The GTA franchise has been able to not only make a huge splash, but also managed to surpass expectations and grow in relevance and popularity. Today, the series is at the very pinnacle of the gaming industry, and while many have tried to wrest the throne away, none have come close.
One of the elements about GTA that makes it such a culturally relevant piece of entertainment is its cutting-edge satire. The creative team of Rockstar Games, headed by co-founder Dan Houser, has valued humour and clever writing more than anything else when it comes to this franchise.
Houser has since left Rockstar, after a long and illustrious career leading the charge on writing games such as Red Dead Redemption and the GTA series.
Houser did reveal, in an interview with GQ in 2018, how relieved he was upon learning that the studio's next project would be Red Dead Redemption 2 and not a GTA sequel.
Dan Houser didn't think any satire in GTA 6 would have been spared under Trump
At the very core of the GTA franchise, it has mostly remained an extremely critical piece of entertainment that pokes fun at just about everything under the sun. No political stance or ideologies are spared GTA's satirical humour, and rarely any subject has been deemed "too sensitive" by Rockstar.
However, Houser expressed his concerns about releasing a GTA game under Donald Trump's presidency. This because the game couldn't ignore the proverbial elephant in the room and gloss over that element altogether.
He explained that the current political landscape had made it "really unclear what we would even do with it, let alone how upset people would get with whatever we did."
His exact quotes read:
"Both intense liberal progression and intense conservatism are 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."
"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 It would be out of date within two minutes, and everything is changing so fast."
His initial explanation being that any issue when satirized would become too hot for both sides to be okay with. While the GTA franchise and Rockstar haven't had much consideration for outrage against content in their products, the ex-Rockstar boss also had other things to consider.
One of his other explanations was that the absurd nature of the current political landscape would be rendered obsolete quite soon. As a result, the game would feel dated and alienate the player base in the future.
While satire does always run the risk of becoming dated due to its very nature, it seems like Rockstar would much rather not run that risk.