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

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

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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."

Discussion

21 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.

ogremalfeitor
ogremalfeitor

@taylor420420 Err... that's correct, if you live south to the Equator line. For example, in some countries in Africa and South America it's Fall right now.

Superabound
Superabound

@Downloadpilot They put it in the game, and then decided to take it out. Someone exploring the game code and assests discovered the discarded and disabled minigame and designed a patch to re-enable it.

JukedSolid
JukedSolid

@Spitf1re-us They never actually do anything.  They are however, always looking for things that make it *seem* like they're doing something.

scared7
scared7

@BIOJECT Yeah, i know and we could even get a trophy/archievement for this mini sexgame in GOW

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

@BIOJECT Was about to say the same thing.

That minigame was fun.

Too much fun...

Superabound
Superabound

@TTDog It WAS a "mod". The minigame was on the disk but it was completely disabled and unplayable. It was taken out of the game. Someone discovered the discarded game assests and wrote a mod to re-enable them.

Saying that its still in the game is like saying a PG-13 movie is actually rated R because of the deleted scenes. They were deliberately taken out in order to receive a lower rating. If you put them back in yourself, thats on you, not them.

the_link_keeper
the_link_keeper

 @max-hit Haha, fair enough. Would you agree that the solution involves finding a way to prevent children from accessing the content rather than banning the content itself?

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

 @ssj2los Dude, the game has an R rating!!! HENCE, IT IS NOT FOR CHILDREN!!!!

 

Gone are the days that "TV Games" are a childrens' toy exclusively, hence the PEGI rating (Which every game explains on the inner booklet). If it has a Mature / R rating, DON'T LET YOUR KIDS PLAY IT!!!! 

 

When did parents decide it was ok to not be parents and rather blame everyone else?

the_link_keeper
the_link_keeper

 @ssj2los You idiot. Books, movies and games are mediums that can and are restricted to specific age groups based on content. YOU are comparing GTA, an R18 game, to a happy meal for children and saying that they the same thing. Seriously dude, just think before you post a comment as idiotic as that.

Tintonlong
Tintonlong

@ogremalfeitor @taylor420420 Yeah except that the release dates listed are all for northern hemisphere countries. It's entirely more believable that we're talking about a typo or a brain fart here, and not an intentional mention of Rockstar's flagship product being released in Tanzania in the Spring!



Downloadpilot
Downloadpilot

@Superabound @Downloadpilot I know, but my point is the minigame shouldn't have ever crossed the minds at Rockstar before they decided to put it in to take it out. I mean really, what is the need to actually control sex in a video game?

TTDog
TTDog

@Superabound They implied, if not stated, that the PC version was user written content... it was only when the code was found on the PS2 disks that they admitted it was a feature they "left out" of the game.

A "Mod" is user developed content which this clearly wasn't.

ssj2los
ssj2los

 @NickPunt636 Its the responsible parents that are complaining... sure they dont let their kids play the game but the irresponsible parents do let their kids play rated 18... those same kids grow up in the same neighborhoods and go to the same schools as the kids that arent allowed to play rated 18 games.. so as a responsible parent i would complain. You cant help how others raise their kids, but you can help decide what is released into the society your kids are raised in. come on guys grow up

ssj2los
ssj2los

 @the_link_keeper Consoles are toys sold at toy stores.. So are the games.. sold at toy stores.. you dont see rated R movies or adult books sold at toysrus.. unfortunately not many go by the ESRBs therefor you have to expect kids are going to see it (how many "kids" play COD, a rated MATURE game?). If you want to put something as vulgar as sex in games it should be PC only...  which are not "toys". Granted my analogy may not have been the best but it was more joke than anything else. Have fun attempting to talk down to ppl over the web in order to make your life feel worth something. 

 

-peace

TohouAsura
TohouAsura

@Downloadpilot @Superabound

"I mean really, what is the need to actually control sex in a video game?"

What is the need to brutally murder and kill people in a video game?

There is none, it's fun. So can be controlled sex. You never tried it, did you? Keep the puritan attitude at bay.

TTDog
TTDog

@Superabound Still not a mod... the content is there already, all they've basically created is an "unlock" key the same as Capcom are so fond of using to access the on disk DLC.

