Development of Grand Theft Auto V
The development of Grand Theft Auto V began in 2008 following the release of its predecessor Grand Theft Auto IV. The game required five years' work, until its release on 17 September 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was published by Rockstar Games as the fifteenth entry into the Grand Theft Auto series. Development was overseen by the company's flagship studio Rockstar North, but the work was facilitated between the core team and multiple other studios around the world. The team considered the game a spiritual successor to other previous projects, including Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3. Promotional effort for the game began with its unexpected announcement in 2011, and its release was subject to widespread anticipation.
The game utilises the proprietary Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE). The engine was overhauled for the game in order to increase the draw distances it could be capable of rendering. The game utilises the Euphoria and Bullet engines for further animation and environmental tasks. Grand Theft Auto V arrived at the end of the seventh generation of video game consoles, before the emergence of the eighth generation some months later. The developers attempted to fully utilise all of the potential power out of both consoles, having become familiar with their system architectures over a number a years.
The game makes use of open world design, allowing players to freely roam the fictional state of San Andreas and the city of Los Santos. The world is based on Southern California and the city of Los Angeles. Though Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was also set within the fictional state, the development team opted to create the world again from scratch. To do so, the team conducted field research throughout California, capturing footage to help design the open world. According to the developers, the scale of the world eclipses any of Rockstar's previous efforts.
Players control three characters simultaneously throughout the game. Grand Theft Auto V is Rockstar's first such project to allow players to do so. The development team felt that they wanted to avoid repetition within the series by doing something different. They also found that having multiple characters for play helped to innovate on the core structure of the gameplay, as players could engage with the game with less restraint and explore the open world more freely. The game makes use of full motion capture actors to record the voice and movements of the characters.
Like previous entries in its series, Grand Theft Auto V makes use of licensed music provided by an in-game radio. Over 241 tracks were licensed and shared between fifteen stations, with an additional two stations providing talk radio. In addition, the game features an original score composed by a group of musicians who worked in close collaboration with each-other for many years.
Rumours and announcement
During an earnings call in September 2009, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick was asked about Grand Theft Auto V, the purported next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series. He replied, "We're not going to announce it, we're not going to announce when we are going to announce it, and we are not going to announce a strategy about announcing it or about when we are going to announce it either, or about the announcement strategy surrounding the announcement of the strategy". In a November 2009 interview with The Times, Dan Houser, vice president of Rockstar Games, discussed his work on the series and the process that would be undertaken for the next Grand Theft Auto game. He expressed plans to co-write a thousand-page script, and explained the company's workflow in creating a new game in the series, which typically entailed creating the game's city and then developing the lead cast based on the city that had been chosen. In July 2010, Rockstar North posted seven job ads related to a new title. The firm looked to fill positions including environment artists, physics programmers and character animators. The job advertisement for the latter asked for those with "professional experience developing a third person action game". Some journalists wrote that the job listing was indicative of Grand Theft Auto V's existence. In June 2011, sources allegedly close to the developer told GameSpot that the title is "well under way", with a release date likely in 2012.
The existence of Grand Theft Auto V was first acknowledged by Rockstar Games on 25 October 2011, through an announcement on their official website and their Twitter page. Shares of the publisher's parent company, Take-Two Interactive, increased seven percent following the announcement. Journalists noted that the announcement of Grand Theft Auto V ignited significant anticipation within the gaming industry, which they owed to the cultural significance of the Grand Theft Auto series.
As part of the promotional effort, the game was extensively marketed through video trailers and press demos. Following the game's announcement one week prior, the debut trailer released on 2 November 2011. Narrated by one of the protagonists, Michael De Santa (voiced by Ned Luke), the trailer depicted several shots of the game's open world, with the song "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake" by English band Small Faces playing throughout. A press release published that same day confirmed the game to be set in an open world recreation of Southern California, including the city of Los Santos, based on Los Angeles. Almost a year later, the staff at Game Informer ran a cover story on Grand Theft Auto V for their December 2012 issue of the magazine. Along with the cover story, Rockstar intended to release the second promotional trailer on 2 November 2012, marking a one-year anniversary since the debut trailer's release. However, these plans were hampered by Hurricane Sandy, which severed power in Rockstar's New York offices. The trailer eventually released on 14 November 2012, introducing its viewers to the back-stories of the lead protagonists, and featuring the song "Skeletons" by American musician Stevie Wonder.
