Ten years on from the release of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, it remains the favourite of more than a few series fans. For some, it was the neon-drenched setting of a mock Miami in the 80’s, while others were more drawn in by the characters and narrative so heavily inspired by the likes of Miami Vice and Scarface. To celebrate the anniversary of its decade on the market, Rockstar have recently rereleased the venerated game for tablets. And speaking in an interview with Digital Trends, Rockstar North Lead Producer Leslie Benzies, has expressed that the team is interested in revisiting the city, though concedes that there are difficulties in the idea:
“There are a few references to the city in our current-gen GTAs so it is part of that HD universe, and it is certainly somewhere we would love to revisit. However Vice City, perhaps more than any other GTA game, was as much about the era as the setting. Miami in the 1980’s is so iconic it would feel strange to revisit the city in a different time period.“
However, he offered an alternative that would almost certainly make long-term fans very happy:
“Of course at some point we would like to have one big world containing all our cities and let the player fly between them and revisit their favorite areas, and in that context reimagining Vice City would be very interesting.“
There’s no reason that such an approach wouldn’t work, especially if it adopted the multiple protagonist idea that GTA V will be implementing next year. The interview also mentioned how Rockstar settled on the setting of Vice City coming off the back of their simulacrum of New York in GTA III and the way that the team goes about selecting a location:
“We didn’t want to just pick a new city and change the color scheme, we wanted to go somewhere that had both similarities and differences to New York [Liberty City], and that’s what brought us to Miami. New York is busy and bustling, a real merchant city, whereas Miami is a party town, all sun and sea and sex, but with that same dark edge underneath. Also just like New York, it has been used as a setting for some classic film and television, so it was really the perfect fit.”
“We do not sit down for design meetings and say, “let’s make the most appallingly violent game possible.” We choose to set our games in places where violence is or was a part of everyday life, the Old West or the criminal underworld or cocaine-flooded Miami. If we censored ourselves and sanitized the violence we would not be able to properly explore these settings and themes, and make the games we make. That is a compromise we have never been willing to make.“
Creative integrity should always be paramount for a game developer, and this interview proves that Rockstar is one development company that has it in spades. You can read it in full via the link above, but before doing that, what say you to revisiting Vice City? Personally, I don’t feel as though it would quite as engaging were it to be moved to the modern day, and I’d much rather see the team tackle new cities and new narrative ideas.