critics for saying anything negative about the game. I think some of the flack aimed at reviewers on this issue is appalling in many cases, and completely unwarranted.”

I – personally – feel that the scene wasn’t a statement about anything to do with press scape-goating or profiling. To me it was mean-spirited and another in a long-line of Rockstar ‘shock-tactics’ (most of which I’ve enjoyed over the years as black humour, so this is not a dig at the studio at all). Is this literally the case? I have no idea. I’d have to ask the Housers, but they’re impossible to get on the phone. In the end, this is what I personally read into the scene. It’s this subjectivity, the ways in which our past, upbringing and varying levels of intelligence allow us to perceive the meaning of parody, jokes and themes.

GTA 5 is not light on varying observational themes, and much like the player’s personal emergent stories throughout the plot, it speaks to each person on different levels. If you feel it was just harmless banter then who am I to argue with you? I can raise my concerns, but I also understand that they probably won’t change your views the matter. We are all different at the end of the day.

This also applies to GTA 5 reviewers. I don’t believe that any game is beyond criticism, but I suspect that many critics out there were either cramming the game too fast to give the scene a second thought, or simply didn’t find it offensive at the time. Some reviews mentioned the scene and other nagging concerns, but still dished out high scores. That’s because these elements are subjective and may not apply to all who play the game. This isn’t an easy thing for critics to gauge, as docking games for these ‘taboo’ occurrences is to veer away from objectivity and closer to editorialising.

Again, I found it to be vulgar, and it really didn’t have to be a playable scene, but does this mean I’m shitting on the game or saying it’s crap? Not at all, and I think some gamers are too quick to savage critics for saying anything negative about the game. I think some of the flack aimed at reviewers on this issue is appalling in many cases, and completely unwarranted. I get it, you love GTA, but that doesn’t make it impervious to criticism. No game is perfect. That’s just a fact.

However, where I do feel the game stumbles – and if I’d known its true extent I would have mentioned it in this blog – is in its portrayal of women. There either there to be rescued, shouted at, fucked, to be seen fucking, put up with, killed, heard prattling away like dullards on their mobile phones or shopping. Is this also a statement about the portrayal of women in American media and/or action movies? Possibly, but again for me, personally, it didn’t take.

I put up with it at first expecting there to be some more central, female character who was capable of fending for herself. I’m now over 13 hours in and aside from the female hacker I hired on the game’s initial heist, I’m yet to encounter a woman who fits this description. I truly believe that there should be such a character in there – not through obligation alone – but because this would have been a refreshing spin on the format we’ve been used to. Imagine if the game’s villain was a ruthless, smart and deadly female like GTA 3′s Catalina? It would at least serve as a counter to the dumb, blonde stereotypes I’ve seen so far.

I’ve not finished the game so who knows; maybe there are stronger female characters in the game that I’m yet to meet, but so far, they’re all unlike any woman I’ve ever met. I’m aware that GTA 4′s informant Michelle was something of a manipulative dark horse and Kate was actually quite grounded, but something about GTA 5′s female quotient is – so far – simply not doing it for me. Does it ruin the experience? Nope, and that’s because it’s subjective, and maybe I am missing a joke here, but like many thigh-slappers heard around the water-cooler I simply amn’t finding it funny.

There’s a strong chance I’ll be hauled over coals for this blog – like my infamous Wonderful 101 review that many people mis-read as me saying I wanted the game to fail when actually, I said repeatedly that I liked it – but I want to make clear one last time and in bold words: I don’t think these points raised dilute the overall quality of GTA 5, I just personally found them to be in poor taste, just like I might find a graphic scene in a film a bit stomach-turning. I braved it, soldiered on and enjoyed myself at large.

If you liked those scenes then that’s fine, I have absolutely no problem with you liking that, because again, GTA 5 is a subjective piece of entertainment, but I think there needs to be some consideration for the objective review process. It’s a delicate line to walk, and I feel that many of us need to take a step back and see that raising these issues may not a sleight against the game as a whole, and that no title, regardless of its standing, is beyond criticism.

All this said, what is your view on these two issues and the week’s events?

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72 Comments

  1. Un-HolyMOTHERofGOD

    It wouldn’t be a GTA game without people whining about it. Racist, sexist, whatever. You people should just avoid playing these types of games. You know, games that are politically incorrect.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    @1 Nobody is “whining”. Its just debate. Don’t be so reactionary.

    Gamers should be inviting this discussion, not attacking it. It does a disservice to the industry not to.

    “This has got a lot of people upset, and many gamers are now asking why critics failed to either highlight the scene in their reviews, or dock the game points for its gratuitous nature.”

    This could totally be reading into it too much, but maybe that’s half the point. If someone is willing to go through with those scenes they are apparently repulsed by for the sake of a shiny virtual metal, surely that says more about you than it does about the game. You don’t *have* to use all the torture methods after all.

    Like I said, probably reading into it too much. Hahaha.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. majicship

    I totally agree with you Dave. I am watching my teenagers play this game and while it does look like an exceptional bit of coding, I am appaled by the over use of the term ‘nigga’. How does this work? How can any culture that calls one another nigga and its women ho’s ever expect to move on culturally? I am also disapointed that Rockstar feels the need to paint this picture. What’s more, it’s not like Rockstar makes shitty games. Max Payne and Red Dead Redemption were both wonderful, and neither were culturally offensive. I had started to hope that Rockstar had finally grown up, but no. I was wrong. This is no longer parody. It is mimicry. I would have scored it an 8/10.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Mike W

    Nice piece Dave honestly, but with all due respect a good percent of us come here to read your opinion on whether it’s a good game or not.

