There’s been a lot of criticism of the Grand Theft Auto franchise over the years–something that the game’s publisher, Rockstar Games, seems to revel in. The series is shockingly violent and full of misogynistic jokes and stereotypes, and that’s always been part of its appeal. But it doesn’t have to be all “beating hookers to death” or “torturing people in warehouses.” As this 13-minute faux-nature documentary made entirely from in-game footage from Grand Theft Auto V makes clear, we can learn, too.
One of the main selling points of the GTA series is that it’s an open-world game, which means that players can explore the margins as they like, without needing to spend much time executing the game’s plot missions. For some players, that just means more time to spend running over prostitutes and setting them on fire, but for others, it’s a chance to explore the wildlife that exists in the water surrounding the game’s island.
Into The Deep is a fully narrated (with a terrific fake British accent) fake nature documentary that explores the wildlife and vegetation under the water. We meet the game’s humpback whales via submarine; we encounter the game’s tiger and hammerhead sharks through the diving suit; we check out pods of the game’s orca whales. The “documentary” points out some of the game’s scientific inaccuracies (while making a few of its own), as when a group of hammerhead sharks gather en masse without anything to eat nearby; a glitch that has an orca frozen in place gets an entire segment, all told without breaking the character of the detached narrator explaining the footage captured. Watching the video, it feels a lot more like a legit documentary than it does a collection of footage from Grand Theft Auto V–which is, we suppose, a testament to the game’s complex creativity, even if that mostly plays itself out with things that are less savory than a school of sharks searching for prey.