Houser: Lack of respect for videogames grants "freedom"

GTA IV scribe says videogame development allows for more freedom and creativity than TV or film

Rockstar's Dan Houser has said he enjoys the fact that videogames are not as highly respected as TV or film because of the freedom that affords developers.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the Grand Theft Auto IV scribe commented that traditional mediums were "codified" and that videogames benefited from having "no accepted way of doing anything".

"I hope it's long," he said after being asked if he thought videogames would ever be as respected as movies or film.

"It's really fun at the moment because we're not in any Academy and the medium's not codified. There's no accepted way of doing anything so that give us enormous pleasure because we can make it up as we go along," he added.

"Movies and TV and books have become so structured in the way they have to approach things. Not working in that environment gives us enormous freedom. I'd rather keep the freedom and not have the respect."

Lost and Damned, the first expansion pack for GTA IV, is set to cost 1600 Microsoft Points (GBP 13.60 / EUR 19.20) when it's released on 17th February.

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Latest comments (1)

Massimo Guarini Founding Director and CEO, Ovosonico10 years ago
I see the point but I can't totally agree with this.
Houser's point of view might be naturally backed up by the tremendous weight his company is currently having, both in terms of business power and, therefore, creative freedom.
Owning one of the most successful IPs on the planet certainly helps giving that "enormous freedom" Houser refers to.

True, we're not in any Academy and the medium's not codified, but the business aspects of the industry which creates that medium are indeed heavily codified.
And one of the most common equations in the industry is that creative freedom comes from financial stability and market dominance.
Interestingly enough, financial stability does not come from "no accepted ways of doing things".

I apologize if this might sound simplistic, but I hadn't found yet any evident contradiction in the system to completely deny these mechanics.

Videogames are rapidly becoming as structured as Movies and TV not only in business models but also in the way they approach things.

The only difference is that Games do have an extra dimension which movies and TV don't: interactivity.
But yet and once again, we can't use the challenges/opportunities that this "new" dimension offers as comparison term with non-interactive linear storytelling experiences.

Let's see instead all the structures and codes our industry has already managed to apply to the interactive medium: every game experience is mostly structured in the same way, following well established vocabularies and recognizable interfaces. Interaction follows some rules. Games as people know are strongly recognizable for this very reason.
Of course some exceptions pop up, now more than ever.

But that's exactly the same thing that happened already with movies, and TV shows, and music as well.

I still humbly believe I can have the very same enormous creative freedom with any other media, as far as I don't slip into comparisons that don't take into consideration the very essence of the medium itself.

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