    This whole other agenda of reviewers being these white knights for these virtual women is really not needed.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Ireland Michael

    @3 I find the word abhorrent myself, but I’m not going to criticise a story where the characters are raised in that kind of culture, especially when it’s entirely intended to be a deliberate exaggeration, as GTA always has been.

    “neither were culturally offensive”

    I’m sure Brazilians and Mexicans would probably disagree with on that one.

    Grand Theft Auto games have always been “culturally offensive”. GTA is not meant to be a moral guidance teacher.

    “I am watching my teenagers play this game…”

    Well…

    Surely you knew this game wasn’t suitable for children? It’s your decision as a parent I guess, but I know I wouldn’t let me one kids touch this until they were adults and made the decision to play it themselves, when they’re old enough to understand the context of the game’s “controversial” content.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Stephany Nunneley

    On a totally unrelated note, the person who coined the term “white knighting” – and I don’t care in what context it is being used (women, animals, race, color, food, creed, shapes, sexual orientation, hairstyles) – needs slapped. I suppose the term “black knighting” is also used? If so I never heard of it. (just a pet peeve of mine – carry on nothing to see here) :p

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Mineral4r7s

    I have only read the first quarter of this posting but isn’t it something good that, we, the evil blood, gore, anger and hate loving gamers are disgusted by something like that? Its a job well done by Rockstar I’d say. They treat the medium like everyone wants it, like adults and now it does so and we are disgusted? Awesome! I am probably never going to play GTA5 as there is no PC version at the moment and making GTA4 run on my PC through all the DRM was something far more horrifying than anything in any game could ever be.

    So I’d say this is a good thing.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. yeoung

    I’d like to chime in on this. Female parts/characters, even moreso in movies than games, tend to be annoying and cliched plot devices. Hysterical, dimwitted and more often than not, plain useless, women, for the most part, tend to be used as plot or gameplay-devices in the same way that objects or events are.

    Though I believe cable tv to be the biggest offender, game writers as a collective aren’t doing much to counteract the stigma. That said, in modern day society a lot of women are shallow and vacuous as much as their male counterparts. Stupidity is rampant, portrayal of this sad state of affairs could be considered a somewhat biased, though depressingly accurate vertical slice of human society.

    Not excusing lazy character design, simply stating that the discrepancy between real and fictional characters might not be such a hard line. An uncomfortable truth (or opinion, depending on your philosophical bend), I’m sure.

    (general assessment, haven’t played GTA V yet, misogyny could be more egregious than I imagine the laughable standard to be)

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Ireland Michael

    @6 Multi-culturally sensitive knighting!

    =P

    Men can only have opinions about the way women should be treated when they’re trying to look good in front of them, so that they can get laid. It couldn’t possibly be that they simply, you know, have opinions on the subject.

    ——

    There’s no misogyny in GTA5. Everyone is treated as a stereotype, a cliche, and the worst humanity has to offer, male or female.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Stephany Nunneley

    @9 “There’s no misogyny in GTA5. Everyone is treated as a stereotype, a cliche, and the worst humanity has to offer, male or female.”

    That’s pretty much how I feel about it as well. Then again, each one I have played – and I do this with all games, really if there is a choice – my “real life” morals spill over into the game.

    Like, I feel bad if I run over a pedestrian in these games. Yet, I had no problem beating a hooker up to get my money back. I must be broken inside or have some sort of deep rooted issue with hookers swiiming around in my subconscious. :D

    #10 2 years ago
  11. FrayJoker

    This is a damn good piece, and there’s some damn good discussion going on. Makes a refreshing change of pace, though I have an impending sense of derailment.

    Before we reach that point. I want to chime in that what I’ve seen so far of GTAV just seems exceptionally lazy when it comes to characterisation. That the only reason not even one of the protagonists could be female was not out of creative vision, but out of inconvenience. It’s inconvenient to depict women as violent gangsters. It’s inconvenient to humanise a woman in a setting that objectifies them. (And don’t even try to convince me that “gangster” culture has any kind of respect for women, in the words of Scroobius Pip “Thou shalt remember that guns, bitches and bling were never part of the four elements and never will be.”)

    To me this is what made Mass Effect so interesting. That the words of a generic space marine put in a woman’s mouth gave her compelling depth. Amongst the very many stereotypes of women held in fiction, “tough, ruthless and militarized” are not common characteristics. If it worked there, why the hell couldn’t Trevor be some methed out dyke with the exact same script? Why not take that lazy tired stereotype and try to do something genuinely new and exciting with it?

    #11 2 years ago
  12. mark_t50

    I personally just don’t get the fuss around it, this is a game, pure fantasy just like a fictional novel, fictional movie, fictional TV show etc.

    Why does it need to represent women in a certain way, or black people, or religions, or homosexuals or whatever. It’s a game where you run around killing people, robbing people and where women are there for the boobs. I personally see nothing wrong in it because it is pure fantasy and for me fantasy doesn’t have to be politically correct and tick all the boxes when it comes to women’s rights, gay rights, race rights or whatever.

    All these things are more importantly real world issues that of course are hugely important, but I just see them as not being important/relevant in the context of a GTA game, maybe that’s just me though.

