Grand Theft Auto 6 – The Midlands Edition
The Grand Theft Auto series has received widespread acclaim for its innovative approach toward gaming in recent years. Once a largely tongue-in-cheek isometric series, Rockstar’s most famous franchise has now become a genuine tour-de-force of enthralling storytelling and plausible character development.
Grand Theft Auto IV’s release saw the franchise take a decidedly more realistic turn, with less emphasis on cartoony antics and a greater focus on the harsh realities of modern-day America. This switch drew praise across the gaming world and cemented Rockstar’s place as king of the open-world videogame.
Last November saw the release of the first teaser trailer for the next instalment in the franchise: Grand Theft Auto V. Set in San Andreas, GTA:V looks set to continue the trend of realistic storytelling, exploring the seedy underworld of criminal America. But once San Andreas has been explored once again, where then do Rockstar take the series? Where will Grand Theft Auto: VI take place?
It isn’t unrealistic to assume that the sixth addition in the GTA series could well be set outside of America and with that in mind, I have an idea. It came to me in an uncharacteristic flash of brilliance not five minutes before sitting down and opening my word processor to write this very article. From my mind to yours comes what I believe has to be the next addition in the Grand Theft Auto series:
GRAND THEFT AUTO: MIDLANDS
For those readers from across the pond, the Midlands comprises of a group of cities and towns in the centre of England. Known less for its glamour and more for its industry and business, I genuinely believe that the English Midlands is the perfect place to set the next Grand Theft Auto game. The story arc almost writes itself. You play Ross Murphy, a 24-year-old man from Birmingham who has grown up surrounded by football hooliganism and petty crime. Having been arrested for a minor Stella-fuelled scuffle outside a local Walkabout, Ross befriends drug lord “Big Steve” in the holding cells and, once the two have been released on technicalities, begins working in the world of illegal drugs and organised crime.
Ross’s ability to get results sees his reputation grow and before long, our hero is working for rival gangs in Coventry and Dudley. As demand for his services grows, Ross enlists the help of childhood friends Charlie and Basil to assist him as he attempts to take control of central England. Eventually, having created his own gang called “The Badmanz”, Ross goes head-to-head with Big Steve’s own posse for control of the Midlands.
As your reputation and notoriety increases, the police will naturally look for any excuse to arrest you. Going above 40mph on any road will see the blue lights flashing whilst not filing your legitimate business tax returns on time will see you fined £100. Getting caught on camera engaging in a fight with a rival football hooligan firm will see you lose reputation points, but winning the fight, evading the cops and arriving at the local pub in time for a Stella with the lads will see your “hard man” rating rise dramatically.
Naturally you cannot expect a lovable character like Ross to rise to the top without seeing the inevitable falls. As his friends suffer glass attacks and muggings on the mean streets of Mansfield, Ross begins to question the life he has delved so successfully into. With a string of increasingly-curious girlfriends on the go and the police closing in, Ross attempts one last peace offering with “Big Steve”. The deal soon goes awry however and Ross falls to his death from the top of Spaghetti Junction, surrounded by a sea of Burberry as his body is carried off into the Birmingham sunset.
Of course, as with all Rockstar games, you can still play the game once the main story has been completed; only you’ll be controlling a previously irrelevant character named Jack.
It wouldn’t be GTA without a plethora of side-quests, and in GTA:Midlands the potential activities are limitless. From going for a Stella at the Nags’ Head with Charlie and Basil to nicking Munchies and Red Bull from the nearest NISA Local, the Midlands world is your oyster! Who hasn’t wanted to threaten dogwalkers in the park, play a round of crazy golf or go shopping in SportsDirect for new threads? In Grand Theft Auto: Midlands the life of a gangster has never felt so realistic. You can not only watch TV, but appear on patronising daytime talk shows to pass or fail lie detector tests!
We can safely assume that, following Grand Theft Auto: V, the next instalment in the series will be released toward the end of the decade. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to suggest that all of central England will be rendered to the minutest detail, from the driving nirvana that is the M1 motorway to the retail utopia of Westfield Derby. Cars will not only be fully-licenced but realistically designed, so when your Peugeot 206 breaks down on the side of the A38 (which it always will) you can hijack a more reliable BMW X5 to get you home.
Customisation has been a staple of the GTA series ever since Tommy Vercetti first donned those eye-catching golf threads in Vice City and GTA: Midlands would be no different. Will you be wearing Nike joggers or flowery shorts today? Do you want to wear an England shirt or a tracksuit top? Everything about Ross is customisable, from the colour of his hair to the length of his toenails. Ross Murphy truly is YOUR character.
Grand Theft Auto: Midlands would be more than just a game. It would open the eyes of the world to the problems that afflict young men like Ross Murphy on the mean streets of Chesterfield and Derby. We all have a Ross Murphy in us, a misunderstood misanthropic young businessman who gets by the only way he knows how; through a life of crime.
So Rockstar, the ball is in your court. I’m more than happy to write the script for this videogame tour de force. I can be reached via email or Twitter (the link to which is attached at the bottom of this page) and I can begin work on Grand Theft Auto: Midlands immediately.
Of course, I’m always open to suggestions readers of Thunderbolt, so be sure to let me know what features you would love to see in Grand Theft Auto: Midlands. It’s a sure-fire BAFTA winner!