The GTA 6 trailer is great — but for this hardcore series fan, returning to Vice City feels like a mistake

GTA 6 - first trailer
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Try not to drop your monocle over this shocker, but it turns out the first GTA 6 trailer is kind of a big deal. Developer Rockstar Games just bagged a cool new two million YouTube subscribers within the opening 24 hours of the debut teaser going live (thanks, GameRant). Not a bad day at the office, huh?  

Yet as a colossal fan of the series, I'm not exactly thrilled at the prospect of returning to Vice City.

It's not that I'm suffering from franchise fatigue or anything of the sort. Grand Theft Auto is my favorite video game series of all time. I've been thirsting for the next entry in the iconic franchise oh so bad for over a decade at this point. 

I’ve adored every entry since the series went 3D with 2001’s GTA 3 — a title I’d class as among the most important in the history of the medium, seeing as it essentially laid down the open-world template for every subsequent competing franchise to copy. 

Not that Grand Theft Auto actually has any true competition, of course. GTA 5 has sold almost 200 million copies. Saints Row, for example, has become a shambles of a series. For my money, the only open-world games that are even close to the quality of Franklin, Michael and Trevor’s Los Santos caper are Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I’ll freely admit Grand Theft Auto 5 is my second favorite game ever made, which is why this next sentence is gonna be painful to type. I’m not exactly thrilled that GTA 6 is returning to Vice City. 

Last seen is 2002’s amazing Grand Theft Auto: (you guessed it) Vice City, this is Rockstar’s fictional take on Miami"

Last seen in 2002’s amazing Grand Theft Auto: (you guessed it) Vice City, this is Rockstar’s fictional take on Miami. It was the glorious sun-bathed tonic my soul needed after capping so many dudes on the dreary streets of Liberty City a year prior.

I can still vividly remember my first trip down Ocean Drive, the wind sending ripples through Tommy Vercetti's — rest easy, Ray Liotta — Hawaiian shirt as A Flocks of Seagulls “I Ran (So Far Away)” blared over Wave 103.

No game has ever captured the spirit of the 1980s quite like GTA: Vice City.

And that’s why I’ve got a bit of a problem returning to Rockstar’s fictional version of The 305. What made the original Vice City so special was the fact it was set in the ‘80s. The soundtrack, the clothes and all those nods to Scarface were absolutely crucial to the game’s success.

Geographically, Vice City is probably the least interesting 3D city the developer has produced, but it was easy to overlook slightly boring street layouts because the vibe of the game was so special.

Miami nice?

I’ve visited Miami exactly once in real-life, and even then I only got to see its airport and a nearby hotel after my plane back to London had to turn around when it started to leak fuel. Hoo-boy was that fun for someone with crippling aviophobia. And look, I’ve got no doubt the updated Vice City is going to be a far more expansive, vastly more detailed recreation of Miami than what was possible to render back in 2002 when GTA 6 releases on PS5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m not going to enjoy cruising around its streets as much as Liberty City, Las Venturas, San Fierro or Los Santos. That’s partly because I’ve been lucky enough to have spent vacations in New York CIty, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Currently, I’m not all that excited to explore the everglades surrounding the new city"

Currently, I’m not all that excited to explore the everglades surrounding the new city, either. My reason for this is pretty specific (and probably a bit harsh), but I’m worried it’ll feel a bit samey after spending so many hours in swamps of Lemoyne with Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption 2.

That said, the notion of airboat chases sounds like a hoot. And I’m all about that Bonnie and Clyde style tale (revolving around protagonist Lucia and her currently unnamed partner in crime/boyfriend) it looks like Rockstar is attempting to tell.

To close this out, lemme circle back to one crucial point: I think GTA 6 will almost certainly be a 5/5 classic. I’ve 100%-ed GTA 5 on PS3, PS5 and on my desktop rig (where my Steam library on one of the best gaming PCs tells me I’ve clocked up 383.2 hours causing chaos across Blaine Country).

Right now, though, I’m just a little concerned that this trip back to Vice City will miss the ‘80s magic that made Vercetti’s sandbox such a blast to go Tony Montana on.

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal. 

  • GetDirty
    To the author, since you’ve play on console and pc, can you tell me if you prefer playing on controller or m/k?
    Also I think Florida is a treasure trove to material for Rockstar to play with. In the states Florida is known as the place where weird and stupid * happens all the time. It’s got a lot going on politically as well recently transitioning from a swing state to full on red state. There’s a lot of potential for GTA satire and public commentary. Trust in Rockstar my friend.