    As for the torture bit, honestly didn’t bother me at all, I simply cannot see past it being a game and not real at all, maybe with the visuals in the next gen it might be a different story, but for now it just didn’t have the impact on me that it seems to have had on others.

    I cannot help but feel that there would not be the same sensitivity around these issues if they were depicted in a movie for example. We like to think of gaming as being not only for kids, but adults as well, in which case it is about time we stopped being so shocked when games start displaying things of an adult nature imho.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Fin

    This comments section is going to be a laugh.

    I’m about 12 hours in, there’s been a few points already that’ve been in bad taste/quite misogynistic – there’s a section where Trevor and Wayne are lecturing another character on his girlfriend, then they comment that she’s not a looker. Wasn’t a fan of that scene.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Cobra951

    Because of the spoilers warning, I can’t read the piece. So my comment is necessarily a generalization. This is a game, filled with drawings and polygon models. No real persons were harmed during the making of this game. No real rights were violated either. It’s fiction, people. We destroy entire worlds in fiction, and no one gets their panties in a bunch over that.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. TMRNetShark

    If I remember correctly, there was a line of movies named after a particular tool that had torture and violence that was 100 times more extreme than anything in video games, including GTA V.

    Oh yeah, Saw.

    SPOILERS (for the movie that is). The movies depicted a person having their limbs turned around until finally the machine made his head turn around, killing him graphically. Another one had the person needing to saw their hand and fore arm in half length wise to “proceed” to the next area. Where was the outrage then?

    But no, we ignore it in other mediums and focus in on it in video games. People, this happens in real life, every day. People get tortured and no one says a word or lifts a finger about it. When it happens in a video game, then it’s immoral and shouldn’t be done. Does anyone see that Rockstar has made the critics of the scene into hypocrites? Hell, it even ended with the most delusional character saying that real torture is absolutely pointless when trying to get information, noting that people will say anything to get the torturing to stop.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. yeoung

    #15:

    One could argue an interactive v non-interactive or spectator v participant difference between the forms of media. One would miss the point by a nautical mile, but one might be so inclined either way.

    #12

    I completely agree with your point of view in the sense that a physical world socio-moral paradigm is not applicable to a fictional world. Be that as it may, I would like a more varied character palette in all forms of media, regardless of whether or not it is grounded in moralistic righteousness on the developer’s/writer’s part.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. yeoung

    @Dave Cook:

    I’d like to reiterate, but address it specifically to you, Dave; Would you rather have more interesting, though perhaps not “morally acceptable”, characters regardless of their genitalia as an exercise in artistic vision, or would you prefer more varied characters as a depiction of real world percieved social individuality?

    #17 2 years ago
  18. silkvg247

    Steady on Dave, I dared to complain that out of three main characters not even one could be female.. and I got trolled and flamed, hard.

    Thanks for confirming that the game won’t appeal to me personally. These days I need to relate with the story and characters to enjoy a game.. otherwise it’s just same old same old.

    Oh and I have no desire to virtually torture someone.

    The problem with GTA is that since GTA4 it isn’t a parody anymore. The tongue in cheek thing no longer applies here and hasn’t for some time. Saints Row is a better example of tongue in cheek.. or it was before it went mental. :)

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Ireland Michael

    @10 That would explain a lot of things…

    I kid, I kid!

    @15 In video games’ defence, the interactive element makes it a somewhat different experience. You always have the benefit of being a passive onlooker during a movie, whereas in a video game you’re the one directly in control of those actions, which makes it a somewhat more personal affair.

    That’s not a comment for or against any of this. Just a personal observation.

    The fact that video game are even capable of creating this sort of debate is a good thing.

    @18 I’d have to agree, to a point. A lot of it has shifted from parody to just straight up black comedy. I’d say they’re definitely trying to go for some sort of commentary on their stories nowadays. Of course, whether they succeed at that or not is another debate altogether.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Yoshi

    SPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERS

    Okay I’ve not completely finished yet and I’m about up to this torture mission myself.

    Now, the first time we ever meet Trevor he kills Johnny from gta4. When we all played Lost & Damned we thought “damn these guys are pretty messed up and crazy” but the fact that Trevor kills Johnny in the first few minutes of meeting him, is a notice to us, the players that the Lost & Damned was nothing compared to Trevor. Trevor is the fucking anti-christ, he’s the most fucked up character Rockstar has ever created within the GTA series and possibly in their careers.

    So what did I think of this mission? Well if I’m honest, I’d say it fit perfectly within GTA5. Trevor is messed up. If it was Michael or Franklin doing the torturing then yes, it would have been stupid. [Unless they had a gun to their heads, maybe.] But for the choice to be Trevor just gave us a further notice that Trevor is still fucked up, BUT at the end of that mission, he does however let the guy get away. SO maybe with Michael being around, Trevor gets a sense of humanity.

    No one can say this mission felt out of place. Did some people feel uneasy playing it? Sure, but that’s just because it was messed up. The whole idea of that mission is to show again, how Trevor is. Trevor is messed up, more than anyone we’ve ever met in the GTA series.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. ShiiRo

    @3 It’s not Rockstar’s job to determine how one culture should act. They’re trying to create a believable world and they wouldn’t do so if they ignored certain words just because it makes people uncomfortable.

    Aside from that point, don’t you find it odd that you’re apparently more offended by a 5 letter word than you’re about a game where the primary objective is to commit various crimes?

