The first official trailer for the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto VI has been released, tantalising car fans with some glimpses of easily recognised copycat automotive exotica.
The 90-second clip shows off the sheer detail and graphical quality of the latest instalment in the legendary canon of games from publisher Rockstar, with the setting in and around Vice City — the fictional in-game metropolis based on Miami, which first appeared in 2002.
And while the extensive, varied gameplay elements of the series are what makes GTA VI so hotly anticipated, there’s plenty there for car enthusiasts, too.
Spot the Testarossa-alike
Watching the trailer above, which suggests that for the first time ever in the series a female protagonist will feature as one of the main playable characters, there’s plenty for the keen-eyed motoring fan to spot.
Alongside the usual classic Americana, including various nods to real life Buicks, Dodges, Fords and Chevrolets — including a clear shot of what looks like a third-gen Nova power-sliding round a corner at the one-minute-ten mark — a street scene shows plenty of European content.
This includes a clear view of what looks a lot like a 992 Porsche 911, as well as what is obviously a thinly disguised Ferrari Testarossa. There’s also a later image of a G-series-esque 911, for fans of the classics.
Indeed, the modernity of the cars and the considerably changed skyline of Vice City shows that this instalment is set much later than the 1980s time zone of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, itself now more than 20 years old.
If you’re really watching carefully in the trailer, you’ll also pick out a version of the mid-engined C8 Chevrolet Corvette in the background, as well as what looks suspiciously like a Lamborghini Aventador and also an unspecified Mercedes.
Nonsense names evade licensing laws
Of course, in finest GTA traditions, the cars look different to the real-world models, because Rockstar Games doesn’t have an official licence to use the vehicles’ genuine names and likenesses.
Whether it wants licences at this point is debatable, given the success the series has enjoyed without them — GTA Vi is touted to be the biggest-selling game of all time, adding billions to the value of the developer. It’s also likely car makers aren’t keen to be associated with a game that so clearly involves criminal activity, ultra-violence, illicit substances and unpleasant characters.
Identifying what the in-game vehicles are based on, though, is part of the fun, as Rockstar simply amends the cars’ visuals and gives them a similar name, which gamers often love to work out.
For instance, Ferrari is known as Grotti in the game, while fellow Italian manufacturer Lamborghini is redubbed Pegassi. Mercedes is known as Benefactor, in the main.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, as Rockstar mischievously likes to mix-and-match real-world cars into one vehicle — some look like a cross between a McLaren and a Lotus, for example — while also bunching the work of several manufacturers under one in-game banner.
This is most obvious in Överflöd, which is a combination of models from all of Koenigsegg, Glickenhaus, SSC and Apollo.
Potential upgrade to the physics engine
Various suspension movements and subtle quirks of the cars shown in the brief trailer suggest the software has been given an overhaul to improve the way AI vehicles behave in the world, as well as the driving dynamics for players, which should make GTA VI the best instalment in the series yet for motoring fanatics.
And there’s a hope some of the classic cars from previous GTA games might make a reappearance. Film and TV buffs will be keeping their fingers crossed that all of the Grotti Vigilante, as well as Imponte’s Ruiner 2000 and Deluxo vehicles will be ported into GTA VI.
These are, respectively, Rockstar’s names for the Batmobile, KITT from Knight Rider and the time-travelling DeLorean DMC made famous in the Back To The Future trilogy.
Rockstar Games has confirmed that GTA VI will launch in 2025, initially on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X consoles. It is rumoured it will also be launched for PCs, although that could happen up to a year later than the console versions.
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