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Former “Grand Theft Auto” Director Making ’79 Iranian Revolution Game

Former “Grand Theft Auto” Director Making ’79 Iranian Revolution Game (photo)

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With many Middle Eastern nations in the throws of democratic uprisings, the recent news that a video game based on the events of the 1979 Iranian Revolution feels timely — and yes, maybe a little exploitative of the moment.

On Russia Today, Navid Khonsari, founder of film and video game development house iNK STORIES, discussed a current project, “1979: The Game,” a game of unknown genre set against the Iranian Revolution.

A writer and director for Rockstar Games from 2001-2005, Khonsari’s partly responsible for the brooding cinematic aesthetic of Grand Theft Auto 3, Midnight Club Racing and a handful of other graphic titles. The man is no stranger to mature games and the controversy they often court.

Unlike Rockstar’s games, that take place in fictional locations and across satirical storylines, “1979” carries the baggage of reality. Real people suffered for change and many different local and global factors led to a power shift with ramifications that are still in play today. The year and the revolution, it would seem, are poor fits for a medium’s traditional “Rambo-like” protagonist narratives.

Khonsari’s solution to his complex undertaking is to allow players to inhabit many different people from unique walks of life. “We’re primarily looking at about 8 to 10 different roles,” said Khonsari to Russia Today. “Initially, you’ll start the game off as an Iranian, but American-born US State Department translator, who’s coming in with the objective of trying to free the US hostages.”

He expands later that, “It’s not a matter of bad guys going after good guys, or good guys going after bad guys. Whether they’re Iranian, American, pro-democracy, pro-theocracy. Whether they just want to make money on the side by sneaking in alcohol. Whether they want to make sure everyone wants to follow the religious rules of Islam.”

It’s a different direction from the crude satire of “GTA.” But with Rockstar proven to be an industry hit maker, is different that what people want? Is what the people want even relevant in this situation?

View the video interview below. The game sounds promising, but without a gameplay video, a screenshot, a genre or even a vague description of how it works, it is difficult to see the project as anything more than something on the mind of a talented individual. If it does get made — if it actually lives up to the pitch — that would be revolutionary.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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