Rockstar Games founder Sam Houser said his team talked with FBI agents, former members of the Mafia and gang members –– all topped off with “eye-openingly depressing” experiences in the desert.
Houser said it was important to take so much time researching the game to be able to tell the story they wanted through three different protagonists.
“Having three protagonists allows us to create nuanced stories, not a set of archetypes,” Houser said. “Rather than seeming like you’ve got this super-criminal who can do everything effortlessly, they’re all good and bad at different things.”
Rockstar literally took to the streets for GTA 5 in order to get a realist feel for the “flavor” of the city and its inhabitants.
“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,” Houser said.
“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 drops for the PS3 and Xbox 360 on Sept. 17.