First details of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Rockstar fills us in with the first snippets of information about the next Grand Theft Auto - marking a return to more modern times, with a Menace II Society feel...

Rockstar's biggest game of the year isn't due to be shown off to the world's press until next month, but that hasn't stopped the company from releasing a few tantalising details about its next Scots-developed criminal tour de force during the E3 show this week - along with a few screenshots.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is set in the early nineties in the fictional city of Los Santos in the state of San Andreas - so Los Angeles, in other words - and draws heavily on the Menace II Society school of West Coast gangsta movies.

The player takes on the role of Carl Johnson, a young black man who escaped from life in Los Santos five years previously, but has now been forced to return to the city (described charmingly as a city "tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption" - sounds like Los Angeles alright!) following the murder of his mother.

Carl arrives back in Los Santos to find his family falling apart and his childhood friends "heading towards disaster," but no sooner does he arrive in San Andreas state than he's framed for murder by some corrupt cops, and must embark on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas.

Don't worry, though - this is less a Boyz N The Hood coming of age story and more a New Jack City all-action affair, because young Carl's answer to his familial and legal problems seems to be, er, to "take control of the streets." So essentially, if framed for murder, the best way out is to become the biggest local crime boss. Makes perfect sense to us.

The setting suggests loads of really bad early nineties music, gangsta rap on the radio and more amusing cultural references than you can shake a heavily bling-encrusted stick at, while the game looks likely to have lost little of the grit and controversy of its predecessors. Plus, the setting gives Rockstar a whole new group of ethnic minorities to get in trouble with once the US media gets a bright idea on a slow news day, so it's all good.

Expect to hear more about GTA: San Andreas next month; the game is due for launch on the PS2 next Christmas, and as with its predecessors, it's a PS2 exclusive for a limited period.

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Rob Fahey

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.


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