To follow Stockholm Pride’s mission to spread love and equality – we created a digital pride parade inside one of the most violent games in the world – Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5). The Los Santos Pride parade – named after the fictional city within the game – was free to download, so every player could have their own digital pride parade inside the game. The modification (a plugin that modifies the game) was created together with real Grand Theft Auto 5 fans across the world and was launched with a trailer on Youtube and Facebook. To honour the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the whole parade was made indestructible. Why? Because love will always triumph over hate.
In order to create Los Santos Pride, we searched in fan forums for people to join us in the creation of the pride parade mod. In collaboration with some of the most talented GTA 5 amateur code scripters and texture designers we started creating Los Santos Pride. We created new cars, custom made clothes, rainbow flags, face paint and signs saying “Love comes in all colors”. We also included GTA 5’s main characters Trevor, Michael and Franklin in the parade. Towards the end of the scripting process, the horrific shooting in Orlando left 49 people dead and over 53 others injured. Therefore we decided to make the parade indestructible – not to moralize over gaming violence but to rather show that love always triumph hate.
The mod was released via a video trailer on Youtube and Faceook, featuring legendary BBC1 voice Pete Tong and the music from Swedish producer Alesso.
Los Santos Pride instantly sparked a debate in the comment sections on Youtube and Facebook, where thousands of gamers gathered to discuss equality and representation. Many of the comments revealing the already existing homophobia within the community, and the need for initiatives like this. Hours after the launch international media started reporting on Los Santos Pride. From respected gaming media such as Kotaku, Polygon and PC Gamer to news outlets such as BBC, Metro and NBC. The campaign has had a significant spread on Twitter and Facebook, ticking up to over 35,000 social media shares. Many prolific companies and personalities have expressed their support for Los Santos Pride, such as YouTube via their Twitter, BBC tech show presenter Kate Russell and creators of GTA Rockstar Entertainment.
+6 million views on Youtube and Facebook combined
+7000 downloads of the mod
+35 000 shares in social media
Visits from 133 countries
Modifying games, or ‘modding’, is a popular phenomenon within the gaming culture. Still, it has not yet been seen in the purpose of advertising or branded entertainment. The Los Santos Pride parade mod is the first of its kind. The modification was free to download, so everyone could download it and have their colorful parade marching down the streets of the game.
Our strategy was to create the mod together with the fan community. This would not only ensure a bigger reach, but also credibility and quality. We created threads on GTA 5 fan forums asking for help in making a pride parade mod for Stockholm Pride. Shortly after we received lots of volunteers, including JulioNiB and 8-Bit Bastard – recognized amateur code scripters and video editors in GTA 5 (so called ‘machinima’). The parade features a lively crowd of different races and genders celebrating the historic day in the fictional city. This was made deliberately to highlight the lack of diversity in gaming, but also pave way for future modders and game developers to think more inclusive.
The game was launched with an official trailer, featuring the voice of legendary BBC1 host Pete Tong. and music from Swedish electronic producer Alesso. Their participation was included to maximize the PR potential.