“We spent a minimum of 100 days in Los Angeles on research trips, probably more.”
According to Rockstar President San House, the character research for the upcoming installment of the Grand Theft Auto Series, Grand Theft Auto 5, spanned over 100 days of interviews with FBI agents and former mafia members. Houser said that some of the experiences he and the staff learned of were “eye-openingly depressing.”
In a recent interview with the Guardian, Houser spoke about the game’s three-protagonist approach, saying, “Having three protagonists allows us to create nuanced stories, not a set of archetypes. Rather than seeming like you’ve got this super-criminal who can do everything effortlessly, they’re all good and bad at different things.”
Regarding the character of Michael, the troubled father he added, “We liked the idea of a protagonist retiring with a family, and how awful that would be. We’ve never done anything like that and you don’t really see it in games – to feed into these concepts of parenting and pseudo-parenting.”
In researching for the game’s script, the Rockstar team scoured the streets of LA in order to accurately nail their desired character types. Houser continued, “We spent a minimum of 100 days in Los Angeles on research trips, probably more. Out and about, all night long with weird people, strange cops showing us around, a lot of first-hand research. We spoke to FBI agents that have been undercover, experts in the Mafia, street gangsters who know the slang – we even went to see a proper prison. These poor buggers in the middle of the salt flat desert, miles away. It was eye-openingly depressing.”
GTA 5 releases for PS3 and Xbox 360 on September 17th.