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Why Grand Theft Auto 3 has a silent protagonist

"This did not seem like a major issue," says Rockstar.

Rockstar has revealed why Grand Theft Auto 3 had a silent protagonist - ten years after the ground-breaking open world gangster game launched.

GTA 3's infamous protagonist, Claude, kept his mouth shut throughout the entire game. Rockstar said this was mostly because it had other things to worry about during development, and "this did not seem like a major issue".

"It may now seem obvious that people should all talk in games, but this was not necessarily the case in 2001, certainly not in an open world game," wrote the studio on Rockstar Newswire.

"We were making up a lot of procedures as we went along, and we decided that the NPCs (Non Playable Characters) should talk and we would have to figure out how to make them talk (using motion captured cutscenes, something that had never really been done before, at least not on the scale we were doing it).

"So we decided that the game's protagonist would not talk, partly to aid people identifying with him, but mostly because we had so many other problems to solve and this did not seem like a major issue."

Rockstar introduced a talking lead character for Grand Theft Auto Vice City, its 2002 follow-up. In that game you play Tommy Vercetti (voiced by Ray Liotta), a member of the Liberty City mafia.

"We started to discuss introducing a talking lead character when working on Vice City, but it was a lot of work," Rockstar said.

"While the structure of GTA3 may seem obvious or natural now, and the use of cutscenes made in the game's engine that look and feel like the game may seem simple and easy, it really was not the case back in 2001 when we had to figure out all of these things for the first time.

"Oh and in San Andreas, CJ calls Claude a mute because he does not talk and CJ finds this unnerving."

This week Rockstar launched Grand Theft Auto 3: 10 Year Anniversary Edition for iOS and Android devices. Grand Theft Auto 5 is expected to launch next year.