Why GTA V shouldn’t be set in the USA

We’ve been driving, shooting and bludgeoning prostitutes to death in Rockstar’s fictional take on American cities for 13 years now. It’s time for a change. With GTA 5 likely to be unveiled later this month at E3, we thought it was time to put forward an argument for the series heading to farther shores. Below, we'll tell you why we don't want the series to go back to the US, while also fighting cases for a return to London and even a GTA set in the future (obviously you can now watch the trailer here).

We don’t want to play in Vice City or San Andreas again

Been there. Done that. Got the blood-stained t-shirt. It’s time for a change. If GTA is set in the States again, it’s a good bet either of these locations would feature. As much as we loved exploring the fictional Miami and state of California, the appeal of both were massively tied to their time period.

Above: Keep dreaming, Tommy. Keep dreaming.

Vice City worked so well because of the strength of that 80s environment. The music. The fashion. The mullets! It was as much experiencing the hedonistic excesses of the decade that taste forgot as it was about driving around Miami. Ditto with San Andreas and its Boyz n the Hood-style LA ghetto setting.

The appeal of each new GTA is the thrill of exploring the unknown. While Liberty City had technically been visited in GTA and GTA III before Niko’s amoral adventure, we’d never truly seen it depicted as New York City before. That’s why, as we weaved through Algonquin’s skyscrapers in a chopper, it felt like an entirely new place. Vice City, Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas have already been rendered pretty close to the cities that inspired them, meaning there’d be litle point in returning.

Above: Alright, so CJ's gone wrong. But a change of scenery would be nice

We want to see Rockstar’s scathing satire focused on another culture

The coolest developer in the world ™ has been successfully extracting the urine from the Home of Brave for 13 years now. And as much as we love Little Lacy Surprise banners mocking America’s crass advertising culture or Cluckin’ Bell highlighting everything wrong with its fast food industry, we think Rockstar needs to move on.

Above: Shhiiiiitttttt

One thing any setting for GTA V needs is a multicultural setting that included most of the major races, religions and professions. Not only does this let the player experience a variety of different missions because of the character variation, it also means folk can’t get (quite so) upset if the game is taking the piss out of everyone. And for a multicultural city ripe for the GTA treatment look no further than…

GTA London (t'would be amazing)

Seriously: WANT. Alright, it’s already been visited in GTA: London, 1969. But that was top-down, so can’t quite count as a realistic representation of one the busiest, most varied metropolises on the planet. Aside from being culturally rich and diverse enough to provide loads of different missions, it would also give Rockstar the chance to shove in a shit load of film references. Vice City had Scarface. San Andreas had Ocean’s Eleven. GTA IV had its sloppy wet kiss to Michael Mann’s Heat. We can smell those Notting Hill Julia Roberts side missions already.

Above: An American Brucie in London. A man can dream...

But a GTA in the future would be… eh, awesomer

C’mon, GTA: Blade Runner? Say you wouldn’t kill an entire family of adorable orphaned porcupines to play that right the hell now. Just think of how creative Rockstar could get with the almost limitless creative canvas the setting could provide.

And we’re not just talking Mass Effect with hookers here. A sci-fi GTA delivered with Rockstar’s usual tongue-in-cheek style would not only give the genre a kick up the ass, it would also give us weapons, locations and baddies unlike anything we’d seen before.

Red Dead Redemption shows that Rockstar is the master of creating believable, ambient environments. Red Dead’s take on the Old West encapsulates a sense of time and place we’ve never seen before. With a level of passion and dedication for creating worlds this vibrant and rich, we’d bet the farm a futuristic GTA would be the most compelling take on the concept since Back to the Future Part II.

Above: Oh yes, a man can dream

But what about you? Where do you think the next GTA will be set? And, more importantly, where do you want it to be set? Agree with our London idea? Give us a shout in the comments below.

June 1, 2010


  • PolarBearsInHeat - June 22, 2011 2:47 p.m.

    GTA CANADA, you could ride moose and polarbears, shoot up mounties (we already do it), hunt baby seals, smoke marijuana in front of cops (it's being legalized). Have fucking charlie 6pack as your main guy, eh?
  • Raykid127 - February 7, 2011 1:12 a.m.

