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Let’s face the truth: GTA 6 is not going to be good for society – Reader’s Feature

Let’s face the truth: GTA 6 is not going to be good for society – Reader’s Feature
GTA 6 – are the realistic graphics going too far? (Picture: Rockstar Games)

A reader is worried that GTA 6 ’s graphics are so realistic that it’s no longer going to be fun mowing characters down, like it was on PS2.

I played GTA 3, and the other two PlayStation 2 Grand Theft Autos , to death when I was a kid. I loved those games and at the time they seemed to me not only the coolest thing but a level of sophistication and maturity that video games had never seen before, and which elevated them well above anything else you might play on other systems.

In reality, what I was so enamoured with was the game’s willingness to let you murder anyone you want in whatever way you could think of, while enjoying the titillating sight of the game’s low res bikini clad women. To a 15-year-old child that is the very high of maturity and as pathetic as it seems in hindsight, I can’t help but think back at the games with a sense of nostalgia.

The bad graphics help since, especially now, you can only take them seriously to a certain degree. But what about when all that mayhem is possible and the virtual people look completely real, like they do in the GTA 6 trailer ?

I don’t want to sound like my grandparents – unlike them I’ve been playing video games all my life – but I do feel this is a real problem that people are shying away from. Most action games involve killing people and GTA games have you killing very realistic people in very realistic settings. If you actually live in Miami, I imagine it must seem especially surreal.

GTA used to get called a murder simulation by out of touch politicians but was that inaccurate purely because the graphics were so low quality or because the sex and violence was only one part of the game? Because I refuse to believe there was a majority that were actually into it purely for the story, not then – not back in the days of GTA 3.

So just based on what we’ve seen from the GTA 6 trailer, with that beach scene or the woman with the bikini on the skyscraper roof. You’re going to be able to kill all those people if you want, right? I mean, you always have been able to before, so why wouldn’t you now? If that was a PlayStation 2 or even PlayStation 4 game, I’d just pull out my Uzi and laugh as I mowed them all down. I mean, I wouldn’t now but back in the day I certainly would.

GTA 6 – a shootout on the beach does seem so fun when it looks like this (Picture: Rockstar Games)

That or running them over or finding a way to crash your car in an interesting way or try and overturn a train… There are more peaceful things to do in modern GTA games, especially in terms of racing, but killing people in amusing ways… that’s still one of the primary appeals, right?

So either you can do that in a photorealistic GTA 6, which is going to be deeply disturbing when it all looks so real, or you can’t and Rockstar will have to acknowledge that, actually, there’s something kind of wrong about GTA at its core, and it doesn’t work when everything looks so real.

I remember reading about the original 2D games and how they were influenced by Pac-Man, which is fine. Back then the graphics were never going to upset anyone, even if the kill count was the same, but now I just imagine my kids sitting there playing it hours at a time, laughing about how fun virtual murder is.

My kids aren’t actaully old enough for the game yet (well, not unless it gets delayed some more) but the thought upsets me. And before someone says, ‘Oh, it’s not real. Players know it’s not real.’ At what point does it become real enough that it’s a problem? If the characters look almost photorealistic surely it’s not mentally healthy to be sitting around shooting them and running them over all day?

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At what point do you draw the line? When it’s in VR? When VR is literally indistinguishable from real life? It feels like we’re not that far away from it now.

I don’t pretend to have any answers here, and I’m not suggesting banning anything, but as a father the whole question of what the game is about is starting to bother me. I am interested to see future trailers, and if they will expand on the story further, which does seem to be humanising the characters more and making their lives, and hopefully those of other people, have more weight.

I hope so, because if GTA 6 is even half as big as GTA 5 it’s going to have a huge influence on the lives of tens of millions of people. And I’m beginning to think that’s not a good thing for them or society in general.

By reader 84Colbat

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