Rockstar's Houser: "Hollywood Hegemony" Won't Support Games

Illustration for article titled Rockstars Houser: Hollywood Hegemony Wont Support Games

In the June issue of Playboy, Rockstar's Dan Houser gave a somewhat rare full-page interview on Grand Theft Auto 4 and violent video games. Why, Houser was asked, don't other entertainment industries offer more support for video games, since their controversial content is often targeted for criticism in the same fashion?

"It's about economics. We take market share and audience from other media - video game makers are challenging the Hollywood hegemony - so they're going to fight us. But I'm not going to fight them. I believe your Constitution protects us."


When interviewer Scott Alexander asked Houser about inequity in the way adult games are treated as compared with film and other media, Houser said:

"These are works of fiction. Playing a game that features violence is no different from choosing to see a violent movie. We're not trying to create a 'here's real life' sensation in a video game; it's "you're the star of a movie. We want to re-create the sensations you have watching movies. We're putting those in a video game."


When asked to isolate why Rockstar's games seem to provoke a swath of mainstream anger from certain circles, Houser said:

"We're trying to give gamers freedom. It boils down to critics not liking the fact that people can choose to do 'bad' things in a fantasy world - which to me is silly."

The full interview is print only, so to read the whole thing you'd have to look at a copy of June's Playboy. You know, for the article, of course.

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Actually, that is only assuming the Saw game is about you playing Jigsaw and murdering people. Whereas if you are trying to escape the traps, you'll only be seeing your own death six hundred times. Saw would make a much better survival horror game in the vein of Clocktower than it would an "action" game of setting up traps for people to meet their horrible demise in.

Knowing some of the major video game companies like EA, though, they'll probably go the "play Jigsaw, torture and rip people to shreds for twenty hours" route...

The argument of there being far more deaths in a video game would be true if not for your average Arnold Schwarzzenagger movie and other action movies (Rambo 4, for example), where the death toll can reach into the hundreds. Yes, the game is longer, but really, there's little difference between playing your average run and gun FPS and watching Rambo 4 (except the run and gun FPS is hopefully more entertaining, since it's interactive).

Actually I think in the stealth action genre, at least the ones that attempt to handle it halfway realistically (I love MGS but you can pretty much take down hundreds of enemies, even though it's a stealth game), such as Splinter Cell, seem to balance the amount of deaths in a realistic way, and some of the mission objectives aren't "kill such and such a person", rather sometimes you may just blow up a truck carrying weapons supplies or gather info. Of course, the final mission in Splinter Cell was to assassinate a terrorist leader and escape, but still (at least the terrorist leader didn't have a life bar, he was just as easily slain as everyone else in the game).

GTA IV at least made a start of adding in the few morality points, even if it's the sort of twisted morality of "should I kill this guy, who's really bad, or kill this guy, who's sort of nice but I will get a massive amount of money for killing him". It's not entirely without meaning, like some games are, usually some of the FPS games are pretty devoid of anything other than "you are a mercenary, shoot the other mercenaries, etc."