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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



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110 comments

  • WickedSid - June 1, 2010 12:52 p.m.

    GTA: London would be great, just imagine, base jumping off of Ol' Big Ben. Or... GTA... Canada! Just think of the possibilities... oh wait... umm...
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - June 1, 2010 12:57 p.m.

    Wasn't there already a GTA London way back when they were top-down?
  • DaveBoyle - June 1, 2010 12:57 p.m.

    What about ... GTA:Surrey, where the main aim in the game is to get a better car than your neighbours.
  • WickedSid - June 1, 2010 12:58 p.m.

    Dual Postage: What about competing in the Gumball Rally, going through Germany, Holland, Specifically North Holland, to a certain city where certain things are legalized, *wink wink* *nudge nudge*, and a plethora of other countries. Seems like it would be sweet.
  • nadrewod999 - June 1, 2010 12:59 p.m.

    France, or another part of continental Europe. Just compare the "Next Stop" poster with a world map of France's western coast. THEY ARE THE SAME!
  • bluscorp - June 1, 2010 1:01 p.m.

    Well David, like i said on the QotW, it should be Tokyo. Yakuza vs Chinese mafia, the busiest city in the world, great culture and all the tech. But London would be good, doing what Guy Fawkes couldn't and blow up the Houses of Parliament, that'd be a good mission. And I'm still hoping London studios revive the Getaway 3.
  • End - June 1, 2010 1:01 p.m.

    GTA Essex Enough said
  • Mercutio - June 1, 2010 1:02 p.m.

    Color me unsurprised: a Gamesradar UK employee wants to play a GTA set in the UK. I would like R* to do a game set in the UK, but at this point, I think the GTA series is an American one. It would be a massive change for the series to not be set in the United States and deal some incarnation of the American Dream, which is what the modern games have always been about. I want R* to tackle possibly the most awfully misrepresented issue in America today: illegal immigration. I want to play as an immigrant from Mexico who isn't a miserable stereotype. This could take place in Vice City in the modern era, or in a city based on a Las Vegas, Houston, Los Angeles, etc. In fact, considering the amount of work R* has put in creating assets and doing research on the border with Mexico for RDR, this concept wouldn't surprise me in the least. There are even several lines in Red Dead Redemption about how "for a nation of immigrants..."
  • Brojo - June 1, 2010 1:07 p.m.

    I would like the GTA: sci-fi setting. Its never been done before and like the article said with Rockstars creativitiy it would rock. What they did with Red Dead Redemption is awesome but the only trick for a sci-fi version is vertical up and down movement gameplay with flying cars n shtuff flying into...space??... GTA: Universe...yea
  • ichigoame - June 1, 2010 1:12 p.m.

    to be fair they haven't done the midwest or the dirty south in america yet maybe a parody of chicago or seattle for the midwest and parody of texas for the south i don't think they should set it in london brazil sounds good like rio or something or tokyo or hong kong but london..meh pretty boring looking city with hardly enough skyscrapers to adhere a majestic skyline if they are gonna set it in UK set it in birmingham..pure comedy plus i think they had a brummie on the 'kil phil ' mission on vice city stories so they could link the story to him or something or they could re-do VC or SA but still set it in the same time period
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 1, 2010 1:16 p.m.

    I completely agree. Europe in general is rich in history and old architecture: the US is just skyscrapers. London would be fine, but I'd rather see GTA: Europe with multiple locations to travel to (capitals). I don't care about the load times or whatevs as long as GTA5 has more variety than the US can offer. Also, GTA: Japan would be bitching.
  • thesuperspacejew - June 1, 2010 1:21 p.m.

    Hey, I would pay top dollar for a next-gen game set in San Andreas.
  • palermo900 - June 1, 2010 1:22 p.m.

    GTA london would be crap. GTA in future would be crap. Rockstar know what they're doing, I trust them.
  • Hexar - June 1, 2010 1:36 p.m.

    I'm with Mercurtio on most of his points, especially a GR UK employee hoping for it be set in their country. I'd rather keep it in the states but I have little desire to play as an illegal immigrant. One of the cities he mentioned was Las Vegas, and let me say that the little that they used it in GTA:SA was plenty. Outside of the tourist trap in the middle, there is little that sets Vegas apart from other cities. He does raise a good point about the assets being developed. There are quite a few possibilities they could do with the setting and I don't think that America is dead yet. However if we must leave the US of A, I'd rather it be set somewhere in Asia. Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok. Shit I'd rather play GTA Jerusalem than London.
  • Felixthecat - June 1, 2010 1:45 p.m.

    As much as I love this country, GTA should be set in America for as long as the series last's, simply because I like killing Americans, and not my fellow Brit's.
  • tomthespesh - June 1, 2010 1:58 p.m.

    GTA Glasgow that's a rough enough city full of drunks or GTA liverpool they could both be quite funny.
  • bluscorp - June 1, 2010 2:03 p.m.

    I do hope that if they do make a GTA England, its not set in London, There are other cities and accents apart from cockney.
  • gazdog9 - June 1, 2010 2:26 p.m.

    Yeah, GTA set in London would be alright I suppose but really , how many times are you gonna say "Oh, wow Big Ben" or "Ha , I know that street" . Honestly , I'd be happy with a sequel to San Andreas. The ambitious scope of it was crying out for a next gen platform to do it justice. I'm sure they could come up with a good story but I'd just be happy messing around flying a Maverick jet all over a San Andreas landscape rendered in HD
  • TrojanGold - June 1, 2010 2:33 p.m.

    That seems reasonable, but for the instalment after that, a midwest setting, Chicago/Detroit/St. Louis with snow a lot of the time, think, Chicago, 3rd biggest US city, and Detroit and STL got the #1 and #2 highest crime rates in the US, it's perfect
  • MitsuharuSan - June 1, 2010 2:33 p.m.

    I don't want to point things I'm not sure of, but... I wouldn't be surprised if the guys 'jumping the wagon' because a guy from UK wants a GTA in UK were american. "Color me unsurprised". I'm all for a GTA in a different setting, even if I would LOVE a game in VC again.

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