    The next GTA should totally be set in Latin America. Say, Guatemala for example. Tell me if you wouldn't want to drive somewhere you could also get your car robbed.
  • Ipriest54753 - December 8, 2010 10:39 p.m.

    How about GTA: The shetland isles, where you must wrest control of the mean street of lerwick from the shetland mafiosos... all ONE of them!
  • jeroennn92 - September 26, 2010 11:56 a.m.

    yeah, i would be really happy of GTA V would be in europe. And with the possibility to travel between several cities, like Amsterdam, Berlin, Londen, Paris and Rome or Moscow. That would be really great, even if the load times are a bit longer. i'm already dreaming of a new GTA....
  • ballache - September 20, 2010 5:45 a.m.

    Interesting points raised here, but the focus needs to start with the plot of the game. They could steal a few movie ideas certainly to base the main character; maybe a bent cop, son of a mafia don, maybe undercover fed or a spook. Whatever city or cities chosen by R* I'm sure they'll make it epic. The good thing with it being set in the US is the mass mix of cultures and the variety between cities. I'd love to see more mountains and some GTA skiing would be wicked. I think they should also put in some random trips around the globe, maybe to sort out a coke deal in Bogota, or sorting out a weapons deal in teh Eastern Bloc. Guess we'll have to wait a fair few years before you can travel the entire globe on a game though..
  • dbleja - July 29, 2010 3:01 a.m.

    Realistically it needs to be in an English-speaking country, so Tokyo and continental Europe are out. Half the appeal of GTA is the radio stations, the billboards, the street chatter, etc. If it was in Tokyo, all the dialogue, billboards, etc. would have to be in Japanese with subtitles, which would be crap and would barely work, or in English, which would be ridiculous and would destroy the game's credibility. London is a good option. Sydney would be even better. For one, it has a spectacular skyline with lots of skyscrapers. Secondly, it's built on a huge harbour which increases the scope for boat- and air-based gameplay moreso than London's muddy Thames does (and makes it easier to lock off sections of the city in earlier periods of the game, like GTA likes to do). It's also multicultural and has a society rife with racism and hedonism, both of which are traditional themes in GTA. I think a futuristic setting could be fantastic (hovercars!! teleporters when you want to repeat a mission!!), although maybe making it a GTA game would encumber it too much; maybe a game like that should be a brand new franchise to make the most out of the possibilities. Personally though, my biggest hope is that in GTA5 sees the inclusion of some characters that aren't complete sociopathic arses for once. Sure, GTA4 had quality writing and voice acting, but after being introduced to the umpteenth detestable, amoral, thug who you'd never want to spend time with in real life, it gets hard to care about what goes on in the game's world, especially as Niko as as bad as any of them. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy blowing up helicopters with rocket launchers as much as the next guy, but if GTA5 made me feel from time to time like I'm doing more than just playing out the frustrated fantasy of a some pychotic 15-year old, it'd make it a much better game.
  • horrorcore - July 18, 2010 11:47 p.m.

    Hell jus keep it in the US and make the best GTA from a city people keep forgettin: WASHINGTON DC and the surrounding Metropolitan area of Northern Virginia and Maryland even expanding to Baltimore. But Wow. A GTA in London. Hell No. I mean if you wanna take it overseas then the best Europe city would be Amsterdam or even France but London please. But the Caribbean or South America specifically the countries like Colombia and Jamaica would be great since their known for drug trade specially Colombia or Mexico. A sci fi GTA HEll no. We played Timesplitters 2 for PS2. But Mexico would be my primary out of US location becuase of their booming drug trade right now.
  • chelsea1690 - June 7, 2010 5:09 p.m.

    why not have it set in Glasgow. Glasgow would be amazing
  • CheechBoner - June 5, 2010 7:28 a.m.

    South America!!!!!seriously that would rule you could do drug runs and stuff like that it would be truly AMAZING!!!
  • Freeman93 - June 4, 2010 7:30 p.m.

