Jacked: The unauthorized behind-the-scenes story of Grand Theft Auto

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Formatting may be different depending on your device and eBook type. The behind the scenes story of the world's most notorious and controversial video games company - Rockstar Games. Jacked is the incredible story behind the phenomenon that changed video games for ever - Grand Theft Auto.

Powerful politicians tried to stop it, parents and activists vigorously campaigned against it, but they couldn't stop GTA breaking records. GTA IV became the biggest entertainment product launch of all time, eclipsing all other books, films and music, and went on to become the most controversial video game in history.

Now, after 10 years of research, David Kushner reveals how Sam Houser's company, Rockstar Games, made it all possible. He lifts the veil of secrecy around the team to show how a blend of creative genius, daring PR campaigns, big egos and an obsessive work ethic all came together to create a monster with a tendency to spiral out of control. Including the full story behind 'Hot Coffee' - the hidden sex minigame that nearly killed the game and the company - Jacked gets right to the heart of what it takes to make a classic computer game Partying was mixed with long hours of grinding work.

As Rockstar was gaining attention, the company began to catch the eye of Jack Thompson. Thompson turned his attention to video games and their possible connections with violent crime.

Read More From David Kushner

The scene was simply bypassed. Once this content became public, Rockstar doubled-down and accused Wildenborg of having added it to the game. This was a very bad move, in that it turned the hacker community on Rockstar. They had lied to the press and falsely tried to finger the modders.

Manufacturing Controversy

The incident was a classic example of the cover-up being worse than the crime. A mix of problems for Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive came about along with the Hot Coffee fallout, some of them unrelated to the controversy.

“Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto” by David Kushner

Within Rockstar, employee morale began to fall. Employees took pride in working at one of the highest-profile, most successful videogame makers. However, even the most loyal employees began to fell burned out by an endless crunch of new releases. While the company encouraged hard partying by its employees, it also demanded unusually hard work from them as well.

With no breaks in an assembly line production mentality, people began to crack under the endless pressure.

Jacked: The unauthorized behind-the-scenes story of Grand Theft Auto

By this point, one could read the entire story as the rise and fall of a company that had let ego run amuck. The video game industry at large looked with glee at the problems that Rockstar had found itself encountering. The crew at Rockstar had managed to alliterate their peers over the years and that only made their fall from grace much harder. As with most stories, how you view it has to do with where it ends.


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In hindsight, one can see that the series easily rebounded in the years since such controversies, with the latest installments in the series hitting sales records. The games exploded in scope from small team projects to featuring a cast of voice actors for one installment.

Jacked: The unauthorized behind-the-scenes story of Grand Theft Auto – David Kushner

His promises were not empty. Ahead of its release in autumn of , Lord Campbell of Croy, the former Scottish Secretary, was condemning GTA in the House of Lords, and an impudent radio advertising campaign featured excerpts from the subsequent debate. Added to a welter of tabloid outrage, the game was a commercial triumph.


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  6. At their offices on Broadway, the iconoclastic geeks became renegade businessmen, conducting affairs in a frathouse bolthole boasting arcade games and foosball tables. The team, rechristened Rockstar Games, began developing a welter of sequels, featuring visceral, 3D worlds. As technology advanced, so did their ethical boundaries. Even Jones, who departed DMA in , expressed misgivings.

    How far will this go? The Hot Coffee scandal showed there was nothing more American than our aversion to sexual content while we celebrate violence. It is a reward for their prodigious drive and attention to detail.


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