GTA 6 Would Be Tricky To Make In Today's Political Climate, Says Rockstar Co-Founder

"It's really unclear what we would even do with it."


Dan Houser, co-founder of Rockstar Games and writer of many of the studio's titles, has discussed the idea of making a new Grand Theft Auto in the current political climate. In just a day's time, Rockstar will launch Red Dead Redemption 2, a game that follows Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang as they attempt to survive in a world moving on from the days of wild west outlaws.

While RDR 2 maintains a fairly grounded, almost sombre tone, the Grand Theft Auto series has always been a vessel for biting satire of American culture and history. As such, it was more inclined towards ridiculous characterisations of larger-than-life figures, or exaggerated depictions of elements of modern society that can be torn apart and analysed through the lens of video games.

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However, speaking to GQ, Houser indicated that the exaggeration and absurdity at the core of the Grand Theft Auto series' satirical commentary feels like it has manifested in the real world, which means tackling the sixth entry in the GTA series would be tricky.

"It's really unclear what we would even do with it, let alone how upset people would get with whatever we did," said Houser. "Both intense liberal progression and intense conservatism are both very militant, and very angry.

"It is scary but it's also strange, and yet both of them seem occasionally to veer towards the absurd. It's hard to satirise for those reasons. Some of the stuff you see is straightforwardly beyond satire. It would be out of date within two minutes, everything is changing so fast."

Rockstar as a whole has been under the microscope lately. Ahead of the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2, there have been discussions surrounding working hours and crunch at the studio. In a separate interview, Houser mentioned working 100-hour weeks several times in 2018, though it was later clarified that this was only undertaken by members of the senior writing team, including himself.

Naturally, the initial reports of 100-hour work weeks attracted criticism, as the negative impact of crunch is well documented. Rockstar employees were told to speak out about their own experiences, however, and while some noted that they had long work weeks in the past, it was also noted that environment had changed for the better over the years.

The difficulty in the situation was, of course, the perception that overtime could be seen as necessary through studio culture. And to clarify this Rockstar Lincoln, where much of the QA happens, recently held a meeting to tell employees that overtime is not mandatory, though it can occasionally be requested and schedules.

Red Dead Redemption 2 has been a multi-studio development effort from Rockstar and is the studio's biggest game yet. It is set for launch on October 26, and then the online mode is expected to arrive in November. Grand Theft Auto V launched in September 2013 and was re-released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One a year later. A PC version followed in April 2015. The game's online mode has been a huge success for Rockstar and still receives regular updates.

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