Houser said he believes Grand Theft Auto 5 has grown since previous iterations of the series, from just shooting up things to a satirical adventure holding a mirror to society.
And with a bigger goal in mind than just making a mindless shoot-em-up game, Houser said Rockstar is growing with its audience.
“The games are hopefully getting good enough as pure adventures, and they’re interesting enough to play, that it’s not just about shooting anymore,” Houser said.
Among the examples of how Rockstar has catered to its ever-diverse audience, Houser cited the creation of LA Noire.
“The audience has been gradually expanding,” Houser said. “One of the things we wanted to try and do — and we did to some extent –– is reach out to some older audience with LA Noire and go, ‘Hey, this game is a little bit slower. It’s definitely historically interesting. It’s more like interactive TV shows. It’s not twitch-based like some of those games. You might have a go with it and see what you think.’”
And with better, more creative gameplay, GTA 5 can appeal to the novice gamer or the “18-year-old with very short nerve endings,” Houser said.
One surprise of the Grand Theft Auto series, House said, was the success of the first 3D versions of GTA, which by his own admission wouldn’t have tested well among focus groups.
“Focus testing in 1999/2000 would never have predicted that a 3D gangster game was going to blow up,” Houser said. “Then having done that, no amount of focus testing would say do it in the ’80s. So doing stuff that is true to yourself, as opposed to what the market thinks it wants, that’s definitely something that we’ve always done and hopefully other people have followed suit.”
GTA 5 is out right now for the PS3 and Xbox 360.