Grand Theft Auto V to Feature Real Gang Members
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 16:09
Rockstar North is upping the authenticity of its upcoming “Grand Theft Auto V” with real-life gang members as voice actors.
“There’s black gangs, there’s Latino gangs, and we recruited a guy who gets gang members, like actual gang members, real gang members,” producer Lazlow Jones said to radio station WGN. “I mean, El Salvadorian gang dudes with amazing tattoos and one of which literally had gotten out of prison the day before. And we brought these guys in to record the gang characters because you know, you don’t want a goofy LA actor who went to a fancy school trying to be a hard gang member. There’s nothing worse than that.”
It seems the game will still feature celebrities in major roles, with the authentic gang members filling the roles of ambient characters.
It’s rare for me to take issue with a game “going too far” in terms of story or plot. This situation rubs me the wrong way, however.
It’s not the inclusion of the gang members themselves that bothers me—greater lengths have been gone to in order to secure authenticity, and this at least offers those involved legitimate work. It’s the way Jones touts their inclusion as a major PR point. Grand Theft Auto—the game itself—hardly “celebrates” criminal activity the way cable news would have you believe, but the real-life promotion of real-life criminals seems like just that.
This isn’t the first time a game has given me pause regarding its production staff. “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” touted the involvement Oliver North, the former U.S. colonel and now-Fox News host.
North’s notoriety as a public figure is the result of his selling guns to Iran during the Iran-Contra incident, and the subsequent use of those proceeds to destabilize South American government (which, being banned Boland Amendment, led to his dismissal).
Real gang members are, obviously, not on North’s level of moral ambiguity, but it’s not them I have a problem with (in this specific instance). This might be the glorification of criminal activity in video games conservative pundits have been striving to make up all these decades—it’s just interesting that it exists outside of the game itself, and that one of their own actually did it first.