In devouring details revealed in recent Grand Theft Auto V screenshots and comparing them to what we saw in the all-too-brief trailer from many months ago, we decided it was time to start assembling and speculating on what we know about the game. Or, more accurately, what we think we know. It’s not much, but by crafting thoughts and ideas now, we’re creating exponentially more to talk about than what Rockstar has actually spilled onto the internet. And it seems that the classic Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will be our greatest ally in this quest.
We went back and looked at the trailers for GTA: San Andreas and used that as a parallel for where we are now. One of the first things that jumped out at us is the fact that Los Santos in 1992 (GTA San Andreas’ era) and today are going to look more or less the same. It’s one of the easiest ways for developers to get over on production time. Using the same basic city (Saints Row 1 to Saints Row 2 is the best example) means you’re not starting from absolute scratch. However, things don’t stay that static, so if Los Santos is supposed to be a take on Los Angeles, there are a few changes LA has seen over the last 20 years that are sure to make it into GTA V.
Sports & Facilities - Staples Center, LA Live, the Lakers, the Kings and even the Clippers are the darlings of contemporary Los Angeles. In 1992 two of those things didn’t exist and the remainders were relatively sorry compared to now. Los Santos will have to have an analog of the LA Live/Staples Center entertainment district in GTA V. It’s a hub of activity in the city and, while it doesn’t have the history of Times Square, it is just as important of a landmark nowadays.
Vinewood/Hollywood - The Academy Awards, Jimmy Kimmel Live and plenty of other shows and special events have remade the heart of Hollywood into another major hub of activity. In 1992, Hollywood was making movies but there just wasn’t a lot of glamour around to show for it. Can you remember what Vinewood looked like in GTA San Andreas? Exactly. It wasn’t significant for several reasons including the tendency of CJ and his crew to stick close to home. In GTA V there’s going to have to be a Hollywood analog that we get to blow up, race through and assault and it should be to spectacular effects. Some HD, colorful freaks walking down the streets will be a good start.
One of the revolutionary aspects of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas was scale. You played across three cities loosely based on Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas with lots of space, a few adventures and secrets scattered in between. If GTAV opts for a concentration on just Los Santos (which we would prefer) then that means more detail, more focus on that particular area that took up the bulk of our playtime in GTA San Andreas. However, the hills of San Fierro and bright lights of Las Ventanas offered some splendid gameplay elements. Surely there’s a way to both include and evolve the gameplay mechanics spread throughout GTA San Andreas into GTA V.
Hollywood Hills - If Vinewood is supposed to be anything like Hollywood, the hairpin turns and dangerous curves of the real life canyon roads in Southern California will translate very well to a video game. There were some Vinewood roads in GTA: San Andreas but they were totally underutilized. I’d guess it was because of technology limitations because San Andreas was barely chugging along as it was. A matrix of ridiculously hair roads, alley ways and paths where speed is your friend an enemy would make Los Santos just as treacherous a driving town as San Fierro. There could even be a Lohan-Bynes inspired mission where your character is always drunk when you run races in this neighborhood.
Vegas Shootouts - The missions in Las Ventanas in GTA: San Andreas were a mixed bag for several reasons. They came at a point in the game where fatigue was an issue and the look of the town was substandard compared to the rest of the game. In a re-imagined, modern Los Santos you can use sections of town that mimic LA’s warehouse districts and studios. In these spaces, you can have all kinds of intricate objects and designs for shootouts, chases or other minigame mechanics. In Los Angeles, there’s the Hollywood Park Casino and Race Track if you want the bright lights and gambling aspect but that’s only one rundown crappy place that won’t give you the full impact of a fully lit Vegas.
You know, the more I think about it, the more I think I’d like GTA V to be a straight up update of GTA: San Andreas with all three cities and stuff in between. Hell, throw in a version of Fresno and we could even have fun with that. Thanks to “Breaking Bad” meth is a pop culture touch point now. Hit us up on Facebook and let's get some ideas rolling. How much do you think GTA V is going to bite from GTA: San Andreas? Does it matter?