To reveal the game's cover art, Rockstar contracted artists to paint a mural on a wall in Manhattan, New York on 31 March 2013, followed by the digital release on 2 April. English model Shelby Welinder portrayed a blonde beach goer in promotional artworks for the game. Three trailers were simultaneously released on 26 April 2013, focusing on each of the game's three protagonists — Michael De Santa, Franklin Clinton and Trevor Philips. The songs "Radio Ga Ga" by English band Queen, "Hood Gone Love It" by American rapper Jay Rock and "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" by American musician Waylon Jennings are used in the Michael's, Franklin's and Trevor's respective trailers.
A trailer released on 9 July 2013 featured the first gameplay footage of Grand Theft Auto V. The trailer demonstrated the game's shooting and driving mechanics, and depicted the character-switching ability that allows players to swap between different characters instantaneously. The game's online multiplayer mode Grand Theft Auto Online was unveiled in a trailer released on 15 August 2013. The video displayed activities from the game's multiplayer mode, including bank heists, small robberies, "traditional" game modes, purchase of property, as well as activities such as bike-riding. The final launch trailer was released on 29 August 2013, intended as a television advertisement. The song used in the trailer is "Sleepwalking" by American band The Chain Gang of 1974.
Viral marketing strategies were employed in the marketing of the game. Visitors to The Epsilon Program website (a fictional religious cult within the Grand Theft Auto universe), had the chance to register for The Epsilon Program. After users had filled out a form to join the cult, the terms and conditions revealed the site to be a casting call giving five people the chance to appear in Grand Theft Auto V as a member of the fictional religious cult. The official Grand Theft Auto V website was redesigned on 13 August 2013 to provide viewers with an insight into activities and locales within the game's world, as well as examining the story of the lead protagonists. Further information was released on the website in update blocks on 24 August, 6 September, and 13 September.
To encourage pre-order sales for the game, Rockstar collaborated with several retail outlets to provide special edition versions of the game. The "Special Edition", for example, includes a unique case packaging for the game, a game map and unlock codes for additional content for use in the single-player and multiplayer modes of the game. The publisher also collaborated with Sony to release a 500 GB PlayStation 3 console which includes a copy of the game and a 30-day trial membership for the PlayStation Plus service, as well as set of Grand Theft Auto V branded headphones. All pre-orders of the game grant the purchaser with an access code for the in-game aircraft, Atomic Blimp.
|Features||Standard||Special Edition||Collector's Edition|
|Access to Atomic Blimp||Pre-order only||Pre-order only||Pre-order only|
|Steelbook with "V" logo artwork||No||Yes||Yes|
|Blueprint map (Los Santos and Blaine County)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Special ability boost||No||Yes||Yes|
|Stunt plane trials||No||Yes||Yes|
|Bonus outfits, tattoos, etc.||No||Yes||Yes|
|Security deposit bag||No||No||Yes|
|Grand Theft Auto V key||No||No||Yes|
|New Era cap||No||No||Yes|
|Custom Grand Theft Auto Online characters||No||No||Yes|
|Unique vehicles and garage property||No||No||Yes|
The iFruit application was released for iOS devices shortly before the game's release and allows players to customise vehicles, create custom license plates and teach Franklin's dog Chop new tricks, which unlock additional in game-abilities. Upon iFruit's launch, some users reported problems connecting to the application's servers, issues resolved by means of an update on 25 September 2013. iFruit was later released for Android devices on 29 October 2013.
