GTA San Andreas used "real gang members" to record voiceover: "We showed them the scripts and they were like, 'we wouldn't say that'"

Carl Johnson rides a motorcycle and fires a submachine gun into the night in GTA: San Andreas.
(Image credit: Rockstar)

Real world gang members supposedly played a part in scrapping and rewriting dialogue from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, according to Rockstar Games veteran Lazlow Jones.

Before departing Rockstar Games to join co-founder Dan Houser at a new studio, Lazlow Jones played a huge part in the crime-ridden series. You've likely heard him spitting satire through the various in-game GTA radio stations, but Lazlow also worked as a prominent writer and audio recording director on several GTA games and Red Dead Redemption 2, which thrust him into places you might not expect from game development.

In an interview with Kinda Funny Games, Lazlow reminisced that if the team "needed specific accents or languages, we'd travel to those places." For Red Dead Redemption 2, that meant jetting off to Santa Fe, New Mexico to record with Native American communities, or traveling to New Orleans to work with Creole individuals because "those accents you just can't get right with New York, LA actors."

But that practice stretches all the way back to 2004's San Andreas, when Rockstar Games supposedly "recruited" "real gang members" to provide voiceover work for the game. "We showed them the scripts," Lazlow explains, "and they were like 'we wouldn't say that, we wouldn't say that, we'd say this.'" Lazlow eventually told the voiceover artists to "say what you would say."

Mashing A through one of the studio's games definitely gives the impression that these aren't simply digital spaces cosplaying as real world locales - there's legitimately some actual culture infused into each one. "One of the things I'm really proud of is the authenticity that we would go for," Lazlow says. 

Lazlow Jones and lead writer Dan Houser are no longer a part of the heavyweight studio, but Rockstar Games is barreling full steam ahead with GTA 6, currently slated to come out sometime next year, which is seemingly depicting a Florida every bit as chaotic as the real thing.

Elsewhere, Xbox is taking care to avoid GTA 6 with its 2025 games: Fable and Doom The Dark Ages.

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.