GTA V: LA? Hollywood voice talent? What Rockstar should do next...

And why it isn't what you think...

Grand Theft Auto V will be set in Hollywood; use recession-hit LA as a backdrop to critique capitalism, celebrity, social networking, corruption, family and society; be voiced by Charlie Sheen and Megan Fox; launch in late 2012 and, obviously, change games and their relationship with the world forever.

Well, possibly. But it should do all that - read on and we'll explain how the evidence has lead us here.

Fact: Rockstar are working on GTA V. It's been in full-scale development for over three years, since GTA IV launched in April 2008. The smart bet is on a late 2012/early 2013 release in line with publisher 2K's financial year, which ends April 2013. If rumours can be believed - as tipped by news sites over a year ago, with supporting info leaking in the last few months - it's set in Hollywood, LA.


Of course, none of that should come as a shock - but if we've followed the clues correctly, GTA V won't just spring the odd surprise, it'll change the way we view games forever... their relationship with movies, celebrities and the entertainment universe.

You've already got a pretty good picture of what GTA V will be, but now we'll argue the case for what it should be - and why the two might not be mutually incompatible.

A Hollywood/LA setting has been so widely tipped that the rumour doesn't have any real rivals. The series has visited California before in San Andreas, with Los Santos and Vinewood as its versions of Los Angeles and Hollywood. History might suggest a return to these fictional areas - as we returned to Liberty City for GTA IV, not New York - but there's reason to think that, this time, it'll be a real-world LA and Hollywood.

Two casting calls in March 2011 for an 'interactive project' codenamed 'Rush' - from Rockstar's usual casting agency, Telsey + Company - correlate perfectly. These were to find characters including Mexican FBI agents, a Beverly Hills party boy, a Californian divorcee, struggling actors, agents and neurotic soccer moms. Or in other words: pure GTA.

Consider also that Rockstar just mapped the whole of LA for L.A. Noire, and while they can't use the 1930s visuals wholesale, much of the core schematics would translate to the modern day. And games are hideously expensive to build. Are these two facts related?

Rockstar, for all their rebelliousness, are a business like no other - and why would they spend more money when a solution already exists?

But would it be all of LA? Building a world with the scale of San Andreas, with the requisite level of detail, is a gargantuan task. So a focused slice of Los Angeles with thoughtful geographic diversity - the Hollywood Hills, the woods of Northern California, even the New Mexico border - makes sense. It would bring the density of city life up against rolling country terrain without the busywork - in terms of building it, and travelling it - of creating the state of San Andreas.


GTA's themes have historically followed broad patterns, but Rockstar's increasing willingness to experiment doesn't rule out a surprise. Broadly, Grand Theft Auto games are 'rags to riches' tales, steeped in corruption, friendship and betrayal with the hero - usually an outsider - spraying red into the greyer areas of the law.

GTA IV, however, was a deeper study of 20th century melting-pot New York, of how cultural fluidity is changing America while the American Dream - or the hollowness of it - stays the same.

GTA IV also touched broader themes of revenge, redemption and consequence. Do you kill Dwayne or Playboy X? Execute Darko Drevic or let him live? Brand him a war criminal or accept he's just another scumbag trying to survive... like you?

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