Delay and leak
Grand Theft Auto V did not meet its original projected release date. By 30 October 2012, promotional posters spread to the Internet and a listing by the retailer Game had leaked the projected release date. Rockstar announced that day that the game was slated for a Q2 2013 release, and began accepting pre-orders on 5 November 2012. On 31 January 2013, the game was announced to have a release date pushed back to 17 September 2013. "It simply needs a little more polish to be of the standard we and, more importantly, you require", Rockstar stated in a press release.
On 23 August 2013, reports indicated that some European PlayStation 3 users who had pre-ordered Grand Theft Auto V were able to download parts of the game, including its soundtrack and some character dialogue. Details of the game were leaked later that day, and on following days, before Sony removed the pre-order file from the European PlayStation Network and released an official apology to Rockstar and its fans. In response, Rockstar stated that they were "deeply disappointed by leaks and spoilers being spread in advance of the game's launch".
Grand Theft Auto Online launched on 1 October 2013, two weeks after the initial release of Grand Theft Auto V. Upon launch, users reported difficulties connecting to the game's servers and the Social Club service, or freezes during load screens for early missions. A technical patch was released on 5 October for consoles in response, resolving the issues; content micro-transactions were also suspended as a fail-safe. Problems persisted during the second week of launch, as some players reported progress for their characters disappearing. In response, another technical patch was released on 10 October combating the issues, with advice administered to players experiencing the issues to not create their multiplayer avatars again. As compensation to players for the technical issues, a stimulus of GTA$500,000, an in-game currency, was funded to the accounts of all players connected to the mode since launch. Post-release content is continually added to Grand Theft Auto Online through title updates; for example, the free Beach Bum update, released on 19 November 2013, adds additional jobs and customisation content for players.
Preliminary work on Grand Theft Auto V began shortly following the release of Grand Theft Auto IV in April 2008. Rockstar North, the core 360-person team behind the game, brought on board a number of other studios owned by parent company Rockstar Games to facilitate development between a full team in excess of 1,000 people. Technical director Adam Fowler reflected that while development effort was shared between multiple studios in different countries, the process involved close collaboration between the core team and others, necessitated by many mechanics in the game working in tandem that would have created difficulties if studios were siphoned off from others. Like other projects since Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis (2006), the game primarily runs off the proprietary Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), handling animation and rendering tasks. For further animation and environmental tasks, the game utilises the Euphoria and Bullet engines. By 25 August 2013, development of Grand Theft Auto V ceased as the game went gold, with the final copy being submitted for manufacturing. Media analyst Arvind Bhatia estimated the development budget for the game exceeded US$137 million, and The Scotsman reporter Marty McLaughlin estimated that the combined budget of the development and marketing efforts exceeded £170 million (US$265 million), which would make Grand Theft Auto V the most expensive video game ever made.
Grand Theft Auto V was developed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The team found they were able to render the world with greater detail than in Grand Theft Auto IV because they had become familiar with the hardware over time. Art director Aaron Garbut opined that while the ageing hardware of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were tiring to work with, the team were able to render lighting and shadows in detail whilst "maintain[ing] a consistent look". Vice president Dan Houser agreed with this sentiment, explaining that working on Grand Theft Auto IV with relatively new hardware was difficult, but "now we know what the hardware's capable of, so it's become a lot easier to move things along and a lot more fun, too". Xbox 360 copies of the game are distributed on two DVD discs and require an 8 GB installation on the HDD or external storage device; the Blu-Ray Disc format utilised by the PlayStation 3 allows distribution of the game on one disc. The team asserted that any differences between the two versions would be "negligible" as they were developed in tandem.
Grand Theft Auto V was envisioned to exceed the core mechanics of the Grand Theft Auto series by giving the player three lead protagonists to switch between while playing the game. The team's primary motivation to include three protagonists was for Grand Theft Auto V to innovate game storytelling and prevent the series from feeling stale by not evolving the core structure of the gameplay. "We didn't want to do the same thing over again", Houser explained. The vision for three interconnected protagonists was first conceptualised during the development of San Andreas, but the team felt they did not have the technical capabilities at their disposal to realise it. "It didn't work from a tech point of view because the three characters need three times as much memory, three types of animation, and so on", Garbut explained. After the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, the team developed two episodic content packages for the game, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony (both 2009), each of which introduced a new protagonist. The positive reception received for having three intertwined stories solidified the team's confidence that building Grand Theft Auto V around this model was an innovative decision.
