With Grand Theft Auto IV taking a new, more realistic direction in a radically different vision of Liberty City, it seems more and more as though the series - like its new protagonist, Niko Bellic - is angling for a fresh start. The cartoonish mayhem of previous GTAs seems out of place in this bleak new vision of Liberty, and according to our UK counterparts, virtually no familiar faces will appear in GTA IV. But that doesn't necessarily mean we've seen the last of them. Rockstar's left a lot of plot threads dangling, and whether it's in a shiny new sequel, a downloadable episode or another PSP game, it'd be all too easy for the series to go back and mine its past for new stories.
To find out where the series might be going, then, let's take a look at where it's been:
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
2006 | PSP, PS2
The last Grand Theft Auto game is also the first chronologically; Vice City Stories tells the tale of 28-year old ex-soldier Vic Vance, brother of Vice City antagonist Lance Vance. We enter the Vance residence just as it reaches its lowest ebb; Vic has received a dishonorable discharge for prostitute-related buffoonery and Lance is trying to kick a cocaine habit. The brothers dig themselves out of this hole the only way they know how: by climbing the ranks of Vice City’s crime syndicates and engaging in a number of third-person adventures for assorted criminal overlords.
During the intro to Vice City, Tommy Vercetti finds that the drug deal Forelli sets up for him hits a bit of a snag when some masked gunmen intervene, mowing down Vercetti’s associates and a certain Mr. Vic Vance, making him the first and only GTA protagonist to die. Or did he? You may remember that the Vance brother that appeared in Vice City had a combover and a Latin accent - quite unlike the guy we played as in VC Stories. Was the deceased party actually Lance’s other (as-yet unseen) brother Pete? Or was it just a continuity screw-up? We may never know.
Trailer park mafia
2007 will mark the twenty-third anniversary of the collapse of Vice City’s Trailer Park Mafia - the redneck crime ring that disbands after Vic takes it upon himself to kill TPM leader Marty Jay Williams. Looking at the bigger picture, we have to wonder what became of the young baby orphaned by the actions of Vance and rival dealer Armando Mendez. Has she made something of herself? Has the clean break enabled her to live her life free of the trappings of organized crime? That just wouldn’t be the GTA way now, would it?