When one thinks about the experience of Grand Theft Auto, the word “authentic” isn’t usually what comes to mind. Everyone remembers their first time running down hordes of hookers, recreating the climax of Scarface and even using a jet pack from Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City and San Andreas respectively. But as Saints Row has come out and erred on the side of parody, Grand Theft Auto has gone towards something more grounded and realistic. With Grand Theft Auto V being the second in the series heading back to a more authentic experience, Rockstar Games actually went and got real gang members to be a part of their voice cast. That’s right. Real gang bangers.
In an interview on Chicago radio station WGN, Rockstar producer Lazlow Jones spoke about the decision and process of using real gang members. “When we record all these ambient characters that are in the world, we go towards authenticity,” Jones said. “So in the game, part of the element of the story is that there’s rival gangs.
“There’s black gangs, there’s Latino gangs, and we recruited a guy who gets gang members, like actual gang members, real gang members. I mean, El Salvadorian gang dudes with amazing tattoos and one of which literally had gotten out of prison the day before. And we brought these guys in to record the gang characters because, you know, you don’t want a goofy LA actor who went to a fancy school trying to be a hard gang member. There’s nothing worse than that.”
Jones also spoke about the challenge of writing and recording the gang dialogue saying, “They look at the lines and they say, ‘I wouldn’t say that. If I was upset at another gang, I wouldn’t say that’. So…say what you would say. Authenticity, you know? There’s a lot of sessions that we would have where we would just throw the script on the floor and be like, this thing we wrote is irrelevant, let’s just work out something real.”
Grand Theft Auto V is due for release on the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 17th. For the week following it, I will probably be locked in my apartment, getting up only to get food and alcohol. Make sure to let us know your GTA V launch plans and what you think of the gang member dialogue.