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Rockstar's Houser: 'Grand Theft Auto' is America

Rockstar Games

With the exception of the GTA London expansion, the Grand Theft Auto franchise has created fictional versions of various American cities with the latest being Los Santos in GTA V for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Rockstar Games co-writer Dan Houser explained why the franchise will stay the United States in an interview released Thursday.

Coming from the United Kingdom, Rockstar Games has developed a unique satirical take on the United States since over the course of eleven games and various expansions. Part of that is due to the more open and varied countryside which creates more narrative possibilities.

"When you live in America, after about five minutes you realise that the biggest difference in the country is between town and countryside," Houser told the Guardian. "In the UK, even if you live in Somerset you have some connection to London. Here, rural areas are a lot more detached from the cities, and this is where many of the political and social schisms are. So we have the wilderness and all the joy and terror that induces in America, and we also have the city, with all the joy, terror and depression that induces. To be able to play on that contrast is definitely interesting."

The variations between the city and the countryside also makes more gameplay opportunities available with motorcycles, helicopters and other vehicles. Plus, "it lets you blow stuff up as well as meet lunatics" he notes.

Houser went on to dismiss the possibility of the Grand Theft Auto franchise returning to the UK though because the setting doesn't necessarily fit the game. That doesn't mean Rockstar rules out other games set in London though.

"I think for us, my gut feeling is, GTA London was cool for the time, but games were more limited then," he said. "These days I think we would love to set a game in the UK, set in London, whatever, but I don't know if it would be a GTA game. I think there are plenty of great stories we could tell about the UK, great environments to showcase, great gameplay mechanics that could have a UK bent to them – I just don't think it would be a GTA necessarily.

"There are so many games we'd like to make that we just don't have the bandwidth to make at the moment. But we always think, well the future is long and varied, and that's what the future's for. Speaking for myself – and normally I'd be as militant about saying 'we' as much as possible, because it certainly isn't only me at all, thank god – but my own personal feeling is that GTA is America. With this game, I think, we're very happy with the location. It let us do something iconic."

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