The Best GTA Game Rockstar Will Never Make

Forget Vice City - the 'long 1960s' is the PERFECT setting for the next Grand Theft Auto.

Grand Theft Auto Golden Age
Take-Two Interactive

It's only a matter of time until Rockstar lift the lid on their next project, and so far, all signs point towards it being another entry in the ludicrously successful Grand Theft Auto franchise.

The prevailing rumour so far is that the game - developed under the working title 'Project Americas' - will be set across multiple eras and pull heavy inspiration from shows like Narcos and Scarface, giving players the opportunity to take control of a drug runner as they perform missions between Latin America and the United States, rising through the ranks as they go.

And it all sounds very exciting. If those rumours are to be believed, it looks as though Rockstar are taking everything they learned working on both GTA V and their epic old west tale, Red Dead Redemption 2. There's meant to be a heavy focus on realism and immersion, as well as a number of cities to explore in what will supposedly be Rockstar's most ambitious open world to date.

By all accounts, if those rumours are true, then it's everything the series' fans are after - right on down to the purported setting of eighties America, which was famously utilised in the fan-favourite GTA: Vice City. Even so, there is one setting that I feel Rockstar would benefit from immensely if they were to ever utilise it in one of their own titles, and one that would benefit GTA in particular - that of the 'long' 1960s, or more specifically, the golden age of America's post-war boom.

The Godfather Part 2
Paramount Pictures

In the years following World War II, the United States embarked on a rapid and radical transformation. The economy was booming, living standards increased, but intense disquiet bubbled beneath the surface, with social inequality and the Cold War coming to define the era in a great many ways. TL;DR, it was far from the serene, nostalgic slice of Americana folks liable to call the cops on their neighbour's barbecue love to harken back to.

Of course, the 'long' 1960s - defined by historian Phillip Jenkins in 'Decade of Nightmares' as beginning midway through the 1950s before crashing to a halt in 1972 - is a period that's almost synonymous with the crime genre. Francis Ford Coppola's first two Godfather films employed the setting to great effect at the beginning of the seventies - as have certain works by director Martin Scorsese - while Donald Westlake's Parker novels went to great lengths to apply a noir filter to the pastel pinks and yellows of the era. (More on both of those later.)

In essence, the contrast between the outfacing image of the US pre-1962 - one of prosperity and tranquility - and the darker, historical reality of the time, has provided ample fodder for creatives for decades.

It's a setting ripe for exploration, and one tailor-made for Rockstar's flagship franchise. Here's why.

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Content Producer/Presenter
Content Producer/Presenter

Resident movie guy at WhatCulture who used to be Comics Editor. Thinks John Carpenter is the best. Likes Hellboy a lot. Can usually be found talking about Dad Movies on his Twitter at @EwanRuinsThings.