Dissecting the New GTA V Trailer
When Grand Theft Auto V was announced, the news triggered rampant speculation. Would the game sell 25 million copies, as some people claimed? Where would it be set? How would it continue to improve on a franchise with such a long and distinguished history? Without knowing anything about the game, we published a list: “5 Things We Want from GTA V.” Now that there’s a trailer out, we can compare our expectations with reality.
Update: Possible Release Date?
At one point in the trailer, you see a man pounding a “For Sale” sign into the grass in front of a house. Painted on the curb is the address “2405.” As detailed by GameFront’s Ross Lincoln in his post on the possible GTA V release date, Rockstar could indeed be hinting at something, due to their preference for European-style dates (dd/mm/yy).
More than anything, GTA fans were curious about the setting. Today, the trailer revealed in no uncertain terms that the game would be set in and around Los Santos, the GTA universe’s fictional version of L.A. Loosely disguised locations like the “Vinewood” sign (above) and the Venice Beach stand-in pictured below made that clear. Who knows what dangers lie in store in “Little Seoul,” a clear analogue for Koreatown. Actually, come to think of it, the dangers almost certainly involve a heavily-armed Korean gang.
But though the game will center on the city of angels (or saints, if you prefer), it looks like players will get a chance to visit other locations in San Andreas, Rockstar’s pseudo-California. Majestic peaks and wind farms both make notable appearances in the trailer, providing a rural counter-point to the urban squalor that typifies Grand Theft Auto Games. The hills that surround the windmills suggest Northern California, and the oil well pictured below is a clear indication of Long Beach’s inclusion.
UPDATE: Rockstar’s official press release makes it clear: the game will be set in and around Los Santos:
Developed by series creator Rockstar North, Grand Theft Auto V heads to the city of Los Santos and surrounding hills, countryside and beaches in the largest and most ambitious game Rockstar has yet created.
A bold new direction in open-world freedom, storytelling, mission-based gameplay and online multiplayer, Grand Theft Auto V focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar in a re-imagined, present day Southern California.
The trailer’s mysterious voice-over is sure to have the internet chattering feverishly until the moment more information is released. GTA V’s presumed protagonist sounds like an older man, financially secure enough to buy a “big house” in Los Santos, and eager to avoid what sounds distinctly like a criminal past. Speculation abounds — is Ray Liotta back, portraying an older version of Tommy Vercetti? The trailer’s narrator wants to be a “good guy,” a “family man,” but if the shot below is any indication, our graying hero isn’t able to stay on the straight and narrow for long. At some point in the game, it looks like he’ll be robbing a bank while wearing an exterminator outfit.
There’s also the possibility of multiple playable characters; Kotaku ran with that rumor when the trailer was announced. Now that it’s taking the web by storm, the rumor isn’t any easier to confirm or deny. The clip certainly focuses on a number of different characters — like the cool, argyle-wearing cat below, for example — but at this point, it’s probably too early to tell.
UPDATE: Two character-related theories have appeared on the internet — one on Reddit, the other on PC gamer. The first implies that GTA V will mark the return of our favorite characters from previous games, as pictured below.
The PC Gamer theory contends that the game will have multiple protagonists: the three red-suited armed robbers that show up halfway through the trailer. The trio is comprised of characters who appear elsewhere in the trailer: the older white guy and the tattooed guy running from the cops, to start with. My pick for the third robber is the dapper African-American gentleman with the jet-ski and the cool sweater. It’s hard to tell whether the guy in the red convertible pictured below is the same one who is running from the cops.
Is it possible that the game will have a canine character? It certainly wouldn’t the first.
Riding around in style is a crucial component of any GTA game, and Rockstar clearly hasn’t stinted. The GTA V trailer has shots of sleek convertibles, a motorcycle, the “Speedophile” jetski, a crop-dusting plane, and even a fighter jet, recalling the VTOL plane favored by C.J., hero of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the series’ last excursion to the West coast.
UPDATE: Thanks to our intrepid readers, we can point out the blimp that appears at the beginning and end of the trailer.
Thanks to commenter Robbb13, who is apparently something of a gearhead, we can point out that the black car below is modeled after an Audi R8
Then there’s this ride, “somewhere between an Aston Martin Vantage and an Alfa-Romeo 8C,” according to Rob.
Which crashes into a car styled after a “Bentley Continental GT.”
You can also see GTA IV’s familiar “Huntley” Range Rover analogue in the picture below.
Then there’s the possibility of pilotable jet skis and fighter jets.
Squalor and Sarcasm
Rockstar’s distinctive, darkly comedic social commentary is definitely back. In addition to goofy puns and plays on words intended to pillory American capitalism, the trailer also has shots that evoke the economic zeitgeist. Migrant laborers cough out lungfuls of pesticide. Homeless gather under the freeway, in an eerily accurate replica of the real-life tent city under L.A.’s 9th street overpass. Prostitutes, now more or less a given in Grand Theft Auto, turn tricks in front of a decrepit liquor store.
Did you spot something we missed? Let us know in the commments.