Red Dead Redemption is the latest release from video game pioneers Rockstar, the people behind the Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt series.
This new open world game has already topped pre-order charts and follows an ex-outlaw making his way through the American Wild West.
Here is an interview that newsbeat had with one of Red Dead’s developers.
We put some of your questions (as well as some of our own) to Lazlow, one of the game’s developers and the radio DJ featured in the GTA games. Here’s what he had to say.
Nadine Coyle: How did you get into the gaming industry and where did it happen?
I got into the video game industry by slacking off, I met one of the founders of Rockstar games on the beach whilst surfing and we started doing some fake radio shows and fake DJ banter for GTA III. The game did quite well so we went on to work on other games too.
Gary Speer: How much time and work is involved in making one of your games?
It is more work than I can actually describe. The studios work very hard for many years on the code and the graphics. On RDR they’ve done about five years’ work. It takes a long time to make a video game from the first idea to inception, to design the motion capture, to writing all the scripts. Each of our open world games has up to 1000 characters walking around and you need to make personalities, names and pages of dialogue for all those people.
Dan Whitworth, Newsbeat technology reporter: How does it feel when you release one of these games after so much work?
It’s an amazing high. You’re also very sensitive to any criticism about it because you’ve worked so hard on it. But I think the real emotional feeling is taking the disc home and playing it and when you finally complete that final mission I get misty eyed. It’s like ‘Wow, this thing is finally coming to a close’ – this thing my friends and I have worked on for years.
Heather Prue: How do you feel about accusations that games such as yours are responsible for more violence among young people?
Our games are not designed for young people. If you’re a parent and buy one of our games for your child you’re a terrible parent. We design games for adults because we’re adults. There’s a lot of kids games out there that we’re not interested in playing. Just like you enjoy watching movies and TV shows with adult themes and language and violence that’s the kind of thing we seek to produce.
Bawn Trouble: How do you get round the certifiers?
The ratings board are pretty straightforward. In our games, with the GTA series, we do a lot of satire. With the Red Dead game we tried to make it feel like a really gritty western. But there’s not a lot of pushback from the ratings board. It’s not like we’re creating anything that’s really sensationalist or titillating.
Scott Fulton: Why do you think so many people love your games?
Fortunately the same team that created GTA III is the same team that’s behind Red Dead Redemption. I think it’s the attention to detail and I think it’s the founders of Rockstar, Dan and Sam Houser, having such a great vision.
Jack Thompson/Robin Gaden: Is there going to be a GTA set in modern London or the UK in the next ten years?
We always get asked these questions about bringing GTA to someone’s home town. The talk about future games, well they won’t even tell me because I tend to have pints and hang out with journalists and shoot my mouth off so they keep that stuff secret.
Joanne Hutchinson: Do you think the video game industry has become too politically correct, affecting where you can go with new games?
I think that Rockstar has pushed a lot of boundaries to be able to make the art that that we believe we should be able to make. If you tell a gritty crime drama with violence and profanity and call it The Sopranos you’re handed a load of awards to put up on the shelf. You do the same and call it a video game and you’ll have certain organisations up in arms. I think ever since GTA IV came out and there were such rave reviews by major publications saying that this is actually art the restrictions about being politically correct have largely fallen away.
William Hobson: How much of the character Lazlow in the GTA series is based on you and your life?
Haha! How much am I a depressed, balding, divorced mess? Sometimes. No, only kidding! The character of Lazlow in the games is written by Dan Houser and I, so he always puts in some nasty things about me, in my personality and the script. I would say it’s probably 60 to 100% accurate!
Gary Speer: Did the success of the open world design on GTA affect your work on RDR?
We felt open world lends so much to a video game. A lot of times you’ll play some games that are very restricted when you’re just guided through a level. But once we broke some new ground in GTA IV we had a whole new bunch of ideas like what if instead of a city you had a prairie and mountains and Mexico and all these amazing places you could go explore.
Colin Mackie: What’s better, PS3 or Xbox?
I myself prefer the Xbox because of Xbox Live. But I own both and I’m not going to get sucked into the console wars. I think the best thing to do is sell blood until you can afford to buy both! I own a Mac and a PC for the same reason. They’re two different tools that do different things.
Dan Whitworth, Newsbeat technology reporter: What are your hopes for RDR?
I hope that for the people that do pick it up that it evokes an emotional response. That people will feel they’re part of our world and that they’ll become immersed in the time period. We did so much research into everything. What the guns of the time looked like, what the clothes looked like, what the interiors in the game are like. Those interiors were all specifically researched by our people in great detail, so I hope they’ll love it and that it’ll put a smile on their face.
Gary Maeslan: Can I have a job?
Yes. Yes you can, because we’re hiring like mad whilst so many other industries are firing. If you go to the Rockstar Games website you can click on jobs. But I have several tips for people looking for jobs in the gaming industry. Put your gamer score on your CV, not what your grades in school are. Also, don’t write cover letters that are 18 pages long. Give me bullet points.
I hope you agree, a great insight into the game and an intriguing read.
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