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Has GTA IV influenced you to commit crimes?

Nope, it's just a game.
Only petty crimes.
Stealing has become a hobby.
Yes, can't say more, cops are coming.
I am the living incarnation of Niko.

New York? London? Europe? Chicago..?

The locations of the games in the GTA3 trilogy were very relevant to creating the atmosphere of the games. GTA3's gritty New York-esque Liberty City with its gray buildings and concrete highways reinforced the notion of playing a character with a mysterious background. Vice City's Florida vibe, along with the 80s soundtrack, provided a much livelier setting. And of course each of San Andreas' cities had their own landmarks and highlights. Such an importance of setting for the games in the GTA series has led fans to question the setting of the story in GTA4. GTA1, the first game in the series, consisted of 3 cities: Liberty City, San Andreas and Vice City. All three of these cities have been used as the setting for the GTA3 trilogy. This leads one to wonder, where can Rockstar go next? After GTA1 came GTA: London 1969, a mission pack, and London 1961, a second (albeit free) mission pack. Rockstar has prided itself on creating the cities of the GTA3 trilogy with subtle english humor about the nuances of american culture. Yet this leads one to question, can Rockstar North continue their style of storyline script and game design while focusing on an English city. [Note that Rockstar North is based in Scotland, in the United Kingdom]

Various tidbits of news, such as Rockstar's registration of domain names with 'gta' followed by locations such as 'bogota' have led many to make wild assumptions about the setting of future GTAs. While a domain registration may mean nothing, it does provide food for thought. In anticipation of a long debate over the setting of GTA4, we placed a poll on our forums, asking 'Where do you think the next GTA will take place?' At the time of writing we have 800 votes, with the UK (London and UK combined) taking 35% of the votes, and Europe taking another 11%. This shows that most GTA fans expect the next GTA to take place in Europe instead of America. Whichever will turn out to be true, here are our speculations on a possible GTA4 setting.

Grand Theft Auto IV - New York City

The aim of the original Grand Theft Auto was to depict life in America as seen by the British (hence all the whacky stereotypes) and so it makes sense for all the games in the series to be set in America. And what better place to do it than New York - one of the world's capitals, and arguably the biggest symbol of America.

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
Times Square
Times Square
Central Park
Central Park
Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge

Even though New York City was already the setting for Grand Theft Auto 3, fans have complained that the Liberty City of GTA 3 did not bear much resemblance to New York. The game was split into three districts, faintly reminiscent of New York: Portland (the industrial), Staunton (the commercial) and Shoreside (the upper-class residential). The city itself failed to come alive, however, and Rockstar's accomplishment of recreating Miami in GTA Vice City is considered a much greater feat. People have begun to speculate that Rockstar could very well revisit Liberty City as the setting for GTA 4, since the scope of possibilities they have now are much greater than what they had in 2001, when the original Liberty City was designed.

If GTA4 is to be (partially) set in Liberty City, we can expect the city to be divided into boroughs (as New York City is divided into Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, and each borough given its own characteristic look. Depending on whether GTA 4 will make further use of a gang system, each gang would be set in its own neighbourhood. Connecting the boroughs would be the great tunnels and bridges that connect New York.

Grand Theft Auto IV - London

» Click here for full discussion & detailed arguements of a London inspired setting.

The case for London being the location for the next GTA game is a strong one. London was the successor to Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas in the GTA1 storyline. Since those 3 cities have appeared as locations in the 3D chapter of the GTA franchise, London is the odd one out. London obviously also contains a lot of inspiration for a potential game designer. Surely just as Liberty City was inspired by the Goodfellas movie, Vice City by Scarface, San Andreas by Menace II Society and Boyz N The Hood (among many others), London can draw inspiration from such popular English movies as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Drawing parallels to the GTA3 franchise, there are also various groups of organized crime. It is just a matter of imagination, how the dirty arm-twisting tactics of bookies, the different slang occuring in London, or the jewelry store diamonds-and-gold managing jews can play a role in a storyline of GTA4.

Financial District
Financial District
Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
Shard London Bridge
Shard London Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

In addition, London's architecture could provide quite the sights in a video game equipped with the latest graphics rendering engine. The Houses of Parliament, London eye, Big Ben, Shard London Bridge (which is due to be completed in 2010 and will become Western Europe's tallest building) and various other attractions can add to the already unique feeling of driving on the left side of the road, encountering red phone boots on streetcorners and seeing the police (or the Bobbies as they are so affectionately called) dressed with awkward helmets and clumsy uniforms. All in the name of the queen, per say.

Grand Theft Auto IV - Europe

As the San Andreas chapter of the GTA3 trilogy already showed us, Rockstar is not afraid of including more than one city in their games. A possible scenario for GTA: Europe would be 3-4 cities, perhaps London, Paris, Rome and Berlin, with long drives between the cities and various villages with differing people and cultural habits in each. Although this option could be considered wishful thinking, as Rockstar has indicated several times that they are interested in making an online Grand Theft Auto game, in which case such a vast landscape would not be ideal for a multiplayer format.

Grand Theft Auto IV - The Future

A futuristic setting, a la GTA2, which is perhaps not inspired by any city at all? And instead of having different cities like in San Andreas (Los Santos, San Fierro & Las Venturas) the area could be divided into different levels or "districts" such as downtown, residential and industrial. Of course, the greatest benefit of having a setting which isn't inspired by any real location, is that there is no limit to what the developers can put into the city - for example they can add as many skyscrapers/bridges/parks/mountains etc. as they wish and make it as interesting as they want.

Grand Theft Auto IV - Chicago

The Windy City. If Rockstar chooses to keep the Grand Theft Auto franchise centered on a troublesome & stereotypical American capital, then there is no better candidate than Chicago. It's a tourist and economic powerhouse that brings in millions of travellers each year. It's the third largest city in the United States, and enjoys a very rich and diverse cultural makeup as a result. It's a melting pot of ethnicities, home to over two million residents from around the globe. The streets of Chicago are intricate and mathematical - laid down in a grid formation, turning the city into a giant labyrinth of pavement and concrete. Gigantic structures both new and old pierce the sky, including the world-famous Sears Tower.

Chicago Navy Pier
Chicago Navy Pier
Sears Tower
Sears Tower
Al Capone
Al Capone
Buckingham Fountain
Buckingham Fountain

What makes Chicago outstanding as a GTA candidate, however, is the seedy underbelly of this Midwest metropolis. Crime is rife in Chicago, and has been for centuries. The most infamous mobster in American history, Al Capone, moved to Chicago from New York in the 1920's. He controlled a significant portion of the criminal underworld during the prohibition era of the early 20th century, his rivalries with local mobsters and crime bosses often ending in bloodshed and murder. If there is a single reason for Chicago to become the home of GTAIV, Al Capone would be it.

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