Sam Houser and Rockstar Games Remember 9/11

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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!