Grand Theft Auto V isn't a game that avoids harsh language or violence, but the actors were actually told to hold back on using vulgarity during recording sessions. The voice actors of the three protagonists recently took part in a Grand Theft Auto voice actor panel at MCM London Comic Con where they discussed the recording sessions. During the panel, Franklin Clifton's voice actor Shawn Fonteno revealed that the developer cut 15,000 instances of the n-word from the recording session.
The MCM London Comic Con took place this weekend, from May 25 - 27. The three stars of the panel were Ned Luke, the voice of Michael De Santa, the aforementioned Shawn Fonteno, and Steven Ogg, who played Trevor Philips in the game but is best known for portraying Simon on AMC's The Walking Dead. The hour-long panel included the trio answering questions from fans and talking about the creative process behind one of the best-selling games (95 million copies sold since launching in 2013) in history.
Starting off, Shawn Fonteno said during the panel, "Me and [Gerald "Slink" Johnson], who played Lamar, just our s*** alone I was told they had to take out 15,000 [n-words] that we were saying. We just went crazy. That's just how we talk, we don't mean it in a racist way. That's just how we grew up." The voice of Franklin went on to say that they went so overboard that "[Rockstar Games] had us go back in and clean it up a little bit." It's strange to think that a studio like Rockstar Games would limit their voice actors in using vulgarity, especially given that the games themselves are already rated Mature by the ESRB in the United States.
Actor Steven Ogg, who played Trevor Philips in Grand Theft Auto V, also discussed his experience with cursing too much in the game. He said: "When we went in to do the car dialogue or pickup lines, there was only a certain number of f***s we could say. I was like 'Really, we're killing people and doing this and somebody is worried about having too many f*** words in this?' but it was true, and the c-word, which I personally love, but Americans have a different reaction to it, does not fly." Ogg continued on to tell a story about how Rockstar would have the actors do alternate reads for some of the takes (such as replacing "go f*** yourself" with "go get lost"), and The Walking Dead actor said that he'd "always do the reading as poorly as possible so Rockstar had to use [the explicit take]." It's an interesting strategy, but everything seems to have worked out in the end, given that the game continues to sell well almost five years later.
Considering how famous Rockstar Games is for causing controversy within the gaming world, it's hilarious to see them actually telling actors to hold back on using curse words. The open-world action game is still filled with plenty of expletive rants to the point where nobody could've guessed they were playing a comparatively censored version, so it's not like the end product suffered from it. With that in mind, it looks like Rockstar might have made the right choice as even more vulgarity may have been to the point of parody.
Source: Rockstar INTEL