Superabound
Superabound

@TTDog   @Superabound The only thing that made the "Hot Coffee" content accessible WAS user written content. And if the content wasnt in the final submitted version of the game, it makes sense that the majority of the people involved, especially at the top, would not even be aware of its existence.

"Hot Coffee" was not playable/knowable without a user created mod and thats a fact. It wasnt IN the game as sold. Its kinda like using a mod to remove the pixelation of nudity in The Sims, except much harder. You wouldnt even know the files and textures were on the disc without (illegally) cracking open the game code with 3rd party programs.

wcbigguy4
wcbigguy4

@ssj2los Are you aware that you needed a game shark to manipulate the code to access the content on the consoles. And sex sells in America because America makes it so taboo. Banning things people like does not work , prohibition did not work only made criminals rich banning drugs have not stopped drug use again only made criminals rich. Treating sex as some deep dark secret and hiding it only makes it more tempting. And if you really believe that if a kid plays GTA is going to make them a bad kid and that your kid will be a good kid because you don't allow them to play GTA is just wrong. It the same as the media blaming everything after a tragedy , when the real reason is some people are not wired right. It's not the music , movies or games that cause the problems in our country.    

Vulkar321
Vulkar321

 @ssj2los 

I pretty much agree with a couple of your points. Sexuality is exploited, it is used, and people sell, encourage, and show it far more than they should. However, censoring video games is not the way.

 

Instead, this is more of an issue with the decaying family. Parents should know what their kids are up to and should raise their children in such a way that their children can make good choices. It's sad that we live in such a society where we have to worry about our children being exposed to pornography.

ssj2los
ssj2los

 @the_link_keeper  @NickPunt636 It would be a lot harder for a kid 11 years old to convince their parent why they should buy them the Mature rated system, rather than convincing them to please buy me this awesome game that has car chases. The mature material is well incorporated into the material that seems suitable. The parent buys the game thinking its about car chases, but the finer details are that there is gun fights and drug use during the car chases. And yes, a lot of parents aren't keen to todays video games and kids are subjected to things they shouldnt be while the parents go unaware, unfortunately.

ssj2los
ssj2los

 @the_link_keeper  @NickPunt636 I guess what I'm saying is, we're not ready to have such material in video games. Slapping a ESRB18 on the cover just doesn't cut it. Maybe the CONSOLES themselves should have a rating... a rated 10 and under 360/ps3 that wont even allow higher rated games to be played, a Teen rated 11-17 age group 360/ps3 that plays what is appropriate for that age group and younger... and then an adult 360/ps3 that plays everything.... It seems a bit drastic but only because of costs... and if profit is worth more then the probable subjection of mature material to are youth then that's the real problem.

ssj2los
ssj2los

 @the_link_keeper  @NickPunt636 Video games will most likely never be looked at as an adult medium. It derives from pong, donkey kong, mario, etc... I'm not saying that rated 18 and up games shouldnt be made, but rather the developers/artists should take some responsibility knowing that its a helluva lot easier for a kid to get ahold of their game than it easy for said kid to walk into a rate R movie, or buy an adult book. Was the sex-mini game vital to telling the story in GTA? No... it wasnt even artistically placed in the game, hell it wasnt even part of the main story. As for violence, majority of kids know what violence is and taught that it is wrong if not by their parents by their peers. In society violence is known to be wrong... Sex on the other hand is exploited, and is made out to be "AWESOME!!" (and im not talking about making love to bare children here) Sex sells, especially in America and is taken out of context all too much. Sex is easily obtained and more and more kids are having kids of their own... we have reality shows about it (Teen mom 1 & 2). As much as kids are bullied, they are even more peer pressured into having sex earlier than they should. It is something that is flaunted more so than violence.

the_link_keeper
the_link_keeper

 @NickPunt636 Thanks. It's actually great to see so many people getting passionate about video games and I'm happy to see the kinds of responses that people are making.

 

I just think it's a concern in of itself when gamers present themselves in a way that makes gaming seem childish and it makes me worry about how the general public will respond to an otherwise important and adult conversation.

