"Grand Theft Auto V" co-creator Dan Houser has said that he is “thankful” that he is not releasing a new "Grand Theft Auto" in today’s political climate, and is unsure how it would even be done.
Although "Grand Theft Auto" is the most profitable video game of all time, the Rockstar Games co-founder’s reluctance to release a new version in today’s outrage culture is not unfounded. While the game has secured a spot as the single most popular video game franchise of all time, it would likely face a much more stringent brand of cultural criticism if it were to be released during the age of "Trump Derangement Syndrome."
“It’s really unclear what we would even do with it, let alone how upset people would get with whatever we did. 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,” Houser said in a recent interview. “It’s hard to satirize 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 It would be out of date within two minutes, everything is changing so fast.”
"Grand Theft Auto V" was released in 2013, but the first version of the game came out in 1997. The game's popularity was in part a result of the fact that its maps were replicas of actual major cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. Gameplay is based around a fictional criminal enterprise and allows the player to take on the role of the criminal: robbing banks, gunning down civilians, stealing cars, etc.
The game contains themes that would no doubt fire up the outrage machines on either side of the political spectrum, and especially from the Left, which has already billed the last version as “problematic.” Critics said the game was “misogynistic,” a purveyor of racist stereotypes, and promoted violence against women.
Houser’s comments have led some to believe that modern gaming culture has reached the end of an era. Others still anticipate a "GTA 6" release in 2020 or 2021, but these rumors have not been confirmed by Rockstar.
Celine Ryan (@celinedryan) is a journalism student living on the central coast of California. She writes about politics, culture, and campus news.