In a wide-ranging interview with the Telegraph, Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser talked about the darker tone of Grand Theft Auto IV and why he thinks there are more important things in the world than respect.
The darker tone in Grand Theft Auto IV, Houser said, was actually dictated by the game’s vastly improved visuals. “We always try to get the tone of the story and tone of the graphics to feel seamless,” he said. “We’re trying to make a world that feels like it exists. And the old graphics were far more cartoony because that was all we could do, so the story and the writing needed to be as well.” Whether the series will continue in that vein is up in the air, he added, saying it’s a “horses for courses approach.”
And while he agreed the game is a “sprawling criminal journey,” he said he no longer believes that the ultimate goal of videogames is to emulate movies. “There was a sense that in some ways movies were a higher art form and video games could aspire to be like them,” he said. “I think now, because we and a few other companies are making products, that this isn’t the case. They’re just different and video games are capable of things that movies aren’t.”
So when can videogames expect to be treated by society at large with the same degree of respect as movies and television? “I hope it’s a long [time],” Houser said. “It’s really fun at the moment because we’re not in any Academy and the medium’s not codified. There’s no accepted way of doing anything so that give us enormous pleasure because we can make it up as we go along.”
“Movies and TV and books have become so structured in the way they have to approach things,” he continued. “Not working in that environment gives us enormous freedom. I’d rather keep the freedom and not have the respect.”