The three stars behind GTA V protagonists Franklin, Michael and Trevor have justified the violence in Rockstar’s hugely successful game.
Grand Theft Auto V is an 18-rated game, for good reason. And if that isn’t sufficient to keep it from the hands of kids then fingers should be pointed at parents, not the games industry, according to the voice of Franklin Shawn Fonteno.
"People already have it in their mind that GTA is for kids because it's a game," he told PC Advisor. "Then they hear about the violence and they're instantly going to attack because it's a game.
“Now, if it was a movie it would be a different story and these same people would be out there supporting it. GTA V is like a movie. Once they get the game in their hands, they'll see. It says it big as day – Mature. It's not for the kids to go get. It's for Mature audiences only. If kids get it, then that's on their parents."
Steven Ogg, who voices violent lunatic Trevor, admitted to frustration at what he sees as the injustice of how the game has been treated by some parts of the press.
"The hypocrisy drives me crazy," he said. "It just sets the wrong focus. Why not talk about gun control? Why not talk about parenting? Why not talk of lack of family values? There are so many other things to talk about. Look at what's on TV. There's a lot of intense stuff out there. Video games are just an easy scapegoat.”
Ned Luke, who voices troubled family man Michael, argues that those who are keen to criticise the game should first play it so they can understand it in context.
"Anyone who has any conception at all about the games and hasn't played them should go play the games before they open their mouths," he insisted. "The biggest misconception is that it glamorizes violence. It really doesn't.
“If you look at my character, Michael, he's rich, but he's a miserable man. Even in the commercials you see that. This is a guy who's struggling with his life's decisions.
"If you want to take something out the game, take out of it that here's a guy who loves his family, who's kind of lost. He's trying to hold it together. He's trying to become a good guy, but he can't. He just has all these demons that he's battling. It's the struggle. Take that and look at how he loves his family even though he wants to kill them and that's what it is. Look for the relationships. Look for the humour. Look for the irony and the satire in the game.”