GTA Director to Create Iranian Revolution Game

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GTA Director to Create Iranian Revolution Game

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The director of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City wants his next game to explore Iran's Islamic Revolution with multiple protagonists in an open world.

Gamers have pretty much seen it all: alien invasions, heroic quests, and worldwide fighting tournaments are all old hat. But when was the last time you explored a controversial moment in recent world history in a videogame? Navid Khonsari, who worked on Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas wants to give you that opportunity. His upcoming game 1979 will tackle the titular year's Islamic Revolution in Iran, using open-world gameplay and a variety of playable characters to explore subjects ranging from the infamous hostage crisis to the impending war with Iraq.

Khonsari, who left the GTA series a few years ago to develop titles like Alan Wake and Homefront, is uniquely suited to develop a game about this subject matter. He and his family emigrated to Canada at the start of the revolution. Now, Khonsari wants to use some of his real-world experience to create a more nuanced game world. "I'm interested in having good and evil within the same character," Khonsari explained in an interview with CNN. "I think that's true to life, and I think you can design a game around that, too."

In order to explore some of the subtleties and moral gray areas, the game will take place in an open world and give the player control over multiple protagonists with differing abilities. Over the course of the game, players can expect to have shootouts, solve linguistic puzzles, drive vehicles, engage in diplomacy, and barter for goods.

Any game dealing with recent Middle East history is a ripe target for controversy, and Khonsari seems well aware of this. "Iranians are going to criticize me because I'm making a game that 'promotes American imperialists going in and shooting Iranians," said Khonsari. "Americans are going to criticize me because I'm making a game that 'glorifies Islamic fundamentalism,' or something. I'm not going to please everyone, and the point of the game isn't to do that."

1979 may raise a few hackles, but it sounds like a relevant, earnest project. For now, the game is in an alpha state, but may see release as early as late 2012.

Source: CNN

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Although the director may have experience in immigrating from a hostile country to a peaceful one, I think this game will cause nothing but a shit storm, which is good because it will probably sell well and Fox News will hate it.

But all the power to this guy because he is going to need it.

Well that sounds different. I'm in.

YES!
Woohoo!
Finally someone have the balls to make a grade A game revolving the middle east which doesn't involve american farm boys shooting at brown people!
Developer, I salute you.
Most of the people I know have no knowledge of the... erm... revolution that occured in 1979 in Iran. Goodbye friendly, capitalistic(?) and western Iran, hello modern day religious Iran.

The subject matter certainly is interesting enough to be able to make a great game out of it. What remains to be seen is whether it survives the controversy.

I'm pretty sure it'll get banned anyhow in Iran itself, but with a bit of luck we'll for once have a game about Iran that doesn't treat it as "towelhead target practice".

yeah, i cant see how this could possibly go wrong.... not at all...

because lets be honest, if there is someone capable of making a game of islamic revolution then it is the director of gta.

oh well.... at least it will be interesting

I make my identity no big secret on this site, especially when I need to prove a point, so some of you may already know I hail from the small, relatively little known nation of Bangladesh. Slightly more of you may know that we had a Liberation War just 40 years ago. Well only one of you know that I've always wanted to make a game about that, just to pay my respect to the brave Bangalis who died in said war. Also we've had some amazing films about it, so why not a Game?

Hence I give two thumbs up to Navid Khonsari. Do what I haven't been able to.... because I'm incompetent and you're NOT.

I think we should have more games about relatively obscure historical events though. I'm sick and FUCKING tired of World War 2 and the Cold War. You know stuff happens even when America ISN'T there, right Games industry? So yeah Kudos to Mr. Khonsari. Cna't wait to hear more about this.

Interesting. VERY interesting.

En Shallah, it gets released.

GrizzlerBorno:
I make my identity no big secret on this site, especially when I need to prove a point, so some of you may already know I hail from the small, relatively little known nation of Bangladesh. Slightly more of you may know that we had a Liberation War just 40 years ago. Well only one of you know that I've always wanted to make a game about that, just to pay my respect to the brave Bangalis who died in said war. Also we've had some amazing films about it, so why not a Game?

Hence I give two thumbs up to Navid Khonsari. Do what I haven't been able to.... because I'm incompetent and you're NOT.

I think we should have more games about relatively obscure historical events though. I'm sick and FUCKING tired of World War 2 and the Cold War. You know stuff happens even when America ISN'T there, right Games industry? So yeah Kudos to Mr. Khonsari. Cna't wait to hear more about this.

Agreed. There are however many tales to be told about WW2 still, like Burma for example. There's never any games about that. Guess there wasn't enough yanks in there to glorify it and distort the truth, huh? ;)

Will become unpublishable the moment someone remotely connected to one of the embassy hostages goes on TV to complain about it.

All I can say is: Yes. Yes yes yes. Finally, a different game; definitely looking forward to it.

Well, I for one really hope he goes through with it and that the game proves worth it.

Best of luck to him though, he's inevitably gonna catch a lot of heat for this.

Cool!!!! I am definitely keeping an eye out for this-although I can already taste the moral outrage from FOX.....

Cancellation in 3...2...

Seriously, i'll be amazed if this gets close to release.

GTA game dev is doing a game about a revolution, where there will be lots of people causing trouble in the streets. Wow, the British media got it right then: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/112200-British-Media-Stops-Claiming-GTA-Caused-Riots-Sorta ;-)

go for it man i studied the revoloution in school an dwould love to try this

Wow, sounds like potentially genre-busting stuff; keep us posted!

