Rockstar Used Real Gang Members for GTA V Dialogue

Here's an interesting tidbit from the production of Rockstar Games' soon-to-be-released Grand Theft Auto V: some of the voice acting was performed by real gang members. Apparently Rockstar had a "guy" who went around recruiting gang members to record for certain characters in the game, and some of these gang members even helped better shape the dialogue to make it more authentic. This information comes from game producer Lazlow Jones, who talked about the process during a recent interview with Chicago radio station WGN (via

"When we record all these ambient characters that are in the world, we go towards authenticity," Jones said. "So in the game, part of the element of the story is that there's rival gangs.

"There's black gangs, there's Latino gangs, and we recruited a guy who gets gang members, like actual gang members, real gang members. I mean, El Salvadorian gang dudes with amazing tattoos and one of which literally had gotten out of prison the day before. And we brought these guys in to record the gang characters because, you know, you don't want a goofy LA actor who went to a fancy school trying to be a hard gang member. There's nothing worse than that."

And these gang members would often call out dialogue that they considered inaccurate or too scripted:

"They look at the lines and they say, 'I wouldn't say that. If I was upset at another gang, I wouldn't say that'. So…say what you would say. Authenticity, you know?," Jones added. "There's a lot of sessions that we would have where we would just throw the script on the floor and be like, this thing we wrote is irrelevant, let's just work out something real."

It's interesting to know what lengths a developer will go to make a game more realistic, but it also could lead to more scrutiny by politicians and law enforcement, who might see the game as "glorifying" the gang lifestyle.

GTA V launches worldwide on September 17 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Source: GameSpot



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  1. 0
    Vic 2.0 says:

    I agree.  Apart from the graphics and those nifty little details they added to inch it closer to "realism", GTA 5 was actually a pretty mediocre game from story to gameplay.

  2. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    Okay, so it's not controversy that's keeping you from playing GTA.  What you really meant was that the game's violent content is not to your taste.


    Andrew Eisen

  3. 0
    PHX Corp says:

    The one reason why I said that GTA was too controversial for me to play was because of it was too extremely violent for me IMO. Mass Effect Level violence and adult content is ok, but not GTA level violence and adult content.

  4. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    So, it would appear that controversy has absolutely nothing to do with your decision.  You don't play GTA because the controls suck and you didn't watch American Me because you'd never heard of it.

    So again, I don't get what you're saying by "it's too controversial for me to play."  And to be clear, I'm not accusing you of lying (I will, however, accuse you of atrocious capitalization and punctuation habits!), I am simply trying to understand what you're saying.


    Andrew Eisen

  5. 0
    PHX Corp says:

    where M rated games are concerned, I only play Halo and Bioware Games like Mass effect. I didn't get into GTA(largely because it was hard to get used to the controls) other than seeing my family members playing it

    for movies I didn't watch american me because I didn't find out about it until today when someone brought it up in the comments section of this article

    I'm really not lying about it, I'm really telling the truth about my game preferences, GTA V and american me

  6. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    I don't understand.  What does "it may be too much for me due to my Video game preferences" mean?

    Do you simply not enjoy games/movies with violence?  Do you refuse to play/watch stuff that may inspire someone, somewhere to do something stupid because you'd feel somehow responsible?

    I'm honestly not getting what you're saying here.  Let me see if I can make this simpler.

    Why won't you play GTA V.  Why won't you watch American Me?


    Andrew Eisen

  7. 0
    PHX Corp says:

    there a reason why i don't play games like GTA V and movies like American Me is that it may be too much for me due to my Video game and movie preferences

    it's not an issue, it's my video game and movie preferences that's different, thats all

  8. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    So, you're concerned that the gang members who recorded dialog are going to be pissed about the dialog they recorded and will go after Rockstar employees with murderous intent?

    Okay but what does that have to do with you playing the game?  You just don't want to play something that someone, somewhere is going to kill someone over?

    Out of curiosity, do you refuse to watch American Me?


    Andrew Eisen

  9. 0
    PHX Corp says:

    It's not that, if the Rockstar games employees don't handle the dialog very carefully, it could result in a similar situation like with American Me

    I'm not worried about the pols going after this game but I'm more worried about the gangs that could go after Rockstar Games/Take two because of thier portrayal in the game. that's why I think it may be too controversial for me to play(but not controversial for anyone else)

  10. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "…could lead to more scrutiny by politicians and law enforcement, who might see the game as "glorifying" the gang lifestyle."

    But only after actually playing the game to obtain the proper context, right?


    Andrew Eisen

  11. 0
    GrimCW says:

    GTA has had gritty realism seeping into it since GTAIII.

    1, 2 and london were all crazy kill fests, but 3 and up… more and more on the literal mafia/gang movie style.

    Meanwhile, Saints Row has taken the crazy surrealistic killing sim to the extreme. I enjoy how politicians and such point to GTA for getting points when killing people. When GTA no longer does this, and hasn't for YEARS. However, Saints Row makes a total mockery of exactly that, and does it with great gratuity added.

  12. 0
    Thomas Riordan says:

    Good for them. A good artist will research the content they're trying to portray. I'd much rather have gang members doing the voice acting than some white boy trying to sound gangsta. So gang members did an honest day's work for honest money. Where's the problem in that? If you honestly think that being in a gang is going to get you a lucrative voice acting career then you're a complete idiot. They were paid to be extras, it's not like they're going to become megastars because they're in a gang. There's much easier ways to get voice over work.

    As far as politicians go they're going to scapegoat GTA no matter what they put in the game it's just too big of a target. If GTA was some shitty game that no one bought rather than having 2.6 preorders then no politician would bother with it. It's like attacking some guy drawing comics in his basement rather than going after Disney.

  13. 0
    PHX Corp says:

    What was Rockstar games thinking when using gang members to voice the game. this is why I do not like the Grand theft auto Series, It's too controversial for me to play period(though I do see the game as Free Speech). 

  14. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I have this horrible image of politicians trying to trump up the idea that this would encourage people to join gangs so they can work their way into the high profile and lucrative voice acting industry….. ^_^;

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