Rockstar Co-Founder Says GTA Online Offers Something For Everyone
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 09.30.2013
It's out tomorrow...
Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser recently spoke with Polygon about the release of GTA Online tomorrow. Check out the highlights:
On single-player games in an increasingly multiplayer world: "I think the well executed multiplayer game clearly attracts a big audience, but it doesn't attract as big an audience as in a single player game. It just doesn't do that yet."
On successful onlline games having an important single player element: "Not everybody, not even with Call of Duty, not everyone is playing the multiplayer. There's a huge audience for people who love single-player adventures. And I think what we make is action adventure-games. Games with ever stronger mechanics and an ever stronger adventure component. They're not quite RPG's but it's getting harder and harder to say what the difference is between an RPG and what we do. The space between the two has in the past few years has gotten smaller and smaller. I think a short single player game struggles. That's what's happened. But a big single player adventure can do well if it's a good game. Just as a focused multiplayer game can do well if it's a big game. The only area where it's become tough is for a short single player campaign without multiplayer. That's become a tough market, I believe. The rest of it, everything is just moved in one direction without moving away from the other direction."
On why they did an online component for GTA: "Because I think we feel passionately about open world games. What we like about open world games is that a lot of the qualities of it are not unique to single player."
On making GTA Online an online experience that can deliver everything they want: "It has been a hard challenge to get right...So the people that like death matches, there are still death match, there are still races," he said. "But we are trying to glue the whole thing together by bringing the free roam component to life, which would give us the stuff that we really like from open world."
On why the open world experience is important: "What we like about the open world games and where we think they are unique or uniquely good at doing something compared to all other media, is that you can be somewhere. That you can be in this world that we built, this sort of digital tourism idea. Even the best fantasy movies or any set in a movie that builds a world beautifully, any book that puts you in a world in a beautiful way, can't do it with the same power that games have to actually put you in that world and explore it at your speed, in your way, doing the things you want to do."
On the open world setting translating into both multiplayer and single player: "So, to give people a chance to do multiple mechanics in any way they want in a game is potentially as rewarding in a multiplayer game as it is in a single player game," he said. "We had many technical hurdles to overcome, which, is why when you think about maybe, four games from when you first started doing it, to getting it close to being right. I don't want to say it's right until people played and loved it, but we believe it is right for this game."
On separating the online from the offline version, release date-wise: "On the practical reasons it was simply on the scale of: ‘Why not simply get these two enormous things done completely at the same time, finished completely seamlessly and in a box?,'" he said. "Well, because its nearly impossible. To make games on this scale is very, very hard and anyone you speak to who works on those big games will, if they're honest, admit that there are a lot of moving parts. So, we were concerned that trying to finish them both for the same day would lead to a compromise in quality. On a practical level, it was very important that they each get a period when they can be really focused on by large numbers of the team to iron out as many problems as possible."
On wanting to give gamers more time to invest a bit into the game before releasing GTA Online: "I think we were concerned that some of our previous games, while they still had a very fun multiplayer component to them, it was almost like it was being cannibalized by the enormity of the single player game. People were just not focusing on it. So by moving it, we really wanted to go all in and make this much bigger, much more encompassing, a stand-alone product essentially. By making it separate you give people a reason to look at it as a different thing."