So it's Six Days in Fallujah all over again, only this time you get to play as the 'bad guys' as well.

Yeah, this is never going to get a release.

This sounds very interesting, but whether or not the game treats its subject matter with nuance and subtly remains to be seen.

I have very low confidence in game developers to create a mature, thoughtful, and complex story/narrative with their games. With the pedigree this guy comes from, I highly doubt this will be as complex as he thinks it is. The GTA games have inconsistent, schizophrenic narratives between gameplay and story, and Homefront was a pitiful attempt at making a "Your home is invaded, what do you do?" kind of story (they even had the chutzpah to claim that they "concentrated on multiplayer", which is complete and utter bullshit) that was just "Red Dawn" in linear game form. Haven't played Alan Wake, but I heard it was predictable and treated it's audience as if they couldn't remember what happened 2 minutes ago.

Forgive me if I sound bitter, but considering some of the complete crap that this industry passes off as "deep, edgy, mature" I can't help but feel cynical about this game which tackles a very volatile topic. I don't think this guy has the nuance or the integrity to do something like this.

Please prove me wrong. I would love to be proven wrong.

TheIronRuler:
YES!
Woohoo!
Finally someone have the balls to make a grade A game revolving the middle east which doesn't involve american farm boys shooting at brown people!
Developer, I salute you.
Most of the people I know have no knowledge of the... erm... revolution that occured in 1979 in Iran. Goodbye friendly, capitalistic(?) and western Iran, hello modern day religious Iran.

What happened was a brutal, murderous, American backed regime, was replaced by Islamic fundamentalist, brutal, murderous regime. Both states are unfree its just the justification for the repression is different. No room for nuance, its pretty much like Tsarist Russia being replaced by communist Russia.

I am certainly intrigued by this. Fox's response to this will be entertainment in itself.

albino boo:

TheIronRuler:
YES!
Woohoo!
Finally someone have the balls to make a grade A game revolving the middle east which doesn't involve american farm boys shooting at brown people!
Developer, I salute you.
Most of the people I know have no knowledge of the... erm... revolution that occured in 1979 in Iran. Goodbye friendly, capitalistic(?) and western Iran, hello modern day religious Iran.

What happened was a brutal, murderous, American backed regime, was replaced by Islamic fundamentalist, brutal, murderous regime. Both states are unfree its just the justification for the repression is different. No room for nuance, its pretty much like Tsarist Russia being replaced by communist Russia.

Thanks for putting that out there. The more you know...

Fascinating choice of subject matter. Here's hoping it doesn't get flat-pressed into blandness by the publisher or something.

There's some prior art for this: an indie documentary game called The Cat and the Coup: http://coup.peterbrinson.com/

It won the Indiecade documentary category last year.

Id give it a try maybe. But it has to be a good game.

well at least it has better chances than 6 days in fallujah.

I'll definitely look forward to this

Sixcess:
So it's Six Days in Fallujah all over again, only this time you get to play as the 'bad guys' as well.

Yeah, this is never going to get a release.

no 6 days in fallujah was cancelled because it was based on a far more recent event and thus more people were upset about it. I don't think there will be enough people complaining about this for the devs to care.

I hope this gets made. Id love for a game based on the Revolution, but only if it takes a balanced look at it and not "ooh, the nice and happy regime was replaced with a crazy, religious one that kills people". One awful, oppressive regime was replace with another awful, oppressive regime. The key difference is that the Shah was in the pocket of America and the West, and as such Khomeini's government is firmly against the West and everything it symbolises (not just because of the Shah, ofcourse)

I'll bite. This is different enough, and original, to be quite interesting. I want to see what you can do with it.

Oh this will be pissing people off for years to come :D

But they will haveto do it really well to present things as they should be, maybe get Valve in on this, they know polish and atmosphere, but for the most part no publisher can shut them down when shit hits the fan.

Sixcess:
So it's Six Days in Fallujah all over again, only this time you get to play as the 'bad guys' as well.

Yeah, this is never going to get a release.

I usually play the good guy in video games, but I will try the USA in this one.

RT did an interview on this. Good views on perspective.

A wonderful idea with subject matter that may well force people to stop and think about their beliefs about Iran and Islamic culture...if it wasn't for the fact it will never get published. Remember Six Days in Fallujah? No? Thought not.

Epicspoon:
no 6 days in fallujah was cancelled because it was based on a far more recent event and thus more people were upset about it. I don't think there will be enough people complaining about this for the devs to care.

If I was this guy I'd be less worried about Fox News and more worried about getting a fatwah when/if the Iranian government decides that this game is disrespectful to the revolution, or the ayatollah, or islam, or all of the above.

1979 is recent events in that part of the world.

The Forces of Chaos:
I usually play the good guy in video games, but I will try the USA in this one.

I lol'd.

Anyway, in the unlikely event the game does make it to release, they'd better have licenced Rock the Casbah for the soundtrack.

Would I get to play as a communist revolutionary? Fighting the Shah but then being oppressed by the religious fundamentalists? All I know of the 1979 revolution I learned from a combination of Persepolis part 1 and The Cat and the Coup.

Wow. Consider my interest piqued. I mean, I guess that's the point, controversy and all, but hell, it looks different and kinda fun and maybe even educational if I happen to go "Gee I don't know anything about this period of history, maybe I should educate myself."

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