Rockstar head writer and vice president of creativity Dan Houser recently told The New York Times that although Grand Theft Auto games borrow from TV structurally, popular shows related to the game's subject matter are left untouched.
"One of my weird disciplines is that I don't really watch a lot of those shows, if they relate to what we do," Houser said. "I only watched a tiny bit of The Sopranos. No Boardwalk Empire. No Breaking Bad. Wherever it's too close to crime, gangster, underbelly fiction, and it's super contemporary, I decided, for professional reasons, I have to avoid it."
As far as cinema, Houser says, the greatest thing they've taken is cinematography, with little regard for movie structure. But Houser believes that "borrowing" ideas is a common practice.
"Anyone who makes 3D games who says they've not borrowed something from Mario or Zelda is lying," said Houser. "But I would argue in that regard we've certainly been more sinned against than sinning."
Rockstar's upcoming Grand Theft Auto 5 is currently in the "editing, fixing, removing, replacing, adding" stages, according to Houser. It was recently revealed that the game will feature the series' largest open-world to date, as well as three protagonists. Players will be able to switch between the Michael, Trevor and Franklin for a shot at different skill sets and mini-games.
Grand Theft Auto 5 is available for pre-order now on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with an expected release in Spring 2013.