    GTA:Europe would surely be the best GTA yet! Sure the American settings have been fun but their is no question the most beautiful cities in the World are in Europe. Paris, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Moscow, etc, etc; think of the diversity, the stereotypes, culture references. Even if the next GTA isn't set in Europe surely it has to be considered for the future, you can only drain the overly exaggerated American culture for so long.
  • Spybreak8 - June 3, 2010 5:10 a.m.

    London baby yeaah! (in Brucie's voice lol) I'd say Hawaii, still technically in the US but would be like GTA Just Cause. Niko goes on vacation! haha no no use a different character of course.
  • shyfonzie - June 2, 2010 11:08 p.m.

    GTA: Bonertown
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - June 2, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    Oh and @Sabtos - The UK founded cynics. (sorry for DP)
  • PaulieWaulie - June 2, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    Northerns don't use the "t" either, they just imply the use of it.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - June 2, 2010 10:18 p.m.

    I hate to be pedantic but Londoners (and the whole South East of the UK) don't use the prelusory " t' ". That's T'northeners. As you were, gentlemen. OT: I'd love to see a GTA Future. Might make them fun again instead of dreary, grey, boring, depressing and "gritty" like IV was.
  • PaulieWaulie - June 2, 2010 10:04 p.m.

    I'm not a particularly patriotic person (not even entirely British) but I have to make a couple of points: ImAliveOMG : London alone has a population of almost 8 million so I think the UK has a larger population that 1.7 mil, in fact I think it's has twice the population of Canada (I do like Canada by the way). All other anti UK bellends (mostly yanks) : Ever looked at a globe? UK is a fairly small Island that ultimately not only spawned the effing language you are all using but also is responsible for you living where you are now in some way or another. Please don't base your xenophobic views from watching American based films such as Mary Poppins. UK has some of the most multicultural cities in the world plus even though in the real world it is not a good point they are full of crime which is the basis of all GTA's. Plus on a final note, Rockstar are a british dev house so why not, and like the article states, I've spent ages laughing at them taking the p!ss out of US culture and I'm ready for them to look inwards and rip us brits to pieces. PS Sci-Fi GTA = Sh!t
  • aberkromby - June 2, 2010 7:30 p.m.

    GTA Baghdad.....
  • eltonbm - June 2, 2010 4:58 p.m.

    If they want to put a different setting than they need to change the game: Bully(childhood), RDR(End of the Wild West). For a GTA it needs to be here and almost now. GTA is all about city life, what it was or what it is. So for "future" we need a new game. A set outside USA? True Crime is doing it right now; a country in Africa? FC2 nailed it, but we have so much to explore Dora! Australia and their Wilderness, Niko´s home with all the instable politics and cold crimes(Kremlin in HD!!!!!), South America will be in Max P. 3, but it could be worth. Middle Eastern? The most inflammable place in the 21st Century? Hell, watch Syriana or Three Kings, or any other movie without Cloney with this theme. This could be the most dark and dangerous GTA ever, and yet the most explosion filled one. But you know what would really be nice and fantastic? Put our hands on the mind of a criminal LADY!!! Hey "Hit Girls" are everywhere, even in R* RDR, so why crime is always a man thing? We get 4 GTA expansions(LC and VS Stories and Episodes of LC) and we never experienced the game as a Lady, not even in Chinatown Wars. So yes, even England, or Ireland, or Morocco , or Iraq, Brazil, Australia, Russia, Taiwan, Japan, N. Korea, Texas, Jamaica. I want to play with a lady too and maybe chose for a better life in the game too. And bring back all the body changes and Clothes from San Andreas, that was fantastic.
  • AuthorityFigure - June 2, 2010 2:35 p.m.

    How about they make a game for each territory for GTAV... You link up and visit other cities ike (ahem) Animal Crossing... Recruit your cousin from Europe to take on the triads of Hong Kong etc.
  • Anonymous93 - June 2, 2010 12:23 p.m.

    also sorry for the double post but someone ignorant retard said britain has a pop. of 1.7 million. It doesnt i dont know the right number but i know london has about 12million alone

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