For a decade the Grand Theft Auto series has had a massive bullseye painted on its rear-end — and mainstream media, lobby groups and their associated loons have rarely missed an opportunity to take shots at that bullseye. Speaking to The Guardian Dan Houser, briefly discussed the fallout of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ notorious ‘hot coffee’ scene, and opened up on the mainstream media’s reaction to the Grand Theft Auto series in general.
“It was draining and upsetting,” said Houser, in reference to the Hot Coffee situation, “a tough time in the company.”
Nowadays, says Houser, the reactions to Rockstar’s games are a little less extreme.
“The massive social decay that we were supposed to induce hasn’t happened,” he said. “So in that regard, a lot of those debates that used to go on, they’re not such a big deal now. We never felt that we were being attacked for the content, we were being attacked for the medium, which felt a little unfair. 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.”
Part of it must be the slow integration of video games into the mainstream, but another part of it could be the higher quality of art being produced by Rockstar and other developers. In the interview Houser himself admits that Rockstar only really began to find its unique writing voice with Grand Theft Auto IV.
Of course it does help that video games have been around for a good while now and, as far as I can see, the sky has not fallen.