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Gigabomber

    Torture is part of the criminal underworld. Particularly Trevors type of underworld. You don’t mind shooting people in the face, but wince at a little tooth pulling? how about the innocent man that was shot because of the information? missed that part?

    It was anti-torture, morons. Trevor every SAYS IT.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. xFidelCashflow

    I’m black. I say ‘nigga’ on a daily basis as much as Franklin x Lamar do in the game. I don’t get offended when other races say it either, unless they use it in a disrespectful manner, which usually ends with an er instead of an a. Every time its used I just hear a normal conversation. That torture scene didn’t make me cringe at all, I used all the devices. Didn’t even see it as more than just business. I grew up seeing worse than that from my front porch in Detroit

    But the way the men treat women in Los Santos…that shit doesn’t sit right with me at all. I don’t condone it in real life, so being forced to watch it play out over & over with EVERY female in a game that’s made for entertainment…kinda takes away from the experience. About 55% done, still hasn’t changed. Its pretty sick

    But with all that, its still one of the best games I’ve ever played. The misogyny is horrible, but its still worthy of the high reviews its received

    #23 2 years ago
  24. YoungZer0

    “You can water-board him, break a knee-cap with a wrench, electrocute him with a car battery and if you’re feeling particularly savage, extract a tooth with a pair of pliers.”

    Yeah, I guess you missed another part. If you use the wrench again, as I did, he doesn’t break the other knee-cap, he busts his balls. You see his pants soaking up the blood.

    I guess they wanted to say something with the scene, I just think they completely failed at it.

    Had to disagree one the misogyny part though. I think everybody in this game is a shitty and useless person. Take the genders away and you’ll see that everything you complained about fits to every single character in the game. They are all incompetent idiots. Nobody gets away with anything here. Personally I think the games story telling and writing simply isn’t for me. It’s not funny anymore, just exhausting, because they never really stop.

    Seriously how fucking annoying was Trevor at the end of the game?

    @13: “I’m about 12 hours in, there’s been a few points already that’ve been in bad taste/quite misogynistic – there’s a section where Trevor and Wayne are lecturing another character on his girlfriend, then they comment that she’s not a looker. Wasn’t a fan of that scene.”

    And that’s misogynistic how exactly? I don’t think you know what the word exactly means. Trevor said that Wayne’s (The fuck is that again?) girlfriend is ugly therefore he hates all women? Is that the logic you use here?

    @15: “If I remember correctly, there was a line of movies named after a particular tool that had torture and violence that was 100 times more extreme than anything in video games, including GTA V.”

    But was it interactive and were you forced to complete it in order to progress in a story that never had anything to do with the subject of torture?

    @18: “I dared to complain that out of three main characters not even one could be female.. and I got trolled and flamed, hard.”

    I say they dodged a bullet there. I bet you’d be the first one to complain when they presented the female character in a way you don’t agree with.

    @21: “They’re trying to create a believable world”

    LOL, You don’t really believe that, do you?

    Oh and can we talk about how fucking terrible the story is? The pacing was all over the place and there wasn’t even a red line to follow. I was bored half of the time. I only played it to get to the Heist missions and there was only a handful of them. Inexcusable if you ask me.

    They should get actual writers on the next GTA. All Houser seems to be able to pull off is write annoying caricatures and nothing else. Can’t relate to those. It completely falls apart when you’re told to rescue someone you want dead, like Michael’s entire family.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. lookingglass

    That mission is genius. The game is so violent already, but it’s that one scene that makes you feel terrible. Kudos to Rockstar. It’s mind boggling so many people don’t get it.

    You kill hundreds of cops, hit and run hundreds of pedestrians, and assassinate people without trial, yet torturing one man makes you feel uneasy?

    That mission is a mirror into human psychology. As long as violence is impersonal, it’s fine. But the moment you experience true empathy, it become terrible.

    Maybe all violence is just as horrible, but the mind can’t handle so much pain so it just makes it impersonal.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. ShiiRo

    @24 Yeah, I do believe it. Believable in the sense that the characters fit their settings. And they all do in this game. They can’t and shouldn’t avoid using certain language simply because it makes some people uncomfortable.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. majicship

    @5 They ar e18 & 19 mate.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. hatstand

    @6
    The “white” in “white knighting” isn’t a racial thing. It’s a reference to fantasy stereotypes, wherein black knights are evil, white knights/paladins are good, etc. And no, that isn’t a racial thing either.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Ireland Michael

    @28 We know. It wasn’t intended to be taken seriously.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Djoenz

    lol someone here should google about the Godmother. She was richer than Pablo Escobar and more vicious than some mafia bosses.

    http://www.heavy.com/news/2012/09/griselda-blanco-godmother-cocaine-killed-facts-bi/

    There are enough psycho women on earth to have as a inspiration for GTA V. They didnt include a female char like this? Then thats freaking lazy!

    I havent bought it yet, but I will soon when its not outsold anymore.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Stardog

    I don’t get the big deal. One character in a story does something to another character. What about in Heavy Rain where you have to chop your own finger off? You don’t even have proper control of it.

    I was more offended by being forced to do the yoga.

    Anyway, the story and cutscenes in GTA V are crap.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. stalepie

    “I played for nine hours and didn’t even get that far due to side-quests and such, but why did it make my skin crawl?”

