- Part of...States of Play: Roleplay Reality
Grand Theft Auto V
Playable game, playthrough videos
Grand Theft Auto V is an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North in Edinburgh: it is the fourth best-selling game ever made. The series has been a lightning rod of controversy for over two decades, but this media focus only serves to make each new installment more popular than the last.
Set mostly within the glitzy, superficial city of Los Santos (a warped mirror of Los Angeles) GTA V is a sprawling tale of criminals on a blood-splattered career trajectory which is dizzying at times, but also grimly compelling. Rockstar North has built an extraordinary universe that functions not only as an exciting, diverse setting but also as a nihilistic satire on western society.
The title is constantly attacked for its sheer amorality and the relentless seething darkness of the narrative, including being forced to torture a defenseless character in order to progress in the story. This is how the world of GTA is constructed: relentlessly misanthropic, but always interrogating the relationship between player and game whilst exploring notions of complicity and culpability. At its core is the ever-present question: what is the player prepared to do? This produces a monstrous parody of modern life – celebrity fixation, political apathy and morose self-obsession.
But how much does this commentary go noticed by players? Many argue that the games’ satirical barbs at its target demographic are too heavy-handed and the industry too much in its adolescence, which leads to many of its male players to revel in its frat-boy humour (for example, the way in which women are depicted) rather than feeling repelled by it.
Courtesy of Rockstar Games.