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Feature: Where will Grand Theft Auto V be set?
by Chris Hawke

Ever since gamers got their grubby hands on the previous Liberty City, and started shooting through the streets in a stolen police car, we've wondered where the next installment should be set. This teaser sparked off the whole guessing game - what could the rip be? It looks like north-western France, but the Seagull Theater is in London, and the picture behind it bears resemblance to a Vice City poster...

We may not find out until E3, but Gamer's Guide to Life can still bring you one step closer to figuring out, with our helpful guide of what qualities a city must have in order to be featured in GTA V.

1. It has to be English-speaking
This is probably the most obvious. While we'd all love causing crime down the back-alleys of some exotic getaway, it just wouldn't work. Sitting through entire cut-scenes only reading the subtitles is a massive waste of Rockstar's storytelling abilities, and makes it harder to relate to the characters. Most importantly, however, are the open-world implications. No talk radio. No cleverly exploitative movie posters. No screaming passers-by, no recognizably named streets, and certainly no comic quips from the protagonist. It might sound fun and exciting, but the reality is that a non-English speaking city would get annoying and confusing. Fast.

2. It has to be bright
Pretty much every sandbox game in this generation has a day-night cycle. And at night, the city lives or dies by the street lights. Liberty City shone with skyscraper spotlights and headlamps, and there's nothing fun about wondering dully-lit streets. GTA V needs to be basked in neon, with a vibrant night-life to match.

3. It needs to be capitalist
Not that we've got anything against the Commies (damn commies...), but we can't have a Grand Theft Auto with an ideological gap. Rockstar excels at poking fun in the culture of money-grabbing and power-grasping we live in - the switch to light jabs at a different culture would lead to jokes getting lost in translation for the majority of the audience.

4. It needs to be well-known
Even non-Americans could find humor in the 'GetaLife' building, or slightly creepy Statue Of Happiness, despite never having seen them in real life. That's because pretty much everyone knows of those landmarks, and that make them so much easier to alter for comic effect. There's no point in making deft alterations to a building that no-one knows existed in the first place.

5. It has to be urban
Sure, areas like San Andreas had its fair share of countryside, and the rolling hills may work well for Rico Rodriguez, but then again - he has a hook for an arm. He's basically Spiderman, if Spiderman were also Shakira's husband. For the Average Joe of GTA, hills and countrysides mean getting horribly stuck on scenery, slopes you can't climb and missing out on the beautiful city. GTA V may have a sliver of yonder hills where it's set, but the majority of the game will be a concrete jungle.

6. It needs to be rich
There's a reason we spent most our GTA IV playing time around north Algonquin. That was where all the fun was, with supercars in every driveway, pools round the back, and helicopters on the roof. Every city has a mix of the lower and higher classes, but where's the fun in running people over in a beat-up boxcar when you can just as easily steal a spaceship-on-wheels?

Most Likely

London has actually been featured twice, as expansion packs for GTA 1 - Grand Theft Auto: London '69, and '61. And they were awesome. Open-top red buses, lines of schoolkids, and a retro-gangster charm. Think of current London, sparkling with chrome and silver - it's modern, rich, bright, English, and capitalist. It has various trans-Atlantic exports, like the cockney accent or James Bond (you guys know about James Bond, right?). And then there's just the fact it would totally rock for all British people to mess around so close to home. There's 60 years of vibrant and alternating culture hidden between the old streets, and plenty to poke fun of with the London Eye, Tower Of London - and you'd hate to think of what they'd come up with when looking at the Gherkin or Big Ben. There's the added bonus that Rockstar North is Scottish, so it's only a quick trip south before a hands-on study of England's capital. Now that The Getaway 3 is lost in the wild, it's the perfect time to strike. You know it makes sense - let's hope they do.

Los Angeles
Another American city perfect for the GTA makeover - it's got the seedy celebrity culture, a criminal underworld, lots of swearing and stunning scenery. You can even include a section of the hills for variety, and the Hollywood sign is an easy target for vandalism. L.A. has all the hallmarks of previous GTA settings, with the added bonus of being the film-making capital. Rockstar have already worked on the City Of Angels with Midnight Club: L.A., so they just need to flip back through their notes.

Least Likely

It might sound fun at first, but the main pitfall would be that you would not understand a thing - it's bad enough trying to muddle your way through Asian export games, but the fact the alphabets are so different would make even the best fake movie posters unrecognizable, and make storytelling much more difficult. It's glitzy alright, but that won't count for much when you can't even read the street names.

The language is impossible. There aren't many easily recognizable landmarks. So no radio and subtitles all the way through. Still, the snow would be fun.

We can only pray that we're right about GTA V, and we're causing havoc in Ye Olde London soon. Until then, be sure the follow our Twitter and comment below!


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- Chris Hawke

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