Rockstar's VP of creative offers his perspective on the games industry's ever present deliberation

Houser: Art debate is for time-wasters

Dan Houser, vice president of creative at Rockstar Games, has stated his belief that the ‘games as art’ debate is one that is largely alluring to time-wasters.

"We try very hard to avoid the debate as to whether games are art, as it tends to attract people with too much time on their hands," said Houser in an interview with the The Hollywood Reporter. "That being said, we obviously feel that games are an amazing creative medium that have unique rewards and unique challenges."

Houser went on to suggest that contemporary games are moving towards increased creative maturity, as technology, production techniques and developer ability improve.

"We have tried hard to ensure that in our games, an extra layer of gloss and polish is used to make the interactivity more interesting, the world more vibrant and the characters more nuanced," confirmed Houser. "If we do that, we create an experience that is very engaging for people and entirely unique to the medium of games – the chance to live in a world that does not exist and experience life as someone you are not.

In the interview Houser also pointed to films like The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, Naked City, Out of the Past, and Chinatown as key influences over L.A. Noire.

“The game, like many of our recent games, has been an absolutely enormous production,” he said, drawing parallels with film production. “With L.A. Noire, we employed a massive number of actors in the game – over 400 – along with hair and make-up artists, a great television director, and as the game is set in the golden era of Hollywood, a lot of original costumes, props and other research from the studios themselves.”

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