Rockstar Had To Remove More Than 15,000 N-Words From Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto 5

Rockstar isn’t exactly known for the use of subtlety in its games. Both of the developer’s flagship properties, Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto, go in heavy on their overt satire of American culture but, in Grand Theft Auto V‘s case especially, the unabashed studio decided to take a step back and reconsider.

While at MCM Comic Con in London, voice actors Ned Luke (Michael), Shawn Fonteno (Franklin) and Steven Ogg (Trevor) collectively hosted a panel in order to answer the attending crowd’s burning questions. As part of the Q&A, Fonteno revealed that Rockstar, in editing his recordings, had to remove over 15,000 instances of the word “N***a” being used. Fans who have spent endless hours touring Los Santos will be well aware that the word remains present in-game, of course, but Fonteno notes that Rockstar’s edits were simply a result of his being a touch too overzealous with its use.

It wasn’t just Fonteno that had his work altered, either. Contributing his own anecdote to the conversation, Trevor voice actor Steven Ogg explains how Rockstar would limit the number of unsavory words each of the three were allowed to use. “There was only a certain number of f**ks you can say,” he recalls, adding that, “I would always do the reading as poorly as possible so that they [had to use the one with curse words].”


Considering Rockstar’s approach to storytelling, it comes as somewhat of a surprise that the studio has boundaries in place that even it won’t cross, though ultimately, this seems to be more a case of clean-up than actively attempting to censor its own parody of American society. An interesting aside, nonetheless.

As for the series’ future, a sequel to Grand Theft Auto V is largely expected to already be in the works, though it remains to be seen when, or for what platforms, it’ll be available.