20 Years On, This Is What GTA 6 Should Definitely Steal From Vice City


Helicopters. Speedboats. Palm trees. Tommy Vercetti’s Hawaiian shirt. More Scarface references than you can wave an M16 at. Released twenty years ago (!) in 2002, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City arguably remains the crime franchises’s best outing. Remember your mansion? With your own helipad? Taking out cop cars with a gatling gun? That damn bank robbery mission? Ah, how many misspent youthful weekends fell prey to an ‘80s-influenced crime wave of your own devising?

Well, good and bad news for GTA fans. On 18 September, a massive trove of material about the upcoming sixth instalment in the series leaked online. Rockstar Games (publisher of GTA and the Red Dead Redemption series) had officially announced the next game in the series back in February of this year, saying that development was “well underway,” and that they “look forward to sharing more as soon as we are ready.”

Photo by Rockstar.
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Old Haunts

Rockstar Games ain’t saying nuffin’ about where the next outing will be set. But, as mentioned above, leaks strongly suggest Vice City will play a role. Which is refreshing for all kinds of reasons. After the New York / L.A. proxies of almost every game since, a return to the pastel shades, sun-bleached alleys and crummy motels of Vice City will be a welcome shake-up. And, if fictional Florida is going to be our home base, Rockstar are almost certain to expand the map to include Everglades-like swamp land similar to what we’ve seen in GTA: 5. Which means alligators, hovercrafts and shotgun-toting moonshiners.

Rumours have persisted for a while now that GTA: 6 might actually dip into multiple locations, and even multiple countries with one rumour suggesting parts of the game will take part in South America. The original Vice City, spread over three islands, offered a range of locations, but wasn’t overly big, allowing a feeling of intimately knowing every street and emergency escape route. So, by all means let’s go to South America, but also, let’s celebrate Vice City and dig into that locale properly, too. For many gamers, just being able to spend time there again will be exciting enough.

Photo by Rockstar.

Colourful Characters

From unhinged NPCs to psychotic mob bosses, jealous partners and movie rip-offs, GTA: Vice City perhaps more than any other instalment went big on its supporting cast. Sure, you were still only able to play as one main character, but the world felt lived in, and genuinely inhabited by the people you met. We’d like more of this, please.


Refreshingly, numerous rumours and the latest leaks around GTA: 6 point to a playable female character – a franchise first. According to leaker Tom Henderson, the game’s female character will be the "bright one” with skills in tech and hacking. Another report suggests this character will be Latina – a big win for equality and one that in the diverse locale of Vice City seems long overdue.

That ‘80s Flavour

The 1980s was one of the most… interesting decades in recent memory. Arnie and Sly Stallone built new models of muscular masculinity. Margaret Thatcher cut off kid’s milk, sold off industries and gave bankers a boost. As per the original GTA: Vice City (set in 1986) cocaine was everywhere. There’s still a lot of scope to riff on the ‘80s. The problem is that GTA games are often based on movies, be that Scarface here, or Goodfellas in GTA: Liberty City. And when it comes to classic mob movies – especially ones set in Miami – there isn’t really anything left to be inspired by.


There might be a way around this. Early rumours suggested the new game would reach back into the 1970s, with the game set across multiple decades. Throw in South America as a rumoured location, and you have some great material there in the form of real life Cold War proxy wars, shady CIA activities, and the War on Drugs. For the first time, a GTA game could find its most shocking inspirations in real life.

That said, footage from the recent leaks – as well as previous rumours – has suggested that GTA: 6 is now going for a more modern setting. Apparently, we’ll still be visiting Vice City, but 40 years after Tommy Vercetti first began his reign of terror. If that is true – and assuming the plot doesn’t involve time travel – can we please ask for flashbacks, so we can dig those big collars and flares out one more time?


FromEsquire UK

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