The main voice actors behind Grand Theft Auto V have spoken out to say the recently released open-world game does not glamorize violence. In an interview with PCAdvisor, the three actors said Rockstar North's production is about so much more than just violence.
"Anyone who has any conception at all about the games and hasn't played them should go play the games before they open their mouths," said Ned Luke, who plays Michael de Santa.
"The biggest misconception is that it glamorizes violence. It really doesn't," he added. "If you look at my character, Michael, he's rich, but he's a miserable man. Even in the commercials you see that. This is a guy who's struggling with his life's decisions."
What players can take from GTAV, Luke said, is that Michael is a man who loves his family, but is lost along the way.
"He's trying to become a good guy, but he can't. He just has all these demons that he's battling. It's the struggle. Take that and look at how he loves his family even though he wants to kill them and that's what it is," Luke said. "Look for the relationships. Look for the humor. Look for the irony and the satire in the game. That's another big misconception, 'What, do they think we're serious?'"
Steven Ogg, who plays the superviolent Trevor Philips in GTAV, said he believes video games are simply an "easy scapegoat" when real-world violence erupts.
"There's a lot of intense stuff out there. Video games are just an easy scapegoat" --Trevor voice actor Steven Ogg.
"The hypocrisy drives me crazy," Ogg said. "It just sets the wrong focus. Why not talk about gun control? Why not talk about parenting? Why not talk of lack of family values? There are so many other things to talk about. Look at what's on TV. Breaking Bad had that episode where ********** got his face blown off. There's a lot of intense stuff out there. Video games are just an easy scapegoat. My nephew plays this game. I asked my sister if she was worried because there's some pretty nasty stuff in there and she said, 'I know he's not going to go to school tomorrow with a gun. He's not like that.'"
Shawn Fonteno--a former gang member--brought the character of Franklin Clinton to life in GTAV. He said a misconception exists that games are "just for kids," making it easier for some to criticize the game as marketing violence to children, even though it is labeled M for Mature.
"People already have it in their mind that GTA is for kids because it's a game," Fonteno said. "Then they hear about the violence and they're instantly going to attack because it's a game. Now, if it was a movie it would be a different story and these same people would be out there supporting it. GTA V is like a movie. Once they get the game in their hands, they'll see. It says it big as day--Mature. It's not for the kids to go get. It's for Mature audiences only. If kids get it, then that's on their parents."
Ultimately, Luke said a game like GTAV--just like a gangster film like Goodfellas--is alluring because it allows players to experience a fantasy scenario of power. He said even though the game is violent (he does not allow his 11-year-old son to play it) people should not take a game like GTAV so seriously because it's just meant to be fun.
"GTA allows you to tap into everything that you can't do in real life," Luke said. "In real life, you don't get to go out and rampage and do all these bad things. Gangster movies have been huge forever--Godfather, Casino, Goodfellas, all the way back to Jimmy Cagney. People lose themselves in the bad boy. And there isn't anybody badder than the dudes in GTA. That's why they're so popular. You get to actually go out and do all these horrible things."
"As an actor, I got to go out and do all these crazy things and then go back home to my wife and my son and go out in the backyard and throw a baseball around like a normal all-American dad," he added. "I think that's what these games are. People who take them too seriously and go, 'Oh, this is life.' No, this isn't life. This is imagination. It's just fun. You definitely don't want GTA raising your children. But it's not a bad release from them, when you need to get away."
GTAV launched last month for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, generating arecord-setting $800 million on launch day alone and $1 billion in three days. Versions of the game for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are likely to be released in 2014, according to one analyst.