Longtime series writer and producer Lazlow Jones on the WGN podcast, transcribed by Polygon, said he collected thousands of hours of people speaking naturally in their own homes for ambient background talking. Eventually he got in contact with a helpful person who happened to have gang contacts.
“In the game there’s these rival gangs. There’s Black gangs, Latino gangs, We recruited a guy who gets gang member, actual real gang members, like El Salvadoran gang dude with amazing tattoos, one of which had literally gotten out of prison the day before.
“We get these guys int to record the gang characters because we don’t want a goofy LA actor who went to a fancy school trying to be a hard gang member. There’s nothing worse than that, so just go find the terrifying people and say ‘can you come in here please?’”
During the sessions, the newly recruited voice actors had some problems with the lines they were to read. Lazlow told them to ad lib, calling his own writing “irrelevant” in the name of authenticity. I’m often fascinated by what parts of the experience developers feel must be authentic in a game where you can drive off a ramp during a high speed car chase and switch between the twenty different weapons that are in your pockets.
Grand Theft Auto 5 is coming to PlayStation 3 in less than two weeks on September 17th.