A single-player story revolving around three lead protagonists was one of Grand Theft Auto V's earliest design objectives. Garbut reflected that such a radical change to the core structure of the gameplay was a risk, recalling concern from the team that a departure from Grand Theft Auto's traditional single lead character set-up "might backfire". In early conceptualisations, the game would have told three stories each through a different protagonist; later, a concept developed from the stories of Grand Theft Auto IV that story trajectories would meet throughout the game. Eventually, the concept evolved into three interconnected stories tied together through the game missions. As Benzies explained, the team made the multiple character formula "integral to the structure of the gameplay as well as the narrative". Houser therefore felt that Grand Theft Auto V is their "strongest plotted game because the characters are so intertwined" and that the "meeting points [between the character's stories] are very exciting".
The central theme to the story of Grand Theft Auto V is the "pursuit of the almighty dollar". The mission content is structured around the lead characters' efforts to plan and execute complicated heists to accrue wealth for themselves. The team's decision to focus on money as a central theme in the game was in response to the 2007–08 financial crisis, as the effects of the crisis on the main characters are the catalyst for them to attempt these heist missions. "We wanted this post-crash feeling, because it works thematically in this game about bank robbers", Houser explained. The team developed the story around the heists based on the positive reaction they received for the "Three Leaf Clover" mission in Grand Theft Auto IV, in which an elaborate heist was coordinated and executed by the lead protagonist Niko Bellic and accomplices. Houser felt that while the mission was well-received, the team hadn't captured the thrill of the robbery sequence to the best of their capabilities and wanted to focus on achieving that in Grand Theft Auto V. "We wanted to have a couple of really strong bank robberies. [...] It felt like that was a good device that we'd never used in the past. Repeating ourselves is a fear when we're doing games where part of the evolution is just technological", Houser explained. There are six such heist missions in Grand Theft Auto V, and many of the missions in-between them revolve around the efforts to coordinate the job and assemble a team.
Research and open world design
Initial work on Grand Theft Auto V involved designing the open world space, where preliminary models of the world were constructed during the game's pre-production phase. The open world of the game is the fictional state of San Andreas, which is modelled on Southern California. San Andreas was also used as the setting for an earlier entry in the series, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004), which included three cities separated by open countryside. The world of Grand Theft Auto V, however, includes only one city, Los Santos. By focusing their efforts on one city instead of three, the team were able to produce Los Santos in higher quality and at greater scale. For both games, Los Angeles was used as the model for Los Santos, but the team felt that the ambition of having three cities in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was too great and that the game did not emulate the cities as well as they had hoped. Houser elaborated that "to do a proper version of L.A., [...] the game has to give you a sense of that sprawl — if not completely replicate it", and that dividing the budget and manpower between multiple cities would have detracted from capturing "what L.A. is". Garbut felt that in the PlayStation 2 era the team did not have the technical capabilities to capture Los Angeles properly, resulting in the San Andreas rendition of Los Santos feeling like a "backdrop or a game level with pedestrians randomly milling about". Therefore, the team disregarded San Andreas as a jumping-off point for Grand Theft Auto V, as they had moved on to a new generation of consoles since the former and wanted to build the city from scratch. As Garbut explained, with the move to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 hardware, "our processes and the fidelity of the world [had] evolved so much from San Andreas" that using it as a model would have been redundant.
