Rockstar: GTA 'Hot Coffee' scandal was 'draining and upsetting'

Cofounder Dan Houser recalls controversy surrounding sex minigame was a "tough time" at the company.

Much of the attention surrounding Rockstar Games lately has been in regards to Grand Theft Auto V. However, in a new Guardian interview, company cofounder Dan Houser talked about the studio's past, specifically the controversy surrounding the sex minigame in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

"It was draining and upsetting; a tough time in the company," Houser said. He added, "The massive social decay that we were supposed to induce hasn't happened. So in that regard, a lot of those debates that used to go on, they're not such a big deal now."

Houser further claimed that Rockstar may have been unfairly attacked simply due to the fact that GTA: San Andreas was a game, not a movie or book.

"We never felt that we were being attacked for the content; we were being attacked for the medium, which felt a little unfair," he said. "If all of this stuff had been put into a book or a movie, people wouldn't have blinked an eye. And there are far bigger issues to worry about in society than this."

The sex minigame in GTA: San Andreas was discovered during the summer of 2005. It prompted an investigation from the Federal Trade Commission, attracted the attention of Hilary Clinton, and cost Take-Two an estimated $50 million.

GTAV is due out worldwide during spring 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Wii U and PC versions are "up for consideration."

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

eddienoteddy

Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V

Follow
14 comments
taylor420420
taylor420420

"GTAV is due out worldwide during spring 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3..."

 "Release: Sep 17, 2013

So you are saying that September is in Spring now? Oh.. so it must be Fall right now..

YummyMango
YummyMango

Although I think the way it was escalated was just pure BS but at the same time why did these guys put it in the game at first place. I enjoyed it though but I agree with one of the comments that game would have been same without it. Best GTA yet. 

Downloadpilot
Downloadpilot

Why'd they even put it in the game? It would've been the same without it. lol

vivalatour
vivalatour

it's all because the Hilary and Dr. Ruth affair is no longer !

silverwings21
silverwings21

Hilary is just mad because Bill isn't giving it to her.

redskinStu
redskinStu

Ha, ha, too funny. "Hilary Clinton was concerned," who gives a f*ck.

bigdg912
bigdg912

The game had an M rating on it. Who cares about a little T&A? If parents are paying the proper attention to their kids (and stores are doing their jobs) then there is no problem. The "Hot Coffee scandal" was BS and a nice little indicator that the people we put in office are too lazy to think critically about these things before they lash out. It's actually a really sad statement about the world we live in.

thedeadraptor
thedeadraptor

Very true! Indeed video games are the scapegoat of everything that is bad now at days.

Spitf1re-us
Spitf1re-us

It was a year long investigation? Was the government that bored.

BIOJECT
BIOJECT

Funny there was literally a sex minigame in God of War and nobody seemed to care.

stev69
stev69

Wow Hilary Clinton got involved? Well at least it wasn't a cynical ploy to boost her public profile for her re-election to the senate in 2006......oh wait I see what I did wrong there.

GrummmDidley
GrummmDidley

@Ice-Cube @itchyflop  ...I dont even know where to begin on the fails in this comment. GTA V has been confirmed over and over as being this gen. Release date for PS3 and Xbox 360 is september 17. Wii U and PC versions are "up for consideration," according to Rockstar Games cofounder Dan Houser. 

Now, im hopeing that there will b a "Bully" style "Scholarship Edition" with a higher res, better textures and anti-aliasing for the next gen. But dude u fail.

JohnF111
JohnF111

I don't think should have had any negative feedback, they removed it and it was inaccessible with normal use.

BloodyAura
BloodyAura

Parents should take responsability and stop using media,games and the like to raise their kids! This game has an M rating for a reason,and back then I thought this was so dumb,and of couse those groups popped up spouting bs like, ''See!Games are evil!!''-what were kids doing playing this and where's there parental authority!-THAT's the REAL problem!.

dazer2001
dazer2001

Why is sex so taboo anyways?  It's GTA people! You go around killing people and dealing drugs!  What the hell is wrong with our society.  Don't get me wrong I like the games, I just don't get what the big deal is.  If you are mature enough to kill people in a game you are mature enough to play an innocent sex game (I tried it, it was more funny than revealing or sexual).  Also, I'm pretty sure R rated movies have sex scenes...

videogamer008
videogamer008

so am i hearing this correctly or not.... fill free to comment..... i respect everybody's opinions and commnts.  are people upset about sex minigames... well, i respect people comments and opinions but in my opinion it is Grand Theft Auto so it has to have kinky things in it because it wouldn't be GTA games without them features.

 

TONS of RESPECT: i hope i said my opinion in a respectfully kind way but if I didn't, everyone is welcome to comment me, give their opinions, and/or message me because i do respect others as they way i want to be treated.  peace out

Icepick_Trotter
Icepick_Trotter

That'll teach you to try to pretend sex is a thing that exists.

 

Now be a good boy and stick to consequience-free violence and drugs.

TTDog
TTDog

May have been less distressing if they hadn't claimed it was a "mod" when the news first broke only for the code to turn up on the PS2 disk as well.

tightwad34
tightwad34

Not only was it draining and upsetting, but it was also completely pointless to make anything of it. All it did was give some parents(mainly stupid bitches) something to make a fuss over. I suppose religion played some role in it and that just makes me LOL even more at them.

max-hit
max-hit

What ever it was it was awsome =)) hahaha.

ssj2los
ssj2los

So i guess to this guy it's "o.k." for mcdonalds to put dildos in happy meals? I mean, if it was given away as a prize at a male strip club or included with a p0rn dvd, nobody would blink an eye. But because it's in a happy meal it gets unfairly attacked.... LMAO come on dude.

