Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser is glad the studio's next game is Red Dead Redemption 2, because he wouldn't want to release a new Grand Theft Auto game in the era of Donald Trump. In an interview with GQ, Houser said the current political environment in the US has made it "really unclear what we would even do with it, let alone how upset people would get with whatever we did."
"Both intense liberal progression and intense conservatism are both very militant, and very angry. It is scary but it’s also strange, and yet both of them seem occasionally to veer towards the absurd," Houser said. "It’s hard to satirize for those reasons. Some of the stuff you see is straightforwardly beyond satire. It would be out of date within two minutes, everything is changing so fast."
Grand Theft Auto games have traditionally taken satirical aim at pretty much every controversial topic under the sun. GTA5's Civil Border Patrol, for instance, are a couple of idiots who hunt down "dangerous" illegal immigrants, although they're generally neither dangerous nor illegal; the "American Welcome" mission requires players to stun and capture Mexicans with a taser, despite the fact that they're documented legal citizens. A troublesome "private military corporation" features prominently in the game, and radio stations parody both extreme left and right-wing political views.
Because Red Dead Redemption 2 is set a century in the past, it probably won't explore those issues. But it does have to handle sensitive historical matters like the "oppressive" racial and gender inequality of that era, Houser says, which it will acknowledge but not wholly portray.
"It may be a work of historical fiction, but it’s not a work of history," Houser said. "You want to allude to that stuff, but you can’t do it with 100 percent historical accuracy. It would be deeply unpleasant."
"This is a time when the women's movement had begun in its infancy. Women were beginning to challenge their very constrained place in society, and that gave us some interesting characters. We’re not trying to tap into 'He’s a black man so he should speak this way, and she’s an Indian woman so she should speak that way.' We’re trying to feel what they’re like as people."
Red Dead Redemption 2 comes out on October 26, but not on PC. Sorry.