I don’t know if any of you are gamers, but I most definitely am a gamer. I’m also a HUGE fan of the Grand Theft Auto series. Playboy scored an interview with the very reclusive Sam Houser, head of Rockstar Games (he hasn’t given an interview in 5+ years).
It’s a long article, but well worth the read, especially if you love Rockstar Games.
“GTA III unveiled an entire new world, a place of sweet, lawless release, of feisty urban insanity, that you could really live in.
And it almost wasn’t published.
As the finishing touches were being put on this crazy pastiche masterpiece and crunch time for Rockstar’s hoped-for 2001 launch ramped up, 9/11 happened. The World Trade Center towers were attacked, and all things precious in every New Yorker’s world, including Sam Houser’s, would never be the same. The brothers witnessed the horrors from an apartment in Greenwich Village. Fear of the unknown bubbled up into sheer paranoia. As the towers collapsed on that sunny September morning, Houser thought buildings north of ground zero might be affected, maybe from a domino effect. He told Dan, “This beautiful city has been attacked, and now we’re making a violent crime drama set in a city that’s not unlike New York. My God, I’m terrorized where I live, and on top of that, we’ve got this crazy fucking game that is not exactly where people’s heads are at right now.”
Not where people’s heads are at. Movies released at the time were tanking. A Jackie Chan film was scrubbed, and films that featured bombings (such as Collateral Damage) were delayed. Houser and Rockstar considered bagging the project, but the game was released, amid a fair amount of staff concern, on October 22. It featured a transformed Big Apple called Liberty City. The Twin Towers and blue-and-white police cars, too similar to those of the NYPD, were eliminated.”