AtomicCowboy
AtomicCowboy

You can thank Al Gore's ex-wife...Tipper. What a name.

IvanKavinski
IvanKavinski

Still can't grasp what the problem is this...

Superzone
Superzone

Still remember this whole ordeal.  Constant swearing and running over pedestrians was ok, but a sex mini-game?  "ON NOES!!!  Hide your kids that shouldn't be playing this game anyway!  AHHHHH!"  Haha, good times.

Harrydapro
Harrydapro

When Grand Theft Auto V is released, every kids bad behavior is going to be blamed on the game. The perfect scapegoat. 

alenth
alenth

It was a really good reality show.

 

Can't wait for the next scandal, moar /popcorn

victorlamy
victorlamy

this is whats wrong with murrica. blood and gore EVERYWHERE(deadspace) and mowing down a street with a truck is fine. but sex gets more heat than fire

 

i swear if they take away my guns im moving to europe. at least there i can have one of the two

kb8618
kb8618

I still have both the original PS2 and PC copies, checked it out on PC once, didn't understand what the big deal was.  Other than ESRB not knowing about it when they rated it

BFMV123654
BFMV123654

lol people know rockstar is swimming in money so they just target them for everything to get a few bucks cheap cunts LEAVE ROCKSTAR ALONE  

ThyDavideth
ThyDavideth

Hilary Clinton is a C***! PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!!

Thermador446
Thermador446

Rockstar unfairly caught crap for their game getting hacked. GOW has sex minigames, but it's ok because it's mythology. Jackasses in office, who don't even know what they're talking about, just want to distract people from real issues.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

I still own the original PS2 GTA San Andreas.  It has hot coffee on it just waiting to be unlocked.  I feel dirty knowing I have it.

00Joseph00
00Joseph00

One bigger thing that we should be worried about in our society is the 50-year war we've waged against the Middle-east... You're not going to get peace by killing people, you're just going to get angry vengeful people and a lot more dead people.

PayneKiller
PayneKiller

I dont get it, it was already an M rated, and highly controversial brand. Why was the hot coffee thing such a big deal? Maybe they should have just left it in and flip all the naysayers the middle finger. What makes it worse that you had to go thru hacking methods to access it.

Kids are getting pregnant at 14, or even younger. These games are not the negative influence it's their parents/guardians that aren't being the positive influence.

Yalaa1
Yalaa1

"If all of this stuff had been put into a book or a movie, people wouldn't have blinked an eye."  Exactly, sex, nudity and rape are okay in movies but in games it's a crime. 

msfan1289
msfan1289

that is why i did not vote for Hilary Clinton when she was running.

mattcake
mattcake

Pretty pathetic that in a (great) game which lets you run over civilians, slaughter anyone you want, commit atrocities, etc etc... that a stupid sex mini game that wasn't even enabled caused so much trouble. You see worse on Desperate Fishwives, or whatever its called :) A little perspective is often lost once certain people spot a weakness and don't let go, like a dog with a bone. The content of movies has been and always will be far beyond what we see in video games, but this whole "the player is controlling it" thing is always going to be the weak point that gets focused on. There were still nutters, serial killers and people stealing cars before GTA came along, and they'll still be there once it's gone :)

wyan_
wyan_

Billary Cliton was just jealous because she wasn't getting any hot coffee of her own.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

Hillary was upset with the sex mini game in GTA but her husband was having sex minigames all day during that time

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Hot Coffee: a mini-game of a game that should only have been played by adults and could only be unlocked via some extensive modding which would in all likelyhood void any warranty on the software. Yeah, blown out of proportion certainly applies.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Not worth the trouble. Any sex game worth making has to be made as rated AO, which would render the game nearly unsellable in most countries. Hot Coffee was simply a regrettable oversight that should remain buried in the past.

Threesixtyci
Threesixtyci

And then Mass Effect was attacked by fox. By reports that didn't even do any research. Did you play the game? And the girl responds in a disgusted tone.. No.

 

You guys remember that one? It's on Youtube, somewhere. Can't do http links here anyways....

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

Sam and Dan need a statue or something to honour their contribution to fun! Glanced at their names in the credits of GTA 3, smiled at them in Vice City and San Andres, these days I just fall to my knees in worship.

LonerCat
LonerCat

Not to mention the huge marketing this caused...I'd see 14 year olds begging online on how to unlock that minigame.

UnaSolida
UnaSolida

Hmm, I always thought this was a mod from some Dutch hacker.

NINEINCH-Tool
NINEINCH-Tool

Gamespot's active censors had deleted my previous comment. I'd stated that: this "hot coffee" topic had been a case of "hey! look the other way" while much more pertinent and controversial happenings were about the world. So while America's adults were somewhat perplexed by their elective decision to raid the middle east; the news brought a story that hit closer to home....unwarranted sexual content in a game that is meant for people no younger than 17....god forbid these parents should take their minds off cruise control and actually discuss the world we live in with their children.

hunter8man
hunter8man

The controversy around it was stupid. I never got the big deal about it. Parents bitching about game code from a game that their children shouldn't have been playing in the first place if they were under 17 years old.

Mrod1212
Mrod1212

I wonder If they will bring back Manhunt. I hope so.

ciaxhieu
ciaxhieu

they may have lose money, but the over all popularity of the series skyrocketed ever since. TRUE STORY