GR: So do you think that, overall, the game is worth the hype it’s been getting and the amount of coverage that we’ve been giving it up to this point?
RS: I don’t think there’s any way it was going to not live up to a lot of expectations. I think that individual interpretations of what people play when the game comes out are going to be really fascinating. I don’t expect it to be...I don’t expect everybody to think the same thing. Let’s put it that way. I think that there will be some areas, some elements that have people reacting in a different way, which is probably a goal. It probably works for the game to carry that kind of discussion.
But you see, that – that’s all about single-player, that doesn’t touch on the fact that, well, for the first time we’ve got multiplayer. And that in itself is going to... I think a lot of people are going to jump on, start powering through that, because there is a character persistence. You know, you do go up star levels and can open up new outfits and all that kind of stuff, with different pieces that prove that you put the time in. I mean, that’s a whole new part of the franchise that you know hasn’t been touched on that much, hasn’t been discussed that much, but in the long run will potentially be the ongoing lengths.
GR: We’ve been pretty nice to the game up to this point, but were there any major flaws that stood out to you?
RS: Well, I will say that I think that some people will react quite differently to pieces of the story presentation. I don’t think that there will be universal appreciation of what Rockstar has tried to do.
GR: Do you think that that might disappoint players who are looking for a simpler sort of rags to riches story, like in previous GTAs?
RS: Part of the thing with that statement is that most people just won’t care. Most people, you know, with the ability to do what you can do and the depth of content that there is to immerse yourself in around the city, irrespective of your sort of buying into the whole emerging plotline, means that for most people, it really won’t matter. And if you don’t buy the story, go do something else. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t things to do that are cool, GTA-type events that will still generate stories. To be honest I think one of the most interesting things for me was how much fun it was to fail missions. Because failing missions usually involves some kind of unexpected outcome that generated a more interesting story than sort of completing first time.
One example was that, as I was failing a mission and I was retreating, I got like a two-star warning, so I’m trying to get out, and I rear-ended a taxi. All of a sudden it bursts up into flame, fire started coming out. I was like, "oh crap," so I drove [up] a little bit further out of the way, and it was in an intersection with a lot of other cars. Then a few seconds later, a guy stumbles out of the taxi in flames. So then the first car explodes, and another car that was right next to it catches fire.
So I actually felt kind of bad about this. I mean, the poor guy’s running around on fire. So I pull out a telephone and I call the fire department. So a few seconds later, a big fire truck comes up, parks too close to one of the cars that explodes right as it gets there... and then the fire truck explodes. Six or seven cars ended up going up in flames and exploding, and people are running around on fire. It was all sort of this dynamic setup that I kind of triggered by one tiny event: I rear-ended a car. You do that a lot. But this one happened to spark up. And then when I called the fire truck, then that exploded and one of the firemen was running around. And it’s just... these are the things I’m not expecting to see.
On another occasion, I was racing across a bridge, and...there was a massive pile-up, to the point where I just could not get my car through. There were just so many cars there – there were police all over the place. So I jumped out of the car, off the bridge and into the water, thinking I might be able to swim to my escape. But then I got run down by a police patrol boat in the water and that was that. I died there. Those kind of varied things, you might not see unless you try stuff a different way.