The New York Times has published a rather interesting interview with Dan Houser in which, among other things, the Rockstar co-founder manages to heavily spoil the plot of Grand Theft Auto 5.
If you play GTA for the story, you should definitely avert your eyes. Still staring intently at this paragraph? Don't say you weren't warned: one of the three playable protagonists is, in fact, the game's antagonist.
"Just at the conceptual level, the idea was three separate stories that you play in one game," Houser began, when asked how the new tripartite character arc furthered his ambitions for videogames as a medium. "The next bit was, let's not have the stories intersect once or twice but have them completely interwoven. It felt like it was going to be a real narrative strength: you get to play the protagonist and the antagonist in the same story."
Sounds fascinating, Houser, but I'd have appreciated the opportunity to discover all this myself. You should take a leaf out of Assassin's Creed 3's book. There's still the question of which of the three is the villain, of course. Is it Michael, washed-up bank robber unretired for "one last job"? Or Trevor, the drug-addled pilot? Or Franklin, stripling gangster and repo man?
A qualifier: "antagonist" doesn't necessarily mean "bad guy", though that's the usual sense nowadays. An antagonist can be on friendly terms with the hero of the piece, but act in a way that runs counter to the latter's aims.
Elsewhere in the chat, the British-born Houser commented lengthily on the idea that the GTA games are satires of America. "I don't think anyone in America really understands what growing up in Britain in the '70s and '80s was like. Eighty percent of the television was American. Every movie you saw was American. Even though there are all these great British pop stars, 95 percent of them sing in American accents, and they all sing in an American idiom.
"So there was a great love of America, and maybe some junior-partner resentments for it," he went on. "But it's a very different relationship compared to America's contemporary relationship with Britain, where a few small things are cherry-picked and told how wonderful they are.
"My brother and I have a certain perspective as people from London who then moved to New York. But the guys in Scotland at our Rockstar North studio, they have a different perspective, as people who never lived here. And then Lazlow Jones, who writes a lot of the satire with me, is a good ol' boy from Oklahoma. The games have always been, in some ways, a British response to Americana, rather than America. But it's not just that."
There aren't any other spoilers in the piece, and it's a wide-ranging read, so by all means click away. GTA 5 is in many respects a very different kind of GTA, not least because Rockstar has chosen not to include knottier features like romance options and RPG subsystems.