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GTA V: cops and corruption in modern-day LA

by Steven Williamson on 26 October 2011, 16:16

Tags: Rockstar Games (NASDAQ:TTWO), Rockstar

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We put our GTA conjecture hat on

With the official confirmation that Grand Theft Auto V is on the way, and news that the launch trailer will go live on November 2nd, it’s time to start daydreaming about what Rockstar has in store for us for the next iteration of its highly-anticipated open-world action-adventure series.

As it stands, we know absolutely nothing officially about GTA V. We don’t know in which decade it will be set, the location, or the characters that will dominate the storyline. All we can do right now is speculate on the details, and speculate we most certainly will.

Over the past couple of days, we've been dissecting the rumours across the web and looking for those titbits of information that seem the most credible and realistic. Though we're wildly speculating at this point, the following rumours could well turn out to be true.

The Setting

Apart from the expansions to the original game, which took us to the streets of London, the Grand Theft Auto series has always been modelled on American cities. This will almost certainly be the case with GTA V. Previous GTA games have been set in the following locations:

Liberty City – New York City
Vice City – Miami
San Andreas – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas
GTA IV (Liberty City) - New Jersey

Modern-day LA for GTA V?


It seems likely that Rockstar will stick to its area of expertise and in-line with previous GTA games will choose another busy city environment for the adventure. The most potent rumour is GTA V will head back to Los Angeles, but it will be a much more realistic version than what we saw in San Andreas, modelled more closely to a modern-day version of California's most-populated city.

Having worked closely with Team Bondi for the epic detective adventure LA Noire, which was also set in Los Angeles, Rockstar has a wealth of experience in creating this kind of busy city environment. Of course, San Andreas was also modelled on Los Angeles, we might add, so the New York- based developer already has the foundations to build upon. With lessons learned from LA Noire on how to push consoles to their limit in terms of graphical power, the potential is there to create an incredible-looking, ultra-realistic city brimming with life.

The Era

In more recent GTA installments Rockstar has focused on the present day, which is a tactic that the mass market is more likely to identify with. We believe that GTA V will be set around the present day, too, perhaps relating to the economic downturn in Los Angeles - one that has seen huge job losses over the past few years, including large-scale cuts to the police force.  This, we believe, allows the narrative to sway toward corruption, greed and violence as people struggle to make ends meet.

Here's a look at the fictional eras of Rockstar's long list of GTA games:

Original GTA era
1997 – Grand Theft Auto
1961 – London, 1961
1969 – London, 1969

GTA 2 era
2013 – Grand Theft Auto 2

GTA III era
1984 – Vice City Stories
1986 – Vice City
1992 – San Andreas
1998 – Liberty City Stories
2000 – Advance
2001 – Grand Theft Auto III

GTA IV era
2008 – Grand Theft Auto IV (The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony)
2009 – Chinatown Wars

GTA IV era
2010 - Grand Theft Auto V?