I’m just as excited as the rest of the world for the release of Grand Theft Auto V in September, and I’ll certainly be picking it up . From the closing moments of the first trailer, I was intrigued by a return to Los Santos and the sprawling countryside, and it looks like a beautiful place to commit ugly deeds in. Whilst I have no doubt that Rockstar have crafted a typically brilliant piece of entertainment, I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s repetition for its own sake – ‘better the devil you know’. However, familiarity breeds contempt.
With that in mind, I thought I’d give some thought as to where we might go afterwards. It’s a big country, and there are plenty of options. In no particular order, here are some that might be contenders in the future.
6. Seattle, Washington
Home of the Space Needle and grunge music alongside famed aircraft and tech industries, Seattle would be a unique locale for the franchise to visit, owing to reasons from its geography (an isthmus bounded by Puget Sound and Lake Washington, so still able to fulfil the trite ‘surrounded by water’ geography we’re accustomed to) to its cultural and artistic landscape to its ethnic makeup.
A major port and gateway to eastern Asia, the city is home to a large number of Chinese and Vietnamese residents, a small number of whom retain their mother tongues. The city’s location and history presents a welcome opportunity for a protagonist from one of these communities, provided Rockstar maintain their attention to detail and razor-sharp wit.
Though stereotyped as the ‘rain city’, the summers are reportedly quite nice when the omnipresent clouds disperse, and if a future narrative is set during winter there might even be some light snow to suitably alter the look and feel of the place. Some expected criminal deviance along the lines of car chases or shootouts might be drastically different on a dramatic level if there was some atmospheric (pun not intended) precipitation mixed into the proceedings.
The real city is no stranger to unrest and criminal activity, some of the most famous incidents including the Wah Mee massacre of 1983, the World Trade Organisation debacle of 1999 (justifiably called the ‘Battle of Seattle’) and the Mardi Gras riots of 2001. As of 2011, statistics indicate that the violent crime rate stood at just over 592 people per 100,000, robbery at 229 and – appropriately – vehicle theft at 550, among others. It’s a modern metropolis with its own dark side that well-off gamers would be willing to experience vicariously in the safety of their homes.
With radio stations blaring everything from grunge to indie rock to metal to classical, precariously skidding through rain and sleet in this eclectic concrete jungle may well give off a vibe that would make for a very feel-good entry to the series, and one I’d be happy to pay for.
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This article was first posted on March 22, 2013