The nature documentary filmed inside Grand Theft Auto V

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OK. 'Nature' 'documentary.'

This is a David Attenborough-style nature "mockumentary" made inside Grand Theft Auto V, the open-world crime game, which came out last year. Narrated by a British man and scored by swelling classical music, it uses the virtual world of GTA to present a narrative about nature despoiled by human activity.

Of course, it's all meant to be a joke. But the sheer beauty of the undersea creatures in GTA V, and the ways that the videomakers filmed them, add depth to a YouTube video that should be just be a sendup. Some of the shots of the underwater ROV following the humpback whale are fantastic.


Many short films have been made in virtual worldsAcademics love how users have repurposed these commercial works to create new art. People used to call them machinima, but the rise of the massive video network Machinima seems to have put some people off the name.

Regardless of the nomenclature, as videogame worlds have grown richer and deeper, the types of films people can make has grown. It's actually not crazy to make a documentary about the animals in GTAV because they have been digitally sculpted and programmed by the gamemakers. These are tertiary artificial intelligences, floating on the margins of the game, waiting to be explored.

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