Prepare to wave goodbye to your social life (and workplace attendance figures); GTA V is very nearly upon us. The latest entry in the award-winning criminal sim franchise, the series’ fifth core installment arrives later this month to cap off the 7th gen of consoles in style.
Shifting the game’s hype train into high gear, developer Rockstar has been hard at work filling in our news feeds as of late, touting everything from radio station teases, to brand-new trailers and even a recreation of the GTA III Banshee sportscar. Now, the studio behind the mammoth sandbox franchise is sitting down to discuss the game’s unusually sourced voice work.
Speaking to Chicago’s WGN radio station this week, iconic GTA presenter, publisher and all-round personality Lucien ‘Lazlow’ Jones, explained to listeners the extreme lengths the studio had gone to in order to secure authentic vocal talents. Recording in people’s homes, on the streets and in-studio – alongside a plethora of real life gang members – Jones cites authenticity as being his number one goal.
“we go towards authenticity […] In the game there’s these rival gangs. There’s Black gangs, Latino gangs … we recruited a guy who gets gang members, actual real gang members, like El Salvadoran gang dudes with amazing tattoos, one of which had literally gotten out of prison the day before.”
Rather than script hokey gangland chatter amongst themselves, Lazlow claims Rockstar were more than willing to work alongside these one-time voiceover artists, some of whom would “look at the lines and say, ‘I wouldn’t say that,’ so we say, ‘OK, say what you would say?’ […] There’s a lot of sessions where we would just throw the script on the floor, [saying] ‘this is is irrelevant, let’s just work on something real.’”
Described as providing “ambient character” work, these recordings are likely to end up being utilized as part of the game’s background chatter; the general buzz of the city surrounding protagonists Michael, Trevor & Franklin. Of course, Grand Theft Auto V isn’t the first criminal epic to employ cons, both active and otherwise. HBO’s The Wire assigned many key roles to former hoodlums, creating a sense of realism often lost on similar ‘police procedurals.’ Rockstar is likely hoping to echo the success of that world here.
In keeping with the series’ increasingly gritty and dramatic tone, as well as its general move away from more star powered cameos, (think Samuel L. Jackson, Burt Reynolds, James Woods, Bill Hader, Axel Rose appearing in previous outings) ‘Lazlow’ went on to critize the use of professionals for these kinds of minor roles, stating:
“We get these guys in to record the gang characters because we don’t want a goofy L.A actor who went to a fancy school trying to be a hard gang member. There’s nothing worse than that.”
The studio’s reluctance to pursue big name actors likely has as much to do with outrageous wage demands and ego trips as it does with authenticity. Tommy Vercetti’s Ray Liotta reportedly made life difficult during his tenure in the recording booth for GTA Vice City, veering between Goodfellas-like excellence and other less-than-stellar conduct.
In other Grand Theft Auto V news, 10 new screenshots have been released online, (credit: NeoGaf user Sn4ke_911) showcasing the game’s protagonists as they undertake assorted gangland tasks. One unusual screenshot appears to hint at the possibility of an underwater co-op level, with Trevor piloting a deep-sea one-man submarine in pursuit of either Michael or Franklin. Could gamers be in for a modern day take on a sunken-treasure quest?
Are you excited to get your hands on Grand Theft Auto V? Does the authenticity of a voice cast really matter to you? Who provided the series’ best celebrity cameo to date? Have your say in the comments below, and be sure to check out our rundown of the game’s pre-order incentives.
Grand Theft Auto V releases on September 17th for Xbox 360 & PS3.