The Grand Theft Auto series may have a big ESRB "M" plastered on the packaging for each of its games, but they're not what you'd call serious, mature titles. Instead, they take a wry, sidelong glance at the American Dream and criminal counterculture, providing some ludicrous, over the top thrills in the process.
The next project of Navid Khonsari, a director on Rockstar's titles between 2001 and 2005 and more recently cinematic director on Kaos' Homefront, is somewhat less light-hearted. Simply known as "1979" and featuring the tagline "there are no good guys," the game explores the year of the hostage crisis at the U.S. embassy in Tehran during Iran's Islamic Revolution.
The game combines the open world gameplay of Rockstar's games with a "baton-pass" narrative, offering several characters' perspectives on the unfolding events. These characters include an American/Iranian translator and a student demonstrator, and each shift in narrative perspective will bring with it a shift in gameplay mechanics, ranging from straightforward combat to stealth, bartering and linguistic puzzles.
Khonsari, who grew up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, hopes that the game will spawn a series of titles allowing players to explore historical events in an interactive manner.
"[This is] the first installment of a franchise where the games will be named after years in which there were CIA operations within certain countries," Khonsari told CNN. "1979 is the first one because it's closest to my heart and I know the story the best. After that, we want to explore what took place in Panama with Noriega, and Libya back in the 70s and 80s with Gadhafi."
The game is at least a year and a half away from release at this time, but it will hopefully set a trend for developers and publishers showing that games set in the Middle East don't have to be first person shooters using what Khonsari dubs a "checkers mentality -- red against black, good against evil."
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