Rockstar creative director Dan Houser has explained to Japan’s Famitsu magazine why the latest Grand Theft Auto saga isn’t a next-generation title.

"Rockstar is a content company, not a hardware company," Houser began.

"We use the technology we have to create content, and we try not to let ourselves get beholden to the hardware. The fact that hardware's so mature right now is exactly why we're able to go on to the next level.

“GTA 4 was our first attempt at a new platform and HD visuals, so the first part of development was seriously difficult. Now we know what the hardware's capable of, so it's become a lot easier to move things along and a lot more fun, too.”

“GTA: San Andreas came out at the peak of the PlayStation 2's cycle, and we put out a really good game thanks to that. All the best games for a console come out at the end of the lifecycle, right? So now's the best timing of all."

Grand Theft Auto 4 sold over 270,000 copies in Japan, still the company's top seller there (although Red Dead Redemption isn't far off).

"I really believe that GTA 5 is something that Japanese players can really enjoy," Houser closed. "I also really hope that even more Japanese players take this game on than previous ones. Now I just hope they all don't mind waiting a little longer to hear about GTA 5's multiplayer."

Houser also went a little more in-depth on GTA 5's characters and their motivations.

"Michael is a serious guy who does his work well, the sort of man who can do good things if he feels like it," he said.

"Trevor is totally crazy, but at least he's not a hypocrite or anything. I think each of the three characters can be described as being masters at greed, ambition, and insanity respectively.

“When a GTA hero becomes a criminal, he starts to get deeply moved by these three emotions. Michael was who we came up first, the sort of guy who'd be a middle-aged retired GTA hero. He's got money, he's got a wife, but he's bored.

“Franklin is a young man with a lot of hope, which I think makes for a nice contract. Trevor is just bipolar; he's smart but he's got personality problems, which makes juxtaposing him against Michael pretty funny too."

As Houser notes, the game's story arc won’t feature the usual rags-to-riches tale that has become one of the series’ trademarks.

"It's a completely different type of story this time," he said.

"The three heroes are all playing out their own conflicting roles, and it makes for a deeper and more complex story than before. I'd like you to think of it as a new story, one that you've never experienced not just in games but in any other genre. I guess it sort of talks about how that beautiful West Coast, covered in these rainbows of hope, isn't really the paradise you'd imagine."