Los Angeles was extensively researched for the game. The team organised field research trips with tour guides and architectural historians and captured around 250,000 photos and hours of video footage during these visits. "We spoke to FBI agents that have been undercover, experts in the Mafia, street gangsters who know the slang – we even went to see a proper prison", said Houser, pointing out the research and creation of the game world as the most demanding aspect of the game's production. The team viewed Google Maps and Street View projections of Los Angeles, and the field research team then used the coordinates to capture the photo and video footage, which was then used to design the layout of Los Santos. The team also studied virtual globe models of the city, census data and documentaries to recreate the geographical and demographic spread of Los Angeles. Reproducing Los Angeles as a play space required condensing the city's spread into an area that the player could comfortably traverse, capturing "the essence of what's really there in a city, but in a far smaller area", as Houser explained. As The New Yorker's Sam Sweet elaborated, "[The] exhaustive field work [...] wasn't conducted to document a living space. Rather, it was collected to create an extremely realistic version of a Los Angeles that doesn't actually exist. The map of Los Santos is familiar but its contents are condensed". Garbut felt that the team were not "dictated by reality" when designing the city, instead using Los Angeles as a starting point for the city's design.
Research for the game took the team out to California's rural regions; Garbut recalled a visit he took with Houser to Bombay Beach which inspired them to set Trevor's initial story against a recreation of the Salton Sea. Along with their attempt to realise a modern Los Angeles, the team created an open recreation of Southern California which includes a vast countryside surrounding the city proper. A goal for the team was to balance making a world of great scale without creating an open, empty space. Therefore, they focused on condensing the open countryside of Southern California into a playing space that is as diverse as it is detailed. The game world is 49 square miles (130 km2) in area, about an eightieth of Los Angeles County. It is greater in scale than Rockstar's previous open world games; Garbut suggested that it is large enough to fit the game maps of San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption (2010) inside of it. In order to accommodate the size of the world, the team overhauled the RAGE, allowing the game to render greater draw distances than in earlier entries of the series. The large, open space also necessitated the reintroduction of fixed-wing aircraft, which had been absent in Grand Theft Auto IV due to the relatively small scale of the world limiting the effectiveness of flying. "We wanted somewhere big [to allow the player to] fly properly", Houser explained. In addition, populating the open world with wildlife was another demand the large space made for. As lead producer Leslie Benzies explained, "because of the scale of the map and the different kinds of areas involved, a countryside without animals would feel quite hollow".
The development team found that introducing three concurrent protagonists evolved the freedom afforded to players in missions. Lead mission designer Imran Sarwar elaborated that multiple protagonists allowed different strategic options to open up in missions. He explained that in a combat scenario the player can set up Michael at a high vantage point with a sniper rifle to provide covering fire for Trevor, who provides a frontal assault on the enemy position, which allows Franklin to manipulate flank points. Benzies felt that the character switching would eliminate a problem the team felt San Andreas had where the player would be exploring the open countryside and then have to drive a long distance back to a mission start point. In Grand Theft Auto V, the interplay of free roaming and mission gameplay is more organic because the player can switch between characters, solving the problem. "Having three characters allows players to explore the whole map without having to worry about the long drive back to their next objective", Benzies explained. Houser further elaborated that the use of multiple characters could remove dead spots in missions, such as when one character has to drive to a meeting point, as the player can switch to another character and be pulled into the action of the game more quickly. The game also includes dynamic mission content, a response by the team to the positive reaction for its inclusion in Red Dead Redemption. Dynamic missions present themselves to the player while exploring the game world and the player can choose to either engage in them, or ignore them. The team developed the concept of dynamic mission content further in Grand Theft Auto V by not just delivering it in the open sections of the world, but in Los Santos as well; for example, the player can happen upon an armoured van in the city and attempt to intercept it to steal its contents.
