New Grand Theft Auto to Cruise Some Familiar Streets: Is it worth it?

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April 30, 2012 by Phe.

In his review article of the upcoming Grand Theft Auto, Seth Schiesel, reveals that it also will be set in a “digital version ofLos Angeles(‘Los Santos’)”. He admits to being a bit disappointed that the makers of Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar, declined to take on a “fresh, ambitious setting likeLondonorHong Kongin favor of a city they’ve already done before”. However, is this really a bad move to make for Rockstar?

The culture of video gamers is constantly looking for the new and the fresh, but the return to Los Angelesmight be an advantageous move for the Grand Theft Auto line. Schiesel himself admits that “[Grand Theft Auto]: Chicago or [Grand Theft Auto]: Houstonjust doesn’t have the same ring to it” so a move that is too out of the box might actually land Rockstar in a hole even deeper than just returning to the classic. This could possibly be like the Coca-cola company retuning to classic coke after acquiescing to consumer’s demands for something new, something fresh—and failing miserably. Sometimes, when it works, it works. Schiesel also says that “Rockstar’s founders and top executives are British, and I was hoping they would turn their brilliantly gimlet eye on their own hometown,London,” but therein is a flaw of its own. Being that Rockstar is British run, there might be reluctance to depict their own country in such a violent, criminal light.

Schiesel also says that he would like to see a female protagonist in a Grand Theft Auto game, but I believe that this would also be detrimental to the Video game’s brand. Grand Theft Auto is known for its gritty and violent nature; making a female into the perpetrator of such crimes might not sit well with the general populace and thus receive a negative backlash from the media. It might draw more female players, but repel the male players who make up the majority of the consumer pool for such violent video games. As an active feminist, I am all for gender equality, but a female-only Grand Theft Auto would not sell as well as one with character choice or a male-only lead.

Another major flaw in Schiesel’s reasoning that Grand Theft Auto will be a flop is the fact that he assumes that Rockstar will not vary the landscape of the game. It’s a simple matter of time progression. Firstly, the graphics of 2004 have been vastly improved upon in 2012; it is very likely that the game will look nothing like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Secondly, there is nothing stopping Rockstar from changing (or even expanding) the map around, the map of Los Santos very never an exact replica ofLos Angelesstreets, anyway. Thirdly, even if Rockstar is going for the nostalgia effect, Grand Theft Auto Five will obviously have new tasks, newer cars, and definitely new weapons. Lastly, Rockstar has experienced great success usingLos Angelesas their setting for their video games (like L.A. Noire), as Schiesel himself admits. It is possible that they have a cult following and that sales will happen regardless of the location Grand Theft Auto Five is set.

Also, I think that the next version of Grand Theft Auto will sale simply because of the time that has lapsed in the production of any Grand Theft Auto video games. It is quite possible that its fan base will be in such a state of excitement that the location of the game won’t even matter. It is also inevitable that there will be those consumers who will buy the game if only to find and post all the cheat codes first. The video game world is one of fierce competition and if Rockstar harnesses this truth and maybe make the new edition of Grand Theft Auto a game with multiple player and online capabilities, the sales of the video game would definitely increase. One must also remember that the Grand Theft Auto game does not even have a release date and that the only thing available to the masses right now is a trailer with the message that “further info and details about the game will only come in due time when we are ready to talk and show more.” It is quite possible that the game will have a massive upheaval when it is finally released.

Resources:

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/03/new-grand-theft-auto-to-cruise-some-familiar-streets/?ref=sethschiesel

http://www.rockstargames.com/newswire/article/19461/grand-theft-auto-v-trailer.html

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