    Because you were imagining doing something bad. It’s wrong to torture people, especially the innocent. You’d probably feel even worse if you did it to someone in real life.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. ninjanutta

    The game is funny as,ITS A GAME…ITS A GAME..You dont have watch the cut scenes,its meant to cut a fine line and everybody knows what gta is about so why moan about it.Im really bored of hearing the complaints and to be honest,most of whats portrayed in gta 5 is true and accurate to real life anyway,i hear people talk like that on a daily basis and the political stuff is spot on.Rockstar have done it again,they cause hype and every one talks good or bad about the game,but they still talk….Amazing.Funny.I love it.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. xxJPRACERxx

    “GTA is a fantasy, real world is not like that”…

    I don’t know in which dream world you live in, but real life is just like that. Sure they joke about it but still.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luka_Magnotta

    This happened 10 minutes from where I live. Stop playing video games and watching movies and go out of your house at 2am in the morning and just drive anywhere and watch and listen, you’ll see what the real world is.

    GTA V is perfect! (except for slowdown and aliasing)

    #34 2 years ago
  35. GwynbleiddiuM

    I haven’t got it for my PS3 yet but from the moment I heard that GTA V has 3 playable characters and all of them male – all I could think of was that they don’t like to have a strong female position in their games. And that’s what I dislike about GTA the most, out of this many addition to the series there’s not even one interesting female character let alone a playable one.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. Diingo

    If women truly want to lead by example for this debate then they should point out the misusage of men being violent criminals in the game — instead, they only focus on women rather than both genders. This is hypocrisy on a whole new level.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. TheWulf

    The thing is is that they need the shock tactics. They needed it and Volition didn’t. Why? To break up the repetition.

    Grand Theft Auto swings back and forth between pointless gratuity that lacks any context, and a fetishistic need to be anally retentive about a believable representation of reality (which turns out to be boring). So they need to do this stuff to actually bring players out of the back and forht every once in a while, and it’s very artificial.

    This explains the situation eloquently.

    Much of that video bored me to tears. Then suddenly there was the gratuity of blowing up a helicopter for no good plot related reason, and then MY GOD YOU KILLED A DEER, YOU MONSTER, NOW FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE AS YOU LOOK AFTER THIS FAWN. And people fall for it without actually realising how artificial it all is.

    Yet it’s never meaningful or fun, to me. It’s a very, very pointless thing. It’s not really a game, to my mind. It’s not an experience, either, beyond living a really bad action film. Though I wouldn’t want to even watch an action film whose plot is so terrible that they have to continuously cuss without barely breathing for air to throw you off of examining it too closely.

    So it doesn’t make me feel anything. And I don’t feel elation. I don’t feel joy. I remember in Saints Row IV, the game had me climb a tower at one point, and at the top there was a spaceship because why not. So I went flying around for a bit, before landing it and getting back to things. This is what Saints Row IV does in place of shock tactics — it utilises fun. Imagine that.

    I honestly don’t think Rockstar make good games — or good experiences. And that’s just my opinion, everyone is welcome to their own, but any appeal of these sorts of games just goes over my head.

    Yay realism. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Gratuitous violence, which is just so pointless it’s boring. Bored. Bored. Realism. Bored. Bored. Realism. Bored. Gratuity. Bored. ERMAHGERD SHOCK TACTICS. Bored. Bored. Bored. Braindead. Bored.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. TheWulf

    @36

    A person only focusing on issues which are relevant to them, which they have an emotional stake in as a discriminated against group. Imagine that.

    That’s like saying that gay rights activists should talk about issues relating to straight people just to be ‘balanced.’

    I’m sorry, but you’re just not very bright.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. TheWulf

    @35

    Pretty much. I love how Saints Row tries to level the playing field a little in this regard, even in how you can have a fully voice-acted lady as the boss. That’s on par with BioWare, which you wouldn’t expect from this sort of game.

    This is why I have pointed out that below all the stupid fun within the game, there is a higher-brow lurking beneath. And if you look beyond that, it’s actually not hard to see. I just feel that in the production of SR IV, Volition had better standards. That’s why my chosen product is SR IV, not GTA V.

    It may be weird to say it, but if you stop and consider this, it’s completely true.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. TheWulf

    Guh. One horrible thing keeps occurring to me. That people actually like the shock tactics because they’re into schlock entertainment and reality television. That there are people out there who actually enjoy sitting down to watch a program where they watch other people eat kangaroo balls.

    I keep forgetting this. It’s the kind of person who, on 9/11, talked about how horrible the tragedy was, yet watched every bit of footage of it that they could. It just fascinated them on some level.

    So that’s why those shock tactics appeal to some people. I’m not really one of them, so I can’t relate. And I can’t say I approve, either.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. viralshag

    SR is filled with opportunities to kill, steal and cause destruction just like GTA. But then mindless violence gets a pass because it’s more fun?

    #41 2 years ago
  42. radiogeek

    Why are people talking about this? Do you at VG24/7 have nothing better to do than to spout some faux-feminist bullshit about “oh wah wah, there aren’t any women in the game” and “the torture scene scares me?” Watch Casino. Watch Goodfellas. Watch Scarface. I guarantee you’ll find far more graphic content in those films (which people regard as classics) than in any video game you’ve ever played, this one included.

    #42 2 years ago
  43. silkvg247

    @41 SR isn’t realistic.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. NinjaHart

    The game is rated 18 for a reason. And I don’t think anyone can deny that torture like that actually does happen. I’m not going to accuse any organisation of doing it, but we all know it does happen.