In order to reflect the advancements made in other games since the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, the team overhauled many of the shooting and driving mechanics for Grand Theft Auto V. The public reception of to the shooting mechanics of the team's previous games were taken into consideration during this process. Specifically, Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3 (2012) were scrutinised to establish areas that needed work in Grand Theft Auto V to make it surpass their previous titles. To increase the pace of shootouts in the game, the team removed hard locking, a central mechanic in Grand Theft Auto IV that allowed players to instantly lock on to enemies within the vicinity of their crosshair. Associate technical director Phil Hooker explained that the team "found [hard locking] too disorientating and often broke your immersion with the game, as you didn't have to think about enemy locations". Furthermore, the team introduced a timer that breaks the player's lock on a target after a period of time, in an effort to combat the problem they felt Grand Theft Auto IV had where the player could "just rely on holding and shooting until a target is dead", as Hooker explained. Reworking the cover system in combat gameplay was another natural progression for the team. Remodelled on the cover system of Red Dead Redemption, entering in and out of cover such as low walls and vehicles is considerably more fluid in Grand Theft Auto V than in earlier entries in the series. The team made an effort to rework the driving mechanics for cars and motorcycles as well. Houser opined that the cars would handle better than they did in Grand Theft Auto IV, as he felt that they were "big and boat-like" in Grand Theft Auto IV whereas in Grand Theft Auto V the cars handle similarly to those in racing games.
The team drew upon game protagonist archetypes during the scripting of each of the characters. Michael was considered to embody greed, Franklin ambition, and Trevor insanity. Houser considered how the team characterised Michael and Trevor as juxtapositions of each-other. "Michael is like the criminal who wants to compartmentalise and be a good guy some of the time and Trevor is the maniac who isn't a hypocrite", he explained. He felt that having three lead characters would help move Grand Theft Auto V's story into more original territory than its predecessors, which traditionally followed a single protagonist rising through the ranks of a criminal underworld. Ned Luke, Shawn "Solo" Fonteno and Steven Ogg portrayed Michael, Franklin and Trevor, respectively. Fonteno first became aware of the acting job through his friend DJ Pooh, who had previously worked on San Andreas and was involved in Grand Theft Auto V's music production. When Luke's agent advised him of the casting call for Grand Theft Auto V, he initially did not want to audition for the part because it was in a video game. After reading the audition material and learning more about the project, he became interested in auditioning. "I went immediately after reading the material from 'I'm not doing it' to 'nobody else is doing it'. It was just brilliant", Luke reflected. During the initial audition process, Ogg observed a chemistry on-set with Luke which he felt helped land them the parts. " When [Luke] and I went in the room together we immediately had something", Ogg reflected. While the actors knew their auditions were for Rockstar Games, it was only after signing contracts that they learned they would be involved in a Grand Theft Auto title.
Work begun for the actors in 2010. Their performances were mostly recorded using motion capture technology. Dialogue for scenes with characters seated in vehicles was recorded in studios instead. Because the actors had their dialogue and movements recorded on-set, they considered their performances no different to a film or television role. Their dialogue was scripted to the extent that it did not lend itself to ad-lib, however they would sometimes make small changes to the performance with approval from the directors. In preparation for his role as Michael, Luke gained 25 pounds and studied Rockstar's previous games, starting with Grand Theft Auto IV. Luke considers Michael's characterisation an amalgamation of Hugh Beaumont's portrayal of the character Ward Cleaver from American sitcom Leave It to Beaver (1957–63), and Al Pacino's portrayal of the character Tony Montana from the 1983 film Scarface.
As the actors recorded their performances, Ogg felt Trevor's characterisation evolved over time. "Nuances and character traits that began to appear — his walk, his manner of speech, his reactions, definitely informed his development throughout the game", he explained. Ogg cites Tom Hardy's depiction of English criminal Charles Bronson in the 2008 biopic Bronson as a strong stylistic influence on his portrayal of Trevor. Ogg reflected that while Trevor embodies the violent, psychopathic Grand Theft Auto anti-hero archetype, he wanted players to sympathise with Trevor's story. "To elicit other emotions was tough, and it was the biggest challenge and it's something that meant a lot to me", Ogg said. Fonteno reflected that growing up in South Los Angeles and being exposed to gang culture helped him connect to the characterisation of Franklin. He drew upon his own previous involvement in a gang and trafficking drugs in his portrayal of Franklin. "I lived his life before. [...] He's been surrounded by drugs, the crime, living with his aunt — I lived with my grandmother — so there was a lot of familiarity", Fonteno reflected. Having not worked as an actor since portraying Face in the 2001 film The Wash, Fonteno sought counsel from Luke and Ogg in refining his acting skills.
