Farewell, background comic relief.
Remember the past Grand Theft Auto games where you hear the obnoxious but hilarious DJ Lazlow on the radio via the car you just jacked? Yeap, that’s courtesy of Rockstar writer and producer Lazlow Jones, who not only scribed the stories from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City onwards, but also provide background comic relief as the upstart DJ turned D-lister celebrity in the GTA universe.
After almost 20 years in the business, he has now left the company. This is due to personal reasons involving family.
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Getting off a plane from New Zealand in 2018, I received a phone call that changed the direction of my life. It was my sister informing me she has accelerated cancer. Shortly thereafter my father had a diagnosis as well. And then my mother had heart surgery. I became the primary caregiver for my sister and spent hours each week in chemo wards, navigating health care insurance drama, insane expenses, late night emergency room trips, cooking, cleaning, cursing, nursing and attempting to help a person to keep trying even as they know they are dying. It is beyond stressful. During the journey, I transferred her to Memorial Sloan Kettering, which is rated as one of the top two cancer hospitals in the country. The staff, care and technology at MSK is incredible. Last year during intense chemo, she said she wanted to go to Norway before she died. So I booked plane tickets and took a very sick girl on the trip of her dreams. When the pandemic hit it made the situation radically difficult and even more onerous in caring for someone with cancer. But it exposed and strengthened a lot of solidarity among friends, family and neighbors you used to barely speak to as people rallied to fight an unseen enemy, look after each other, and unite to get through an insanely stressful and challenging time. Journeys begin and end, and this one is nearing the end. Fortunately, I’ve had a lot of love and support from friends through this. Hopefully you can reach out and be kind to a friend or stranger, as it makes all the difference in the world, as we don’t know how long we’ll be in it.
He has joined Dan Houser and Leslie Banzies as one of the key folks who left Rockstar Games recently. Kakuchopurei would wish him all the best. To honour his contributions, here’s a video of all of DJ Lazlow’s appearances in-game.