Rockstar Games游戏《侠盗猎车手5》（以下简称GTAV）预算超过1亿美元，发布之初一天内的销售额高达8亿美元，如此强劲的吸金能力足以令其所有2013年的热作相形见绌。但这款游戏大获商业成功的同时，也招至不少评批。该游戏是在2008年的《侠盗猎车手4》的基础上开发，这个新款游戏故事背景是虚构的Los Santos小镇，允许玩家在三种不同的角色间切换——银行抢劫犯Michael、Trevor以及他们的新同伙Franklin（一名重生的男人）。这个三人组合被迫参与一系列由FBI主导的滑稽事件。GTAV呈现了一个允许玩家超越主要故事情节，探索其中内容的巨大开放世界。
在9月份于林肯中心电影协会举办的纽约电影节上，Rockstar开发团队的数名关键人物出席了由Revision 3 Games制作人以及电视主持人Adam Sessler主持的对话活动，分享了团队创造GTAV世界的挑战。他们从游戏玩家解救摩天大楼中的一名人质开始切入，该操作包括驾驶直升机，参与近距离的枪战，在马路对面狙击坏蛋，在逃跑过程中击落其他直升机。
这一幕完美呈现了游戏极快的节奏，从直升机所滑翔过的地势可见游戏世界规模之大。讨论小组在此较少关注故事情节，主要着力于围绕其中的游戏环境。参与讨论的成员包括Rockstar联合创始人Dan Houser、发行及运营副总裁Jennifer Kolbe，美术总监Rob Nelson以及联合编剧Lazlow Jones（他在游戏中也扮演了一个令人难忘的角色）。以下是本次座谈会的关键摘要，主要涉及游戏开发与电影制作流程之间的区别。
游戏设计并没有捷径。Rockstar极擅长创造“沙盒”，允许玩家自由漫游并体验游戏故事的巨大开放世界。GTAV中的Los Santos是该系列游戏中最大的一个城市，其规模是之前游戏版本中的Liberty City的两倍。每一个街角都是重新创造而成。这正是它为何要投入比一般传统电影制作更多年的时间开发这些游戏的原因。Kolbe表示，“如果是拍电影，你可以去任何地方取景。但如果是游戏，就得重头做起。”
Grand Theft Auto V’ Masterminds Explain How Game Design Differs From Filmmaking at the New York Film Festival
Budgeted at well over $100 million and grossing as much as $800 million in sales a day after it hit stores last week, Rockstar Games’ “Grand Theft Auto V” has been so insanely profitable in such a brief period of time that it puts all 2013 blockbusters to shame. Yet the commercial success of the latest open world crime saga from the New York game company has obscured the critical acclaim it has received at the same time. Building on the hype of 2008′s “Grand Theft Auto IV,” the latest game involves an ambitious story set in the fictional California town of Los Santos and allows the player to shift between three distinct characters: bank robbers Michael and Trevor and their new ally Franklin, a former repo man. When the trio is forced to engage in a series of antics by the FBI, “Grand Theft Auto V” provides ample explosive fodder for countless Michael Bay movies, but also presents a massive open world that allows players to wander beyond the main narrative and simply explore the city.
During last weekend’s NYFF Convergence, the multimedia conference taking place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center timed to this year’s New York Film Festival, several key members of the Rockstar development team took the stage for a conversation moderated by Revision3 Games producer and TV host Adam Sessler about the challenges of creating the “GTAV” world. The panel discussion started with a live play-through of one breathtaking sequence in which the player rescues a man held captive in a skyscraper; the action included piloting a helicopter and engaging in close quarters firefight, sniping at villains from across the way and taking down other choppers during the daring escape.
It was an ideal demonstration of the game’s breakneck speed, but also provided a peek at the sheer scale of the world as the chopper sped through the landscape. Appropriately, the panelists focused less on the narrative than environment surrounding it. Participants included Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser, Vice President of Publishing and Operations Jennifer Kolbe, art director Rob Nelson and co-writer Lazlow Jones, who also plays a memorable version of himself in the game. Here are some of the highlights from the discussion, which largely involved the contrast between game development and the filmmaking process.
There is no easy shortcut to designing these games. Rockstar has excelled at the creation of “the sandbox,” ginormous open worlds that allow players to roam freely in addition to play through the stories of their games. Los Santos, the city in “Grand Theft Auto V,” is the largest one yet, twice as big as Liberty City in the previous installment. And each street corner must be created from scratch. That’s why it takes years and years to produce these games, much longer than any traditional film production. “With a movie, you can go film in any set,” Kolbe said. “In a game, you have to build it.”
The biggest challenge for the game’s designers? Creating three main characters instead of just one. Houser said the prospects of switching between the characters without disrupting the real time flow of the game was a problem for developers up until a few months ago. “It was something we wanted to do first purely from a storytelling perspective,” he explained, “then it was only during the mission, but we really leapt on it when we got something from the non-narrative side of it.”
Because the games are so big, it’s not like you’re playing through a movie. A player who mainly engages with the story and doesn’t explore the world will still take up to 40 hours to complete all the missions in “Grand Theft Auto V.” That’s a huge distinction from the experience of a 90 minute movie. “We’re not taking narrative structure from films,” Houser said. Instead, he cited long-form television viewing and novels as precedents for their approach. That also creates a challenge: “We don’t know when you’re going to take a break. There’s a fear people will forget what’s going on.”
There are real performances in the game, and they’re quite good. The last “Grand Theft Auto” game also used motion capture technology, but the technique has grown incredibly advanced, to the point where art director Rob Nelson said that even an actor’s distinctive gait can be recognizable from the way they appear in the game. Facial expressions are similarly detailed, because the technology finds actors wearing helmets equipped with lights that illuminate their faces and capture each individual nuance. Nelson called the process “a mixture of theater and the ultimate closeup.”
The media satire is part of the game design. Anyone who has played a “Grand Theft Auto” game is familiar with the way the world parodies news coverage of violence and shows how the media informs its gritty setting. “It’s fun to parody America’s obsession with consumerism,” said co-writer Jones. But the satire actually exists outside the narrative: Designers have created thousands of fake advertising campaigns that appear in the game as well as audio tracks for various radio stations. The writers say they have heard from players who have pulled over in the game and listened to the radio; now, you can watch your character watch television at home. “What we’re trying to do is bring a world together that’s cohesive,” Houser said. “It’s about Americana more than America — as if the media came to life and walked the streets. That’s what we’re trying to investigate.”（source：indiewire）