Anyone who’s ever played the groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto 3 may have wondered how or why the main character interacted with so many people without opening his mouth. Or maybe you didn’t, since there protagonists didn’t really do a whole lot of talking back then, which is why Rockstar didn’t deem it absolutely necessary.
The reason behind the mystery? Rockstar was busy with other stuff in development, and a silent protagonist “did not seem like a major issue.”
Talking on Rockstar Newswire, the studio said, “It may now seem obvious that people should all talk in games, but this was not necessarily the case in 2001, certainly not in an open world game.”
“We were making up a lot of procedures as we went along, and we decided that the NPCs (Non Playable Characters) should talk and we would have to figure out how to make them talk (using motion captured cutscenes, something that had never really been done before, at least not on the scale we were doing it).
“So we decided that the game’s protagonist would not talk, partly to aid people identifying with him, but mostly because we had so many other problems to solve and this did not seem like a major issue.”
Rockstar introduced a talking lead in 2002 follow-up Vice City, voiced by the legendary Ray Liotta. According to them however, this “was a lot of work.”
Rockstar continues, “While the structure of GTA3 may seem obvious or natural now, and the use of cutscenes made in the game’s engine that look and feel like the game may seem simple and easy, it really was not the case back in 2001 when we had to figure out all of these things for the first time.
“Oh and in San Andreas, CJ calls Claude a mute because he does not talk and CJ finds this unnerving.”
The chatter over this now decade-old game is due to the 10 Year Anniversary Edition being released on iOS and Android.