Like most people who don't have friends, a job or aren't Jack Thompson or one of his parental lackies I've been playing the long-awaited Grand Theft Auto IV for the last week or so. I haven't quite made up my mind about it yet though. The driving, vehicle handling, shooting, cover system, audio and visuals are all utterly superb, to say nothing of the impeccably detailed and atmospheric recreation of New York City. I think my main problem with it is that the gameplay and the city clash. From the player's end it feels just like one of the previous GTA games, but on the graphics end it looks (and indeed is) a totally different game based in a city whose detail was unimaginable in San Andreas' day. For me at least, this creates a somewhat awkward feeling whilst playing the game and has probably restrained me from enjoying the game for what it is.
It still remains one of the best games I've ever played, however, but I can't shake the feeling that this isn't really a GTA game which I suppose no longer matters.
Anyway, onto my main point.
My theory for the new trilogy of Grand Theft Auto games is as follows: New York, London and Tokyo. Anything backing up my theory? Well... not really. Only one small nugget on Massive B Radio, that station where the DJ rolls his Rs constantly like some kind of coked-up asylum escapee. At some point during the program he gives a 'shot out' to his crew in Liberty (New York), London and Tokyo. If you think about it, it makes sense, but I'm not professing to know for sure. Let's have a recap of events so far.
Grand Theft Auto I: Liberty City, Vice City, San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto I: London 1969
Grand Theft Auto II: Anywhere City
Grand Theft Auto III: Libery City
Grand Theft Auto III: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto III: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City
Grand Theft Auto IV: ???
Grand Theft Auto IV: ???
The GTA III trilogy is based upon the original Grand Theft Auto game, which had Libery, Vice and San Andreas as the three main cities in the game. There was an expansion pack released for this named GTA London 1969. The second Grand Theft Auto game was based in a city simply referred to as 'anywhere city', which pretty much rules it out as a possible setting. Setting the IV trilogy in New York, London and Tokyo would firmly establish it in the 'real world', something which is echoed in IV's increased level of realism, both in graphics and gameplay. Like I said, it sort of makes sense to set the IV trilogy (that is assuming it is a trilogy and not a tetralogy, which seems unlikely) in the undisputed capitals of the world.
That said, I really can't see GTA leaving the US and I think a GTA in London would be incredibly awkward, let alone Tokyo.
Basically, I am becoming sick of America as a setting for everyone's favourite hooker shooting simulator. The same old radio stations, vehicles, pedestrians and satirical comment on American society are beginning to wear thin, and a change of country may be just what GTA needs to keep it fresh.
Think about it, Houser.
Anyway, just throwing in my two cents. The next GTA trilogy has been on my mind ever since IV showed itself as I couldn't really imagine anything other than the three previous cities.
And I'm out, enjoy GTA IV everyone!