The man who helped kickstart the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) franchise has said games that rely on violence and sex to sell have no longevity.
Brian Baglow, who wrote the script for the very first GTA game released by Dundee’s DMA Design in 1997, was speaking ahead of the release of the game Hatred next month.
Created by Polish studio Destructive Creations, the game sees the player embark on what the trailer calls a “genocide crusade”. It also shows the player’s character decapitating enemies, stabbing one in the eye and another in the head.
While criminal behaviour has been a key ingredient in all GTA games, Mr Baglow said it is what it has in common with games like Minecraft that has ensured its staying power, rather than a game like Hatred, which he said has made “no impression” on him.
Since the emergence of the first GTA the script of which was displayed in the National Museum in Edinburgh as part of the Game Masters exhibition 11 titles have been released in the franchise, selling millions of copies worldwide.
The first game was deemed to be so subversive, questions were asked about it in the House of Commons.
Mr Baglow said: “I’ve worked in the industry for 20 years and not one person I’ve worked with has stolen a car or shot a policeman.
“People respond to creativity. Look at the global success with Minecraft that (Dundee firm) 4J Studios has had.
“Minecraft and GTA are about freedom, allowing people to be creative and just play.”
While Mr Baglow said some titles deliberately court controversy to shift copies, they may dominate headlines but do not represent the industry as a whole.
Less than 5% of games carry an 18 certificate because of graphic violent or sexual content, he added.
“Some games do use shock and outrage but the games that have relied on it tend to have the least longevity.”
Mr Baglow believes video games should be regarded just as other media, such as movies, and they provide a range of content for different audiences.
He said: “There is still a perception that games are toys and therefore all games are suitable for kids.
“If an 11-year-old wants to play Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty and you’re happy with that, you should perhaps get them a half bottle of vodka and a packet of fags while you’re at it?”