 

This happens in other media to be sure, but gaming has a lot to prove and I so desperately want gaming to grow past the stigma that so commonly surrounds it.

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

 @the_link_keeper  @ssj2los That is kinda my point though. If we are going to address games, why not put it in context of ALL media your kids COULD be exposed to. 

 

I was basically exaggerating because of @ssj2los statement of putting dildos in happy meals... Ridiculous.

 

I take your point though.

the_link_keeper
the_link_keeper

 @NickPunt636  Generally speaking I agree with you but lets try to argue the point rather than point the finger at people.

 

Admittedly I made this mistake earlier in the conversation when replying to @ssj2los but I would really rather have an intelligent conversation about gaming issues. Lets try to represent gaming as a real form of media!

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

 @ssj2los I'm sorry but that is a ridiculous argument. So you would like them to stop making action movies, any movies with sex, violence and bad language? As these are not sold exclusively in adult stores?

 

Should they stop making all action games then? Why not ONLY make Disney games?

 

The entire world can not stop turning because most parents don't know how to be parents. Yes, there is always the danger of other kids that are raised by bad parents, but those parents also allow their kids to watch inappropriate movies, listen to inappropriate music (AND I DON'T MEAN METAL!!! More like the rampant, sex-me-up "hip-hop", Rihanna kinda crap going around). 

 

Will you also not allow your kids to ride the bus or anywhere else in public in fear of them being exposed to anything? 

 

My point: There are games for kids and games for adults, just like movies and tv shows for kids and adults (South Park and Family guy are brilliant cartoons, but you don't let your kids watch them do you???)

the_link_keeper
the_link_keeper

 @amplithree  Both sex and video games are still very controversial even now. I think that has something to do with that as violence is generally a lot more accepted.

 

Plus this was one of the first really mainstream instances of sex in video games and news media will turn anything they can into news and controversy.

 

I think that sex in general needs to be accepted and openly talked about more often and with greater maturity. When it is talked about it always seems to be done unfairly or out of context.

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

 @the_link_keeper Yes and no...

 

It is easy to get carried away defending one's point. I am guilty of it all too often. I also exaggerate. Unfortunately it is the way i counter ridiculous points. I feel we are arguing the same point, but in very different ways. 

the_link_keeper
the_link_keeper

 @NickPunt636 Thanks for agreeing with me but your comment also kinda negates my last point.

 

Please don't take this as anything more than constructive criticism but I think gaming would be better if we focused on telling our side of the story. It also helps to think about the tone of a comment rather than just what we are saying, a mistake I admittedly made earlier.

 

Also as I write this I realise I already made a similar reply to your other comment but I suppose it can't hurt to make my ideas more visible! :)

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

 @the_link_keeper EXAAACTLY!!!!!

 

What, do we stop our kids going to the zoo or owning pets in case they decide to screw an animal because they saw it somewhere???

 

Maybe if parents put this much effort into ACTUALLY PARENTING, less kids would be doing drugs!

the_link_keeper
the_link_keeper

Consoles are not toys, they are computers designed to play games, if they were toys for children R18 games would not exist.

 

If R18 games are being sold in toy stores, that is a fault with the store, not with the developer and certainly not with the content.

 

I expect that children will see it, yes. So what? Rockstar should be banned from developing games the way they want and including mature content because a child might see it? Children get into stuff they shouldn't all the time.

 

R18 games should not be sold to children in the first place and it is up to the industry and the parents to solve that problem, not the content creators.

 

"Something as vulgar as sex" I'm sorry, believe what you will but I just have trouble understanding how you believe that sex is vulgar.

 

Sex is one of the most natural and integral of all human experiences. We need to allow sex and other deeper concepts to be explored in order to advance gaming and to allow it to be accepted as a medium equal to that of film and literature. And yes, that starts by accepting that crude content like this as part of a video game :)

 

Lastly, you make a good point, I should not have called you an idiot. I made a mistake and made it personal rather than just arguing the point. For that I apologise. I just wanted to defend a point I believe in.

amplithree
amplithree

 @ssj2los  @the_link_keeper Shooting someone through the head with gun is fine though yea? It is up the PARENTS for these kids not to get a hold of these games!  RATED 18.