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Take-Two registers several GTA trademarks

Could be San Andreas. Could be Sin City. Could be Bogota or Tokyo!

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The Grand Theft Auto series could be on its way to San Andreas, Sin City, Bogota or even Tokyo according to a raft of pre-Christmas filings Take-Two made with the US Patent and Trademark Office. After a year of speculation, the registration on December 17th of "GTA: San Andreas", "GTA: Sin City", "GTA: Bogota" and "GTA: Tokyo" by Take-Two has intensified speculation as to where the series will venture next. Take-Two also registered "GTA 5" and "GTA 6" and the above titles with "Grand Theft Auto" prefixes instead of "GTA".

Earlier in the week, an Amazon.co.uk pre-order page for "Grand Theft Auto IV: Sin City" won headlines only to be rebranded "Grand Theft Auto - Next Episode" with an estimated release date of December 31st.

As longstanding fans of the series know, the San Andreas city (something of an amalgam of Los Angeles and San Francisco) is one of a key troika that drove the original top-down Grand Theft Auto back on the PC, along with Liberty City and Vice City, both of which have already formed the basis for a 3D Grand Theft Auto title.

Meanwhile, the Sin City moniker began life as an April Fool's joke in 2003. It's certainly odd that Take-Two has opted to register it as a trademark, and likewise Bogota and Tokyo are unusual in that previous GTA instalments have used faked cities based on real ones, rather than real cities outright. While Liberty City was felt to be New York and Vice City was Miami, they were relatively reserved in following the layout.

Internally, meanwhile, it is believed that the GTA 5 moniker has been adopted for the next GTA, whatever it ends up being called, after Take-Two referred to the game as "Grand Theft Auto 5" in a recent conference call. This would certainly tie in with the existing structure - with Vice City technically the fourth game in the series (as long as you discount the original game's GTA: London, 1969 expansion pack), while GTA 6 is rumoured to be the next next-generation game after the San Andreas/Sin City/Bogota/Tokyo product - presumably the series' reawakening on more powerful hardware like the PlayStation 3.

Ultimately, whether Take-Two/Rockstar will respond to all this GTA hoohah is difficult to say, but with the game due out this year it is a dead cert nonetheless to head up somebody's pre-show conference at E3.