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Sam Houser and Rockstar Games Remember 9/11

online TreeFittyactivity 2870 Days Agomiscaffiliates 4232 Viewsforums 3 Comments
There has always been a small argument over whether or not Grand Theft Auto III was changed due to the events of September 11th, 2001. Some points were obvious, such as the change of police cars from NYPD white over blue to LAPD black and white. Other points not so much. But the truth of the matter is that 9/11 did change the game. And other games. And Rockstar Games as a whole - including Sam Houser.

Games journalist Harold Goldberg of the New York Video Games Critic Circle posted a blog entry about that day and how it affected himself and Sam. The post has as excerpt from his book All Your Base Are Belong To Us - which we've posted about previously telling Sam Houser's side of the Hot Coffee scandal.


"But just as (Sam) began readying his fiery personality for (Grand Theft Auto III's) launch, he and Dan watched the terrorism attacks from a Thompson Street apartment on September 11, 2001. In the early moments of the disaster, he feared the buildings might tip and cause a domino effect right into Soho and further up into Greenwich Village. For an intensely nervewracking two weeks during which the country as a whole was on edge, the Housers talked about bagging the game altogether. Like everyone in Manhattan at the time, they didn't know if terrorism would strike again. Manhattan constantly smelled noxious, like chemicals were burning, and there were posters of the missing plastered everywhere. Sam 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 City. My God, I'm terrorized where I live and on top of that, we've got this fucking crazy game that is not exactly where people's heads are at right now.'

Rockstar worked to change the game to make it work for gamers and society in a post-9/11 world. Many gamemakers did the same. At Entertainment Weekly, Noah Robischon and I were given the daunting task of writing about the effect of 9/11 on games for a special issue of the magazine. All the games that dealt with New York City were changing. Even Microsoft removed the Twin Towers from their popular Flight Simulator game."

You can purchase All Your Base Are Belong To Us here. Thanks to our friends at Rockstar Network for the heads up and join us at the Grand Theft Auto V forums!
online demonactivity 2866 Days Ago
Good article, + rep.

So they changed the police cars to make it look like the game was not in NYC. But isn't it very obvious to any player that the game is in NYC anyway?

I don't know what colors are most common for cop cars in USA, but maybe white over blue is rare or only in New York.
online TreeFittyactivity 2866 Days Ago
There is definitely an NYC influence in GTA III but not completely. Staunton (middle) Island is obvious but the other islands have either made up parts or influences from other places (the airport was Los Angeles and seen again in San Andreas).

I don't think many places used that white/blue color scheme. It really was (and still is) identifiable as NYPD, especially with so many great movies about NYC during the time PD used it. Black and white is somewhat common but I don't know if Los Angeles started it.

Unlike other countries, there isn't any set standard of what colors or graphic schemes police need to use in the US which makes a very diverse nation of departments. White with some kind of striping is probably the most used but there are places with black, grey, and even red police cars.
online demonactivity 2866 Days Ago
Red police cars. tongue.gif
Personally I prefer black and white.
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