Why Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Needs To Return For GTA 6
While Rockstar Games continues to sit pretty on the success of Grand Theft Auto 5, gaming fans know there's still plenty of fuel in the tank when it comes to the long-running GTA franchise.
Despite GTA 5 coming out all the way back in 2013, there's a lot to be said for the fact the game went on to become the highest-grossing entertainment product of all time (earning well over $6 billion). Couple this with an ongoing fanbase thanks to Grand Theft Auto Online, and it makes sense that Rockstar wants to squeeze every penny out of its golden goose. That being said, this hasn't stopped players demanding to know more about what's coming in the inevitable Grand Theft Auto 6.
Even though developers are yet to officially give GTA 6 the nod, the rumour mill has gone into overdrive every time a reported job ad or piece of concept art has made its way online. Some are obsessed with the idea of the series returning to London; however, an altogether more popular theory is a road trip to the fan-favourite Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
As arguably the most beloved locale in the series' history, a return to Vice City would be a surefire way to cash in on its fanbase. If you can already picture the neon-splashed backdrop of this Miami-inspired paradise and hear that pumping electro soundtrack, here's why Grand Theft Auto 6 should go back to Vice City.
What is Grand Theft Auto: Vice City?
Back in 2002, Rockstar didn't know it was onto a winner with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Driving the action to the awesome 80s, the story revolved around Tommy Vercetti after he was released from prison.
When Tommy is ambushed during a botched drug deal, he sets out for some sweet revenge while also trying to grow his criminal empire. With Vice City being a departure from the norm of GTA games, it became an overnight success and rounded off by selling over 17.5 million copies. Sweeping the awards boards, Vice City is not only held as one of the best games of the sixth generation, but also one of the greatest video games of all time.
Only recently, a potential GTA 6 map appeared online and stoked the fires that a Vice City sequel is on the way. Elsewhere, a Reddit post that pointed to a GTA Vice City (cool idea for a name, isn't it?) map was debunked as some clever photoshopping. Still, it hasn't completely discounted a resurrection of the sub-franchise from existence. Let's remember Take-Two Interactive has also registered domain names for "gtavicecityonline" and "gtavi.com". It could work that the blockbusting GTA Online gets its own sequel in the form of Vice City Online.
Returning to the idea of Vice City makes financial sense, but with such a legacy following the original, is Rockstar setting itself up for a fall? It's important to remember 2006's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories managed to continue the success of its predecessor as a prequel game AND debuted to largely positive reviews. The question remains on whether there's still enough of this Miami knock-off to explore. In short, the answer is yes!
What is the Project Americas theory?
A quick search of GTA 6 will send you down a rabbit hole of rumours and theories that are little more than fan fiction. One of the biggest "leaks" came from something known as the "Project Americas Theory". The (now-deleted) post was first shared on Reddit by u/JackOLantern1982, with their sources apparently being "two friends" who are close to the industry and someone else who is a mole inside the Rockstar ranks.
The fact it was deleted makes some people think it's the real deal, while others think this confirms it's fake. Either way, the idea of a game following in the footsteps of Netflix's Narcos is an interesting one. In the thread, the story reportedly takes place in Vice City and "a new fictional location based on Rio de Janeiro". The protagonist is an up-and-coming drug lord known as Ricardo, who is originally tasked with doing low-level drug runs before he climbs the slippery crime ladder.
As well as taking its cues from Narcos, there are also comparisons to Scarface: The World Is Yours, which seems like a nod to Tommy Vercetti being largely based on Tony Montana. Elsewhere, there's a mention of a revamped weather system using hurricanes and floods, as well as a Red Dead Redemption 2-inspired Chapter system that is also a hat-tip to Quentin Tarantino's beloved Pulp Fiction.
What's most interesting is the timeframe. Instead of taking the story to a modern setting, the Project Americas Theory refers to a possible two-decade span of "somewhere" in the 70s or 80s. For many, the idea of a Vice City sequel would be more appealing. Considering the first game was such an icon in its own right, wouldn't you like to visit in a new era and check out what's changed? Thanks to a note on Kent Paul's website, there are hints Tommy was still in action as late as 2002, so finding out what happened to him next in some capacity is a must. Added to this, seeing what Vice City looks like on next-gen consoles with the grunt of the PS5 and Xbox Series X behind it is a tempting offer.
Why we shouldn't go back to Vice City
Then again, there's an argument against a full-blown Vice City return. Since the first Grand Theft Auto arrived on the scene in 1997, we've largely split our time between Liberty City, Vice City, and Los Santos. What could work here is a melding of two worlds and another prevalent part of the Project Americas theory. Here, Vice City could be the starting point for the first mission/couple of missions, before heading off to the Rio-inspired city.
Let's also not discount the idea of heading further afield and back to blighty. We've previously visited London in 1999's Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 and got a glimpse of the swinging 60s. Back in 2013, Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser teased another sightseeing tour of London when he told The Guardian, "I think for us, my gut feeling is, GTA London was cool for the time, but games were more limited then. These days I think we would love to set a game in the UK, set in London, whatever, but I don't know if it would be a GTA game".
So far, the GTA series has played it safe by sticking to the fictional counterparts of well-known cities that are big in the USA. It's a formula that has worked, but with other long-running action-adventure franchises like God of War, Resident Evil, and Assassin's Creed continuing to reinvent themselves, it could be time for GTA to do the same. London isn't the be-all and end-all, and with Europe offering other destinations like Paris, Madrid, and Rome, there's quite literally a whole world to explore. A return to Vice City would be like returning to a comfortable pair of slippers, but in the next war of next-gen, is comfortable really enough?
Earlier this year, there were suggestions March 25 was going to be a key date to mark in our gaming diaries with the potential reveal of GTA 6. Ultimately, that date came and went. Some cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind the lack of news, but most likely, Rockstar had never planned to unveil its plans this early.
Whatever Rockstar is (or isn't) working on, don't expect to find out much soon. The developer is notoriously cagey with its projects, meaning we're out there in the abyss looking for even the tiniest breadcrumb of what's on the horizon. While more from the wild world of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is cropping up time and time again, it's imperative we don't get our hopes up just yet. Players are quite literally jumping the gun with this. Still, here's hoping we get to indulge our "vices" if Grand Theft Auto 6 brings back the mean streets of Vice City.
Images via Take-Two Interactive | Unsplash Andrew Stutesman