    As for the language, they did get real gang members to do the voice acting for a reason, to make it sound more realistic. Obviously it worked, I myself find the game very entertaining and fun to play.

    I rather enjoyed the torture scene, pretty much because it’s fun to do that stuff in games, as long as you can accept that it’s just a part of the games story and not put anything else into it, it shouldn’t be a problem. We do see these things A LOT more graphically in movies anyway.

    Lest that is my take on it.

    #44 2 years ago
  45. II-WAR-STEINER-II

    What is everybody talking about? Look at Conspiracy Theory there are good scenes about torture. Or watch Bond his nuts got cracked right?

    So pls shut the hell up i hate hypocrites. A movie is more reality like everything so let’s talk about Manhunt, no? FUCK OFF AND GO TO HELL AND DONT TALK ABOUT GTA5 OR VIDEOGAMES ANYMORE…

    #45 2 years ago
  46. Hcw87

    TheWulf, why don’t you stick to your indies/kickstarter games and stop talking shit about a game the vast majority of players enjoy. You never seem to enjoy ANY modern game whatsoever unless it’s a indie/kickstarted game.

    You also overgeneralize everything and you have a massive superiority complex. You’re annoying.

    This is the game of the generation and it will be Game of the Year (trust me on this), and a few scenes like this isn’t going to take away any points when the rest of the game is so fucking good.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. Hcw87

    Also, The Wire was such a crap TV-Show because kids below 15 got shot in the head, right?

    Get over yourselves, this is The Wire of games at the moment.

    #47 2 years ago
  48. GwynbleiddiuM

    @Hcw87 lol, GTA can’t hold a fucking candle to what The Wire is.

    #48 2 years ago
  49. Hcw87

    @48
    Ofcourse not, but until now there hasn’t been any game close to that greatness, until GTAV.

    I said ”The Wire of Gaming”.

    Point is, noone talked shit about the TV series even if it was hardcore as hell. Kids got tortured and abused, yet it was hailed as the best thing ever. Why is this game different?

    #49 2 years ago
  50. GwynbleiddiuM

    Because it was based on the reality of crime and what shit law enforcement officers go through on a daily basis to bring down crime organizations and how the game of politics destroys good police work. If it comes close to anything, and I’m not saying it’s there just yet it’s a bit of Sons of Anarchy just the violent bits and not what it tries to tell you through all that violence. It’s just violence for the sake of entertainment.

    Haven’t played this one yet but I know this because it’s a commercial success and a commercial success story will never try to hit you with hard facts and reality of a harsh world. It just shows you enough to make push them buttons and not get bored doing the same thing over all the time.

    #50 2 years ago
  51. Hcw87

    Well it certainly makes a character more interesting, instead of playing one dimensional good guys all the time.

    Trevor is an awesome character, and without extreme shit like this it wouldn’t be the same.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. viralshag

    @43, and GTA is? It’s got a more realistic tone but both games allow you to steal cars, rob people, blow stuff up and generally be a menace to society. A lot of the context of what you’re actually doing crosses over between the two so I really don’t see what the great divide is.

    Other than one is a game some people like and the other isn’t.

    #52 2 years ago
  53. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    All media – books, films, TV – is a reflection of human thought and human culture, not an instigator of it. If the real world wasn’t like this, media wouldn’t reflect it. If the torture scene makes you uncomfortable, then it’s job done; well done, you are a moral person.

    Point is, it’s SUPPOSED to make you feel uncomfortable.

    #53 2 years ago
  54. OmegaSlayer

    I think it’s a big problem when people finds hard to divide reality and visual fiction.
    Sometimes people has an immersion that is morbid.

    That’s what is really worrying.

    #54 2 years ago
  55. lop78

    @3&5 Don’t forget Italians, assuming I’m remember correctly in all the rockstar games Italians are just extremely broad ethnic stereotypes…..now that I think about it Italian-Americans kinds always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to games or movies they always seem to play idiots, alcoholic/drug addicts, or mobsters. Granted I haven’t seen every movie or played every game but i don’t recall any where an Italian was the president, general, scholar or any sorta pillar in the community. And no one seems to to have a problem with it, the only time anyone ever spoke up about the portrayal of Italians was during the Sopranos an Italian-American group spoke out about the portrayal and no one cared, maybe they didn’t have the right sexual organs or “tan” enough to make anyone give a shit.

    @18 Really you have to “relate with the story and characters to enjoy a game” it must be going on 10 years+ since you’ve enjoyed a game (or only play card an sports games) how do you relate to plumber travels to another world and has to jump on turtles heads, or super space solder has to save earth from alien invasion, or defending the alliance forces for hordes or orcs goblins giant cow men things and dragons, or whatever rayman story is…..ironically i think the gta stories are the most relatable, gta4 man has to help family member get out of the mess they made and gets caught up along the way, gta 5 dealing with dysfunctional family and friends trying to make some money.

    As far as the game goes I have a problem with the way men are portrayed. All of the main characters are homicidal, narcissistic, sociopath/psychopath who would rather run over the elderly on a sidewalk then wait for a stoplight to turn green. Matter of fact, I have a problem with the entire games industry for they’re portrayal of men in video games. All we ever do is kill stuff not once in any of the gears of war series did we sit down with the anyone from the locust horde and try to come to a mutual agreement. Or even Mario, over the last 30 years he’s slaughtered hundreds of thousands maybe even millions of kuppas and never had a dialog with bowser to reach a non violent resolution to getting the princess back. If you play as a man in a videogame the one thing you can be sure of is that something other then you is going to die and that just make us look like warmongering neanderthals and I for one will not stand for it any more.

