The GTA franchise is perhaps one of the strongest brands in gaming and has something invaluable in the gaming industry: cultural relevance. While numbers such as sales and copies sold can guarantee financial, a game series must be masterful in its execution to have cultural relevance.
The Grand Theft Auto games have been able to do just that time and time again, with games like GTA Vice City and San Andreas. Each title in the franchise has a devoted cult following, and that kind of reputation is extremely rare.
Naturally, the next offering already has a lot of hype and expectations around it, despite its existence not being confirmed by Rockstar Games yet.
We take a look at some things in Vice City that Rockstar could look to for inspiration to craft a better experience in the next title.
Five elements from GTA Vice City can serve as inspiration for the next game
1) Going back to the 80s/Older setting
Games set in modern times in an attempt to create an immersive experience that is up-to-date with modern times run a considerable risk of becoming outdated. To explain that further, things that are considered modern will eventually be rendered obsolete and outdated.
Hence, games like GTA 5 run the risk of becoming outdated as time progresses, and therefore, exist as a capsule of a time gone by. However, a game set in the past never runs that risk, as it is dated by design.
The majority of the GTA franchise audience has never lived through the 80s, so exploring that period is always a joy. The next Grand Theft Auto title is already drumming up rumors of being set in the 80s, much like Vice City.
Going back to the 80s would also mean capitalizing on the insanely retro wave culture that is exceptionally prevalent in 2020.
2) A well-curated soundtrack
A soundtrack might not be one of the biggest things players tend to focus on when looking forward to a new game. However, if GTA Vice City proved anything, it is that a great soundtrack goes a long way in making a game culturally relevant.
Vice City possibly had one of the best collections of 80s music that never failed to impress the fans. The next GTA title could benefit a lot from a great soundtrack with instantly memorable songs.
In tandem with the previous point, a soundtrack that comprises of songs that fans have grown up with or have known for years is an instant winner.
3) Interesting celebrity cast
The GTA franchise, recently (since Grand Theft Auto 4), has been moving away from a star-cast that comprises big names from Hollywood. Instead, they choose to cast talented actors who are lesser-known in mainstream media.
However, that is not to say the latter's performances are in any way inferior, as they are, more often than not, mostly better. But at the same time, players can't help but chuckle when Luiz Guzman cusses them out in GTA Vice City.
Vice City had an insanely huge cast of big Hollywood names such as Ray Liotta, Gary Busey, Danny Trejo, and Dennis Hopper, to name a few. While the next game must include only the most talented actors and not just Hollywood big-names, an odd celebrity cameo here and there is always appreciated.
After all, there are plenty of actors who would jump at the prospect of working in a GTA title.
4) Going back to Vice City
This was probably the number 1 thing on almost everyone's list when rumblings of GTA 6 made their way to the internet. Vice City is, no doubt, an iconic city in the history of video games and one that deserves a return.
The franchise hasn't returned to the city since the PSP's Vice City Stories, and fans have been clamoring for a return. The Miami-inspired playground is simply rich with personality and room for exciting content.
The glitz and glamour of the 80s make Vice City feel like a place frozen in time, in the right way. The city is undeniably charming, yet there is something violently dark underneath all the neon.
In the games, Vice City is regarded as the perfect destination for drug cartels to do business due to its proximity to their home bases. Vice City is indeed long due the HD/4K treatment, as many of the other cities in the GTA franchise have gotten.
5) A strong protagonist
The GTA franchise's protagonists have largely been great, except the silent Claude from Grand Theft Auto 3. However, one man stands out amongst the rest as the clear favorite of the community: Tommy Vercetti.
Indeed, being voiced by the talented Ray Liotta helped make Tommy a memorable character, but several other factors did as well. He was a man on a mission, looking to take over the entire town and not satisfied with merely getting by.
Violent, but as calculated and vindictive as any GTA protagonist, Tommy is the ultimate protagonist in the franchise. The next game could do well to include a fierce yet intelligent character like Tommy as the protagonist.