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Who is Dan Hauser and why Rockstar won’t be the same without him

We recall the creative path of the writer of GTA and Red Dead Redemption
On February 5, an information bomb exploded in the gaming media space: Dan Hauser, lead writer and producer of the main Rockstar games, will leave the company after 22 years in the saddle. Who is he, why is it important and how will it affect the sixth part of Grand Theft Auto? We’ll figure it out right now.

It’s no secret that the first persons of Rockstar do not like to appear in public, preferring to remain heroes in the shadows. That’s why looking at Dan Hauser-a bald and squat unshaven man who has changed for the fifth decade – it is difficult to recognize the author of the main video game hits of the XXI century. I would like to work as a loader in the port or pour beer at the bar. In his pocket, a lot of awards for outstanding services, and in the track record of almost all the games in the GTA series, both parts of Red Dead Redemption, Bully, Max Payne 3… but more important than all the loud signs and regalia is how Dan managed to change the approach to creating stories in large-budget and large-scale games, when they were not

Who is Dan Hauser and why Rockstar won’t be the same without him
Dan and his older brother Sam were born into a British family of film stars and jazz musicians. The parents ‘ classes largely determined the range of young Dan’s interests. Only romantic comedies he more often preferred gangster movies, and academic music-rock and hip-hop. Dan didn’t share his brother’s passion for video games at first. In the early 80’s, he was much more likely to be found not with a gamepad in his hands, but with a book. No wonder the guy ended up in the Oxford literature Department. Sam Hauser, meanwhile, went his own way, which by the end of the 90’s led him to a senior position at BMG Interactive. She was about to release a game that looked like nothing else on the market called Grand Theft Auto. Soon, Sam enlisted the support of his younger brother, who was supposed to do scripts for future games, and the company got a new name: Rockstar.

Who is Dan Hauser and why Rockstar won’t be the same without him
Rather than looking at each of Dan’s works individually, it’s better to look at his approach to creating a narrative as a whole. First of all, the word “realism”, often heard in the dungeons of Rockstar with Dan as the lead writer, was never an empty sound for the Studio. If the guys needed to create a virtual analogue of new York in the face of liberty city, then a whole delegation would fly to real new York, armed with notebooks and cameras. If you needed the Miami of the 80’s, as in Vice City, the developers went together to watch cult gangster movies dedicated to this era. The collected materials were combined into a database, which was later accessed by artists and screenwriters.

No one in the industry has ever thought to practice such a scrupulous approach before — it’s just games! In Rockstar, it extended even to the smallest details. If a car appeared in the game, it had to be not just a specific model, but also a specific year of production and configuration. Or take, for example, radio stations. Just to create Jingles for radio in Vice City, Dan spent hours listening to recordings of ads and talk shows from the ‘ 80s, trying to capture the Zeitgeist. The choice of music was easier — the cultural background of the Hausers provided them with everything they needed.

Who is Dan Hauser and why Rockstar won’t be the same without him
But it is not enough to recreate reality. Artistic value is given to it by the author’s view and techniques, the main of which in Dan’s Arsenal has always been a satire on modern society. By his own admission, the same neon-cocaine 80’s became an opportunity for him to “make fun of modern reality with its greed, love of money and bad taste”. And what could be more appropriate to depict the vices of society than looking over the shoulder of a seasoned criminal? With this perspective, the images of characters embodying these vices are distorted to the grotesque, caricatures – just remember the ever-stoned paranoid lawyer from Vice City, corrupt cops from San Andreas or a psychoanalyst from GTA 5.

Who is Dan Hauser and why Rockstar won’t be the same without him
At the same time, Dan was able to tell a serious and even dramatic story when it was necessary. In his later work, the contrast between the comic and the tragic is particularly noticeable. Against the background of bright Comedy GTA 3 and Vice City, the San Andreas tie, where the main character who returned to his father’s home is haunted by memories of his deceased mother, seemed unusually gloomy. But then there is a frankly comical big smoke with a baseball bat at the ready, as if declaring: “This is still GTA!”Even the battered and aged Max Payne during a shootout in a trendy club will not miss the opportunity to complain about the disgusting music.

Perhaps the most personal for Dan was the story of Nico Bellick from GTA 4-an immigrant who found himself in an amazing, but completely unfriendly to outsiders city in search of freedom. Dan had found himself in an alien environment and personally defended what was important to him — the right to create, to have his own voice. It just so happened that the most striking parodies of American reality in video games were created by a Briton.

Who is Dan Hauser and why Rockstar won’t be the same without him
Hausers always tried to create a mass product, to make games as large-scale as movies (by the way, it was Dan who insisted on attracting first-rate movie stars to voice games). At the beginning of their creative path, it seemed crazy, but recently before our eyes GTA 5 has become not only the most successful game, but also the most successful entertainment product in history, leaving far behind all the Hollywood blockbusters.

Dan Hauser, with his eclecticism and numerous references — is not Bergman or Fellini, but Quentin Tarantino from the video game world. And for all the focus of his stories on a wide audience, no one doubts that Dan managed to keep his author’s handwriting. No wonder the max Payne 3 script was dubbed by many as “too Rockstar” or “gtash”. Let someone put the game in reproach-a matter of taste. The fact remains that the story written by Dan Hauser is unmistakable.

Who is Dan Hauser and why Rockstar won’t be the same without him
You could say that an entire epoch goes with it, but this is not the case. In fact, the era of Dan-the time of bold statements, harsh satire and rock stars-went before, and the younger Hauser managed to survive it for several years. Even from rare interviews with an industry veteran, it is easy to understand that in modern society, he clearly feels out of place.

“In the current situation, it is completely unclear what we should do with GTA 6. No matter what we do, people will complain. Both radical liberals and radical conservatives have become too aggressive. It’s creepy and at the same time very strange. Both sides reach the point of absurdity. That is why it is difficult to imagine a satire on this society. Some of the things we sometimes see today look like satire in themselves»

And these are the words of a man who survived the most brutal wars with the Champions of morality, who accused the games and specifically the GTA series of all imaginable sins. Dan had felt the wrath of this aggressive culture on him. Shortly before the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, he admitted that during the development of the game, “Rockstar” sometimes had to work 100 hours a week. The gaming press immediately turned on him, journalists vying to shout about the inhumane working conditions in Rockstar. A few days later, Dan decided to clarify that it was only about the company’s executives, who are used to working at a furious pace, and from ordinary employees, no one requires such violence against themselves. But there was no stopping this car.

In today’s reality, just one careless statement is enough to get you branded a scumbag for years to come. Even under today’s news of Dan’s departure, you can see comments along the lines of: “Oh, this is the one that built a slavery inside Rockstar with shitty conditions for employees? Well, good riddance, no one will miss him»
“Spent”: a book about the history of the GTA series will be released in Russia with a new translation
Do not miss the study of the creative path of Rockstar from the author of ” lords of DOOM»
MORE DETAILED
The reason for Dan Hauser’s resignation has not been disclosed at this time. Its last working day should be March 11, 2020. An author with a capital letter can afford to retire with a sense of accomplishment. But how this will affect the fate of Rockstar in an industry that still looks back at the standards set by Dan Hauser is something we will see in the coming years.

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