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Grand Theft Auto III's Dan Houser Reflects On Game's 10th Anniversary

Rockstar North studio head and Grand Theft Auto III co-creator Dan Houser reflects on the legacy of the groundbreaking 2001 game that created the sandbox genre.
Rockstar's groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto III celebrates its 10-year anniversary on Saturday. As part of the festivities, series co-creator Dan Houser recently sat down for a rare interview to discuss the game's origins and legacy. "We thought it could be magical. Not the Holy Grail, but this thing that was 3D but open and expansive, combining elements of hardcore action, driving, adventuring--all these genres," Houser recently told GameSpot. "Very cinematic and story-driven gameplay, this experience that's really unlike anything you've seen before. And people were scratching their heads around it! We were all, 'Are we wrong?'" One facet that has kept the series in good standing with critics is in well-woven storytelling, a Rockstar tradition that started with this game. "A good story is one that moves you through the experience well," Houser reflected. "Yes, you want clever plots and clever twists and clever this, that, and the other. For a game like this, we needed something that moved you around the map well and kept you engaged and is a constant series of mini-stories." Of course, the series is well known in the major media for allowing the player to engage in extreme violence. According to Houser, violence was not necessarily the aim of the original Grand Theft Auto III, but more of a side effect. "The key idea of the game was that it wasn't about violence; it was about freedom," he said. "We thought that was something that games did very well, the idea that you're turning a viewer into an active participant. So give them the freedom of choice over what they do." To celebrate the anniversary, Rockstar is set to release mobile versions of GTA III later this year, on both iOS and Android devices.

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