    I am, of course, being sarcastic, I don’t care how any game, movie, tv show, book, or anything else portrays anyone. Why? cause its fiction getting upset at gta’s fever dream fiction on women is like getting upset with sharknado’s depiction of sharks it’s all just made up nothing. And if you believe that videogames are art (which if your on a videogame website reading comments you probably do) why are you messing with the developers art. For some reason rockstar decided to make this game this way, maybe they dont have enough women writers on staff and felt it would be a half baked character in the end, maybe a “strong” female in the lives of any of the main characters actually detracted from the story making less sense, maybe they felt if they did add women they would get backlash the other way saying they only feel like women are ruthless lunatic killers, or maybe they are all misogynist and think women are only good for stripping. It doesn’t really matter this is rockstars art, its masterpiece.

    #55 2 years ago
  56. Lounds

    Did no one play the Getaway on PS2?
    The cut scenes in that game we’re pretty brutal. Loved it!

    #56 2 years ago
  57. Hcw87

    After 30 hours of playing the game, i finally came to this point of the game.

    And i don’t think it has a negative effect on the game at all, i’ve seen far worse in movies/books etc. I don’t see why games should be any softer on things like this.

    Also it didn’t really come out of nowhere for me, and it perfectly built on Trevor’s character (The cutscene that follows after the torture scene), where he don’t exactly feel remorse, but he’s angry because he’s in that situation (forced by the FIB).

    So for me it only added to the experience. I didn’t enjoy it, but you don’t have to enjoy small things like these to make a game great.

    #57 2 years ago
  58. UuBuU

    Hacking civilians to death with a chainsaw in previous GTAs was fine, but breaking someones kneecap in an interrogation scene is distasteful and going too far …?

    I think if you’re going to be sensitive about the depiction of violence in a video game, you should just stay the hell away from GTA.

    #58 2 years ago
  59. solien

    hyyyy

    #59 2 years ago
  60. solien

    helo

    #60 2 years ago
  61. Talkar

    Just finished the game, and i enjoyed almost everything, including the torture scene. Way too few games have those. I don’t really understand the complaints about it. For the people who bought the game: If you bought a GTA game, why are you offended by violence? For those that didn’t: Why do you care? It is fictional…

    #61 2 years ago
  62. Maabren

    @55
    Spot on lop78!

    @Dave Cook
    Let video game developers make game as they intended to do. Its art, no boundaries, deal with it!

    #62 2 years ago
  63. tenthousandgothsonacid

    This is good

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/sep/21/grand-theft-auto-5-women-misogynistic-violent

    #63 2 years ago
  64. Rafa_L

    I wish this game was a failure =/

    #64 2 years ago
  65. YoungZer0

    So appearently there is also a scene with Trevor ‘raping’ Floyd in the game.

    I have not seen the scene, but from what I heard Trevor lies in bed with Floyd, who’s wearing women’s pyjama and while a halfnaked Trevor spoons him. Trevor walks away telling Floyd that he will spoon him next time. You can hear Floyd crying after leaving the house.

    Maybe we get to see it on Youtube soon.

    #65 2 years ago
  66. thbends

    39… Oldest guy by far at the midnight release. I agree with you about Trevor. I was really looking forward to playing him from the info I saw but I think Rockstar might have missed on him. He is shocking. I have never been uncomfortable playing a character until now. Everytime he loads I cringe.

    As for the women… I disagree. Most of the satire I get in this game. If you get offended it comes from your own experience. You could easily say the same about the men. That are all stereotypes. They treat the women bad and the women act crazy. Neither offend me… but Trevor… good Lord! Waking next to a dude in pink pajama’s crying in his sleep… WOW. That of course is just one of many “…did they really just go there?” moments.
    YES they did.

    #66 2 years ago
  67. bradk825

    There was a scene that drew fire in MW2, but they offered an option to skip it entirely if you so desire, or if not, you can go through the whole thing without firing a shot.

    As for the difference in the level of acceptability, I don’t know, I haven’t played GTA V. But I will say it sounds like MW2 did the edgy material component more wisely.

    I am one who believes anything that’s ok in a movie or novel is ok in a game, but whatever the storytelling mechanic, there are certain things that many find edgy if not offensive. I don’t mind that there is a torture scene, but the fact that the protagonist is the perpetrator is surprising to me, and so is the fact that you have to step up the cruelty if you want to be a completionist.

    #67 2 years ago
  68. bradk825

    @62 come on man, people have their right to form their own opinions of art, just like the artist has the right to make the art they want.

    #68 2 years ago
  69. PvtCrutch

    I have to ask it as I feel enough people are not. What exactly is wrong with being exposed to offensive materials? You were highly disturbed by the torture scene. Good, it means you’re a decent human being. By being exposed to offensive or grotesque subject matters it allows you to determine your values and morals as well as your limits. Which is a rather good thing in my opinion. I feel as if people aren’t made unconformable enough… You kind of need a good reminder every now and then that we live in a fucked up world. What better place to do that then entertainment? Its where most of us spend the majority of our free time.

