Rockstar Dev Reveals Why GTA 3’s Claude Was Silent

An ex-Rockstar Games developer has explained why GTA 3’s protagonist, Claude, never spoke in the game despite being surrounded by very talkative characters.


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From Tommy Vercetti to Michael de Santa, Grand Theft Auto games (and games from Rockstar in general) have become known for their in-depth and talkative protagonists over the last few decades. That hasn’t always been the case, however, as the developer’s first big hit, GTA 3, featured a “hero” who was entirely mute throughout the whole game and didn’t even react when he was lit on fire.

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Over the years, fans have wondered why this is and whether it was a purposeful design choice from Rockstar to allow players to insert themselves into the game or simply a limitation from being one of the first 3D open-world games at the time. Well, after 22 years, an ex-Rockstar developer has finally explained one of the reasons why.

Over on Twitter, Obbe Vermeij, who acted as Rockstar North’s technical director during GTA 3’s development, was asked why Claude never spoke during the game. In response, Vermeij simply said, “At least part of it was that we had to cut corners. The audio dept were busy as it was”.

So there you have it, one of the great GTA mysteries simply comes down to a technical limitation of the time. Interestingly, Vermeij’s explanation of why Claude doesn’t talk is a little different to what Rockstar Games has previously said on the matter. When asked about Claude during a Q&A in 2011, Rockstar Games stated that the reason that Claude doesn’t talk is so that players can identify with him more.

“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. We started to discuss introducing a talking lead character when working on Vice City.

The Q&A also notes that Claude not speaking was because the team had “a lot of other problems to solve” which does go along with what Vermeij says about corners needing to be cut due to having so many other things to solve at the time. The two answers combined do give us the best explanation why Claude is mute in GTA 3, though, so we can consider that mystery solved.

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