Grand Theft Auto and accusations of it influencing violent acts are like ’80s De Niro and Scorsese, Los Angeles and s*** traffic, Bieber and childish behavior – all inseparable. Recently, the voice actor trio responsible for GTA V’s charismatic protagonists, spoke with PC Advisor about GTA and why it’s not to blame for violence.
Ned Luke, who plays Michael de Santa in GTA V, opened with a strong statement.
Anyone who has any conception at all about the games and hasn’t played them should go play the games before they open their mouths.
He continued discussing about how the game is inaccurately conceptualized.
The biggest misconception is that it glamorizes violence. It really doesn’t. If you look at my character, Michael, he’s rich, but he’s a miserable man. Even in the commercials you see that. This is a guy who’s struggling with his life’s decisions.
If you want to take something out the game, take out of it that here’s a guy who loves his family, who’s kind of lost. He’s trying to hold it together. He’s trying to become a good guy, but he can’t. He just has all these demons that he’s battling. It’s the struggle. Take that and look at how he loves his family even though he wants to kill them and that’s what it is. Look for the relationships. Look for the humor. Look for the irony and the satire in the game. That’s another big misconception, “What, do they think we’re serious?
Steven Ogg, who voices Trevor, arguably the most evil character out of the trio, talked about the hypocrisy at play.
The hypocrisy drives me crazy. It just sets the wrong focus. Why not talk about gun control? Why not talk about parenting? Why not talk of lack of family values? There are so many other things to talk about. Look at what’s on TV. Breaking Bad had that episode where Giancarlo got his face blown off. There’s a lot of intense stuff out there. Video games are just an easy scapegoat. My nephew plays this game. I asked my sister if she was worried because there’s some pretty nasty stuff in there and she said, ‘I know he’s not going to go to school tomorrow with a gun. He’s not like that.'”
Shawn Fonteno, a real-life ex gang member who plays Franklin Clinton, talked about relating to the game.
I know a few people that live that kind of (violent) lifestyle and when they play GTA they can relate to it. It has an impact to the point that they’re happy that they can just play it in the game and not have to relive it in real life. And that’s the big key thing with this, man. It’s just a video game. And people that have lived that life and have done them things, as I did, can just have fun with it in a game. You can leave it there and nobody’s getting hurt and you’re just having fun.
He continued by discussing the wrongful, generally held public distinction between games and movies.
People already have it in their mind that GTA is for kids because it’s a game. Then they hear about the violence and they’re instantly going to attack because it’s a game. Now, if it was a movie it would be a different story and these same people would be out there supporting it. GTA V is like a movie. Once they get the game in their hands, they’ll see. It says it big as day–Mature. It’s not for the kids to go get. It’s for Mature audiences only. If kids get it, then that’s on their parents.
Grand Theft Auto makes itself an easy target for mainstream media, but these three have it right. If the game is in the hands of intended audience and not kids, it’s no different than violent movies, television, or music.
Now go enjoy the game! If you’re 18+ of course.