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GTA V’s soundtrack packs in ’20 movies worth of score’

GTA VThe Grand Theft Auto series has always featured memorable musical scores. Whether you’re wreaking total chaos across the streets of behind the wheel of a Banshee sportscar in Liberty City, or gunning down rival gangsters who step on your turf in San Andreas, Rockstar has provided sensational soundwaves that compliment the open-world crime-infused action quite nicely.

GTA V is no different, and Rockstar is pulling out the big guns to deliver the largest soundtrack with plenty of feel-good jams, erratic metal riffs, and iconic songs that permeate through the airwaves and become unforgettable as the game itself.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Rockstar’s soundtrack supervisor Ivan Pavlovich talks about just how big GTA V‘s soundtrack is, and how it helps shape a memorable gameplay experience in Los Santos:

We have 15 radio stations, two talk radio stations, 240 licensed songs, and somewhere in the proximity of 20 movies worth of score. It’s the largest soundtrack that we’ve done, and the largest score that we’ve done.

“For this game, which is set in our version of modern day Los Angeles, what was important for us was to capture that feeling of L.A. and California.

“We approached the radio stations as the musical soundscape [you experience] as you fly into L.A. One of the things we’ve never done in a GTA game before is a pop station; exploring that made so much sense in the context of L.A.”

GTAV ss7

Pavlovich also outlines various celebrities and pop culture icons that give voice the GTA V‘s plethora of radio stations. Iconic artists like the legendary DJ Pooh–he of rapper and Friday fame–Pam Grier, Bootsy Collins and Kenny Loggins all lend their voices to the multitude of stations offering pure hilarity that fits right in with Rockstar’s signature wit.

“DJ Pooh hosts the West Coast Classics station. He’s legendary – this is the guy who created the movie Friday. He’s a big personality, and he grew up with all these guys who are on the station. 

“…Pam is the host of a soul station, focusing a little bit on low rider classics. Bootsy Collins is the host of an Eighties boogie-funk station, and Kenny Loggins is the host of our classic rock station. So each of them, in terms of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, plays a large role.

“For me, this is the most exciting soundtrack we’ve done, in terms of who’s hosting and the music on the actual radio stations. This is our biggest accomplishment.”


Additionally Pavlovich reveals that GTA V is the first game where Rockstar created the entire score, which, according to Pavlovich, “plays during missions and the open world gameplay, and during online play. It’s completely dynamic, and engineered very similar to what we’ve done in the past with our interactive stem system – it responds to what you’re doing with your character”.

Oh and the score itself is a collaborative effort, with multiple artists working together to bring a truly immersive soundscape to the game. Pavlovich continues to outline the various efforts of composers like Tangerine Dream, Edgar Froese and Woody Jackson–who scored such Rockstar notables as Red Dead Redemption and parts of L.A. Noire–all of which combine their efforts to deliver a dynamic score to GTA V:

“Although each of these composers is used to define a character or an environment, what’s been interesting about this process is that it’s been the first fully collaborative score that we’ve done. Even though you may be triggering one score with a particular character or within a particular area in the world, you’re always hearing elements from the other composers.

The first time you come into the country you’re blown away by Woody Jackson’s rock score, but within that you’re still hearing elements of Tangerine Dream, and Alchemist and Oh No. So you’re never too far away from this core sound that we’ve established for the game.”

GTA V - Boat

From Pavlovich’s words, the soundtrack for GTA V looks to be one of the main elements that immerses gamers in a new world–one that’s rife with splendor, mayhem, and of course open-world freedom where players can do whatever they want, when they want.

A good soundtrack is essential to bring any remarkable gaming experience to life, and Rockstar has all the bases covered with their expansive offering of ear candy: from the dynamic score that sets the tone for every mission to the hilarious offering of iconic artists and humor that float along the soundwaves–and who can forget those high-octane metal riffs that get players pumped up for some good old-fashioned explosive havoc?

Be sure to head on over to Rolling Stone to check out the full interview, as well as audio samples from various radio stations like East LOS FM, Vinewood Boulevard Radio, and West Coast Classics.

Via Rolling Stone


Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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