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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 gameis 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 ofdifferent 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