Former GTA and Red Dead Redemption writers releasing new fictional podcast

Former GTA and Red Dead Redemption writers releasing new fictional podcast

Writers behind Rockstar's hit Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption series are releasing a new fictional podcast called A Better Paradise.

Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser left the studio and started a new company called Absurd Ventures in 2020 with Lazlow Jones, who wrote Red Dead Redemption 2, who also serves as an executive producer.

A Better Paradise Volume One: An Aftermath, out June 10, will be the company's first output since it formed with a number of other projects already in the pipeline.

Jones has also previously worked on a number of Grand Theft Auto titles with Houser, such as Vice City, San Andreas, 4 and 5 having worked there from 2001 to 2020.

Speaking to Indy100, Jones said: "We've never created anything in the sci-fi genre and we've never created a new universe by starting with an audio story before.

"At first, I thought this is going to be quite simple but it's not because you're setting the tone, the continuity, the characters and their voices before you've explored any other projects in the world.

"Throughout the casting, recording, editing process, I've had to have a lot of deep thoughts about what the characters sound like and what they sound like in the future.

"As it's an audiobook coming to life as a radio play, there's a lot of description about the world, characters on other characters and we're having to keep a very clear eye on that as any other project in this universe has to match.

"When you're creating a world that has fictional brands or celebrities for example, it's basically a full-time job to keep it consistent."

A Better Paradise is a sci-fi thriller set in the near future and tells the story of the ill-fated development of an ambitious but addictive digital game-world project led by inventor and psychologist called Dr Mark Tyburn.

As the advanced software they developed began delivering unexpected and disturbing results, the team fell apart under strange circumstances and the project was abandoned.

The game world and the super-intelligence within were previously discarded, left dormant and undiscovered.

Jones said: "One of the things Dan and I talk about a lot is how technology is manipulating us and our behaviour.

"I can put my phone locked in a room in the house, talk to my wife on the other side of the house in a whisper saying I need to buy a new belt, and the next time on I'm social media it's like 'hey, I hear you want to buy a belt'.

"We've been imagining what the future looks like, as things already feel very fast, weird and we know we're being manipulated now through what are sophisticated, but not as advanced as they will be in the future, algorithms."

Speaking about Absurd Ventures starting, Jones said he was "thrilled" when Houser got in touch with him again with the idea for the new company and what he wanted to create together after leaving Rockstar.

"After I took time off to focus on my family and figure out what I wanted to do next, Dan reached out to me and we got back into writing, I was getting in at 7.30am and pounding out pages and pages of script, I love it," he said.

"One of the things Dan and I were super excited about starting this company was creating new universes and new IP and telling stories across different forms of media.

"We've created a ton of media together over the years; radio stations in games, television you can watch in games, newspapers you can read in a game.

"To create all that media outside of a game universe, while also working on games, film, television etc, it's exciting and terrifying as all creative endeavours should be."

Absurd Venture has also announced American Caper which will debut as a graphic novel at some point in 2024.

That's described as focusing on two normal, badly-damaged American families in a world of corrupt business, inept politics and bungling crime.

Jones said: "It's got the flavour, as all these projects do, of what we've been known for."

Jones spoke to Indy100 ahead of the launch of Absurd Venture's A Better Paradise Volume One: An Aftermath fictional podcast out June 10.

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