Rockstar VP Riffs on Casual Gaming, GTA IV Process

| 2 May 2008 13:41

In a wide-ranging and revealing interview about the process of making Grand Theft Auto 4, game co-writer and Rockstar VP Dan Houser has choice words for casual gaming.

In a bit of rambling exposition, Houser sounded an enthusiastic note about games as narrative devices:

"Yeah, fuck all this stuff about casual gaming. I think people still want games that are groundbreaking. The Wii is doing something totally different, which is fantastic. We're hopefully going to prove that there's also a very big audience for people who want entertainment in another form, who think of games as being a narrative device that can challenge movies. We always said: We're not going release a large number of games. They're going to have the production values of movies."

Houser also spoke to some of the more astounding details of the title's creation process. He said the development team used time-lapse cameras and pored over census data to capture the nuance and subtleties of parts of New York.

"We had guys looking at Census data; this part of Queens should be more Chinese. The [pedestrians] can go up and speak to each other now, so we got them speaking Russian, Spanish, Chinese," Houser said.

In total, he noted that the game has 660 speaking parts with 80,000 lines of dialogue.

In another choice quote, Houser sounded off about the city: "I think one of the things we try to capture in the game is that New York is the world leader in walking around meeting insane people," going on to explain how the team came across an apparently crazed homeless man and included a similar character in the game, and toured neighborhoods with ex-cops who reminisced about being able to shoot people.