GTA V actors reject accusations of encouraging violence
Parents should take more control and stop being hypocritical, say stars
GTA's main voice actors have rallied around to defend the game from accusations that it encourages violent behaviour in children, calling the criticisms "hypocritical" and a "misconception".
Ned Luke voices middle aged career criminal Michael in the blockbuster, and believes that he does anything but glamourise his violent lifestyle.
"Anyone who has any conception at all about the games and hasn't played them should go play the games before they open their mouths," Luke told PC Advisor.
"The biggest misconception is that it glamorizes violence. It really doesn't. If you look at my character, Michael, he's rich, but he's a miserable man. Even in the commercials you see that. This is a guy who's struggling with his life's decisions.
"If you want to take something out the game, take out of it that here's a guy who loves his family, who's kind of lost. He's trying to hold it together. He's trying to become a good guy, but he can't. He just has all these demons that he's battling. It's the struggle. Take that and look at how he loves his family even though he wants to kill them and that's what it is. Look for the relationships. Look for the humor. Look for the irony and the satire in the game. That's another big misconception. What, do they think we're serious?
"GTA allows you to tap into everything that you can't do in real life," he continues. "In real life, you don't get to go out and rampage and do all these bad things. Gangster movies have been huge forever - Godfather, Casino, Goodfellas, all the way back to Jimmy Cagney. People lose themselves in the bad boy. And there isn't anybody badder than the dudes in GTA. That's why they're so popular. You get to actually go out and do all these horrible things.
"It's not for the kids to go get. It's for Mature audiences only. If kids get it, then that's on their parents."
Shawn Fonteno - voice actor for Franklin Clinton
"As an actor, I got to go out and do all these crazy things and then go back home to my wife and my son and go out in the back yard and throw a baseball around like a normal all-American dad. I think that's what these games are. People who take them too seriously and go, 'Oh, this is life.' No, this isn't life. This is imagination. It's just fun. You definitely don't want GTA raising your children. But it's not a bad release from them, when you need to get away."
Steven Ogg, the actor who plays sociopathic Canuck Trevor Phillips, says that detractors should compare GTA to other mediums before they pass judgement, arguing that nothing depicted in the game is any worse that what's often shown on TV or in cinema, and that there are other, much bigger, contributors to social violence than video games.
"The hypocrisy drives me crazy, it just sets the wrong focus. Why not talk about gun control? Why not talk about parenting? Why not talk of lack of family values? There are so many other things to talk about. Look at what's on TV. Breaking Bad had that episode where ******** got his face blown off. There's a lot of intense stuff out there. Video games are just an easy scapegoat. My nephew plays this game. I asked my sister if she was worried because there's some pretty nasty stuff in there and she said, 'I know he's not going to go to school tomorrow with a gun. He's not like that.'"
Franklin's voice actor, an ex-gang member called Shawn Fonteno, has a different perspective on the criticism, but one that comes from experience which most of the game's opponents will never have.
"I know a few people that live that kind of (violent) lifestyle and when they play GTA they can relate to it," Fonteno explained. "It has an impact to the point that they're happy that they can just play it in the game and not have to relive it in real life. And that's the big key thing with this, man. It's just a video game. And people that have lived that life and have done them things, as I did, can just have fun with it in a game. You can leave it there and nobody's getting hurt and you're just having fun.
"People already have it in their mind that GTA is for kids because it's a game. Then they hear about the violence and they're instantly going to attack because it's a game. Now, if it was a movie it would be a different story and these same people would be out there supporting it. GTA V is like a movie. Once they get the game in their hands, they'll see. It says it big as day -Mature. It's not for the kids to go get. It's for Mature audiences only. If kids get it, then that's on their parents."