Grand Theft Auto V is the first entry in the series to make use of an original score. Music supervisor Ivan Pavlovich noted that creating original score for the game was "daunting" given that it would be a first for the series. Like previous entries in the series, the game also contains licensed music tracks provided by an in-game radio. Pavlovich noted that the team did not want the original music to detract from the use of licensed music as well, but rather to accompany it. To work on the score, Rockstar brought The Alchemist, Oh No and Tangerine Dream on board with Woody Jackson, who had collaborated with the team on three previous projects, Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire (2011) and Max Payne 3. In collaboration with each other, the team of producers composed twenty hours of music which scores the game's missions. In addition, music will play dynamically throughout the game in both the single-player and multiplayer modes. Pavlovich noted that at times Rockstar would give the team missions to specifically provide score for, but that some of the team's music composed for no specific purpose would influence some other missions and provide jumping-off points for further score development. He noted what he described as a "stem-based" system to make the music fit dynamic factors in the game; after a piece of music was assigned to a particular mission, the team would compose music to underscore outcomes the player could make after completing it.
Early in Grand Theft Auto V's development, the music team were shown an early build of the game before conducting production on the score. Their work on the score was mostly complete later in the game's development, but they continued composing up until the final build of the game had to be submitted for manufacturing. Edgar Froese, Tangerine Dream's founding member, was initially uninterested in being involved in music production on the game. After being flown into the studio and shown the game, he had a change of heart, impressed by the game's scale and cinematic nature. Froese's initial eight months of work on the score produced 62 hours of music. He recorded with Tangerine Dream in Austria, but further work was mainly conducted at Jackson's studio in the United States, which The Alchemist and Oh No accessed. Jackson, who upon learning that the composers would be building off each-other's work, expressed concern that the finished product could end up disjointed. His initial work on the game was to provide score for Trevor's missions, citing The Mars Volta and Queens of the Stone Age as stylistic influences during this process. After sending his efforts around to the other members of the team, Jackson was impressed by Froese's contributions to his work. "Edgar evolved the music, made it into a whole other thing", he noted. Froese had taken Jackson's hip hop-influenced work and interpolated it with a funky sound. Froese and Jackson also sent their efforts between The Alchemist and Oh No, who heavily sampled their work. "We were sampling, taking a piece form here, a piece from there. [...] We pitched stuff up, chopped it, tweaked it. Then we chose the tracks that worked and everyone came in and layered on that", recalled The Alchemist. DJ Shadow then mixed the team's creations together and appropriated it for the gameplay.
In developing the radio stations, the team at Rockstar sought to reinforce the game's recreation of California by licensing tracks they felt appropriately echoed a "Cali feel". On the inclusion of the pop station Non-Stop-Pop FM, Pavlovich noted "the first time you get off an airplane in L.A. and you hear the radio and the pop just seeps out... We wanted that. It really connects you to the world". He felt that music licensing for the game involved a greater discernment than in Grand Theft Auto IV, as the music in Grand Theft Auto V played a greater role in building a Californian atmosphere. "It reflects the environment in which the game is set", he explained. Initially, the team planned to license over 900 tracks for the radio, but over time they refined the total number of tracks to 241. The tracks are shared between fifteen stations, and the radio also includes two talk-back stations. Some of the tracks were written specifically for the game; for example, rapper and producer Flying Lotus hosts the station FlyLo FM which includes original work he composed for the game. As Pavlovich noted, for each of the radio stations, over time the team would develop an understanding of where the station's music was going and then select a DJ to host the station. Each station's DJ was selected with the mindset that they would match the genre of music the station hosts; for example, in developing Los Santos Rock Radio the team licensed classic rock tracks, and thus Kenny Loggins became a fitting choice for the station's DJ. Pavlovich noted that striking a balance between the radio and the score was a meticulous process. He cited a mission template as an example where the player would drive to an objective while listening to the radio, with the score then beginning once the player left the vehicle and proceeded into the next stage of the mission.
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