"Grand Theft Auto V" has become synonymous with portrayals of intense violence and graphic sex, but a team of YouTube filmmakers put it to a more peaceful purpose -- creating a fake ocean documentary using the game's engine.
The three-man group known as 8-BIT BASTARD started by creating video game comedy videos, but the new video, released last Saturday, is closer to an homage: The group says it was inspired by the nature documentaries of Sir David Attenborough, a documentarian known for his enthusiastic, up-close stories about animal life.
"I've had a big interest in marine biology for quite a few number of years now, and have always been a big admirer of Sir David Attenborough, and I've always wanted to create some what of a spoof of one of his documentaries," Alec Chaney, one of the 8-BIT BASTARD filmmakers and the main one behind this project, told The Huffington Post via email.
The new "documentary" shows a blue whale encountered in "Grand Theft Auto V."
Titled "Into the Deep," the faux documentary showcases underwater life in the "Grand Theft Auto V" world viewed from the game's submarine vehicle. Players can take a break from the story, access the submarine, and dive into the world's ocean. The first-person view included in a recent re-release of the game on Playstation 4 and Xbox One helped make the video possible, Chaney said, as did the addition of new marine life.
"I was very lucky to have captured the footage that I did," Chaney said. "There have been some speculations as to how I captured some of the animals I came across on my journey -- I just want to say that everything I filmed was all natural, I didn't manipulate any of the animals in any way."
As for why "machinima," or videos created using computer graphics like those seen in video games, is compelling as a medium, 8-BIT BASTARD member Craig Evans said it has an appeal similar to song covers.
"There's something oddly captivating about creating or recreating something in a digital world and drawing parallels to a real-life equivalent," Evans said. "For those unfamiliar or ill at ease with the concept, I always equate our video parodies and recreations to covers of songs. If they can accept that an artist can adapt and cover a song, they can start to get their head around the attraction of recreating something visual in a digital realm."