    #69 2 years ago
  70. ELPsteel

    I think people are wildly missing the point of the Trevor torture scene. If you bother to pay attention to the events during/immediately after the scene, you would understand that it’s a very obvious political statement. As you’re driving the guy to the airport, Trevor’s monologue makes everything clear – according to Trevor, torture isn’t a particularly useful means of extracting information, it’s just something that people do to others to pleasure themselves. It was clear that Trevor was torturing the man for his own entertainment – he didn’t give a crap about the information that the guy was giving out. In fact, he has extreme distaste for following FBI orders, which is why he let him go rather than kill him.

    You might also notice that for the entire scene, the man is giving a rather generic description of a Middle Eastern person (“he has a beard” “he looks middle eastern” etc). Even though the information isn’t descriptive enough, the FBI has Michael kill a man because of it – this is very much satire of the US government assassinating/bombing “terrorist” targets at the drop of a hat, all while torturing captives who may or may not be guilty of anything! Then if you pay attention to the radio after the mission, you find out the guy you killed was actually a peaceful philanthropist who just had a Middle Eastern name.

    So yes, the torture scene is incredibly uncomfortable, but that’s the entire damn point – we SHOULDN’T be comfortable at all with this behavior happening anywhere, but when we hear about it in the news, most of us basically shrug it off. By putting us directly in control of this though, Rockstar has succeeded in hitting home where journalism does not. Trevor’s character reminds me of the Dark Knight’s Joker in some ways – his character is the darker side of humanity taken to the utmost extreme.

    I personally was more shocked by Trevor’s introductory cutscene…good lord!

    #70 1 year ago
  71. abislove

    Well all I have to say is that there is a reason why they don’t sale it to children. That is for every child’s parents to find out before they buy it. I think that yeah in real life is not a good thing to do all these. But is just a game sometimes people forget that.

    #71 1 year ago
  72. Vic 2.0

    Some of you are being quite disingenuous to imply that parents have all the power in the world to keep their kids from playing or otherwise seeing this game being played. One way or the other, we all know most kids are going to come into contact with some of the game’s worst content. So cut the bull. And considering that even some of us seasoned GTA gamers were a bit uneasy about some of the stuff they put in this one (They have simply gone too far), and considering how entirely unnecessary a lot of it is, there’s no reason we can’t give Rockstar at least SOME of the blame… because, you know… they’re the ones who made it that way?

    Now, ON TO THE TORTURE SCENE!

    “I think people are wildly missing the point of the Trevor torture scene. If you bother to pay attention to the events during/immediately after the scene, you would understand that it’s a very obvious political statement.”

    And what makes you think that justifies it? This is a frickin’ video game! The very reason soooooo many people didn’t like this mission was because they wanted to have FUN. Blow shit up, run people over, and move on with the action, not sit there and dwell on the suffering of one particular victim like some sicko. If they wanted to be depressed, they’d watch the news.

    “As you’re driving the guy to the airport, Trevor’s monologue makes everything clear – according to Trevor, torture isn’t a particularly useful means of extracting information, it’s just something that people do to others to pleasure themselves.”

    Leaving the point I just made aside, this has got to be the dumbest monologue in any video game, ever. First off, it’s not even true. VAST amounts of information have been extracted through torture in the real world. While I’m sure most torturers are psychos who get a kick out of it, it doesn’t mean they don’t also want the information they’re asking for. Secondly, it comes off more as Rockstar apologizing to the player for putting it in there in the first place, or some lame ass disclaimer (“Remember, kids, don’t try this at home”) All in all, it was just a dumb idea. They could’ve spent whatever time and energy they wasted on this, the yoga, and the dart-throwing on a jetpack, buyable safe houses, and gang wars/acquisition of territories. You know, something that’s actually FUN.

    “You might also notice that for the entire scene, the man is giving a rather generic description of a Middle Eastern person (“he has a beard” “he looks middle eastern” etc). Even though the information isn’t descriptive enough, the FBI has Michael kill a man because of it – this is very much satire of the US government assassinating/bombing “terrorist” targets at the drop of a hat, all while torturing captives who may or may not be guilty of anything! Then if you pay attention to the radio after the mission, you find out the guy you killed was actually a peaceful philanthropist who just had a Middle Eastern name.”

    IOW, you’re saying they wanted to make the statement that it’s wrong to kill and torture people because they MIGHT be a terrorist or have information on one… Sorry, doesn’t make it any better. We all know that already, ESPECIALLY those of us who found the scene disturbing. And some of those who DIDN’T find it disturbing probably just ended up being even more desensitized to it than they were to begin with. So again, there may have been an intention; but there was no point in this scene. At all.

    “So yes, the torture scene is incredibly uncomfortable, but that’s the entire damn point – we SHOULDN’T be comfortable at all with this behavior happening anywhere, but when we hear about it in the news, most of us basically shrug it off. By putting us directly in control of this though, Rockstar has succeeded in hitting home where journalism does not. Trevor’s character reminds me of the Dark Knight’s Joker in some ways – his character is the darker side of humanity taken to the utmost extreme.”

    Again, SO WHAT? It sounds like you are just admitting they wanted us to feel bad about it… just because. And that’s pretty sick of them, as our very first impression of the scene had already implied before you started typing. Sometimes, first impressions do in fact tell the truth.

    “I personally was more shocked by Trevor’s introductory cutscene…good lord!”

    Well it’s a good thing Rockstar is still good at putting shock value in their games; it is, after all, just about the only sort of “value” they can depended on for nowadays.

    #72 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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