20 Years Ago, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Provided the Blueprint for Open-World Aesthetics
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20 Years Ago, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Provided the Blueprint for Open-World Aesthetics

20 Years Ago, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Provided the Blueprint for Open-World Aesthetics

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a game that has special significance for many due to its impact on the open-world genre. Developer Rockstar’s series was catapulted into the limelight following the enormous success of Grand Theft Auto 3, which in many ways fundamentally altered the video game industry. This came with the heavy burden of expectation. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City had a lot of shoes to fill, so to say that it did so would be an understatement.

20 Years Ago, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Provided the Blueprint for Open-World Aesthetics

20 Years Ago, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Provided the Blueprint for Open-World Aesthetics

Vice City, which came out barely a year after its ground-breaking predecessor, received just as much critical acclaim, with particular attention paid to its plot, location, and music. Vice City, on the other hand, opted for a 1980s image, complete with neon-lit nightclubs, speedboats, and power ballads, as opposed to GTA 3’s use of Liberty City, a contemporary setting. Unquestionably, the visual selection can make or break an open-world game, and Vice City clearly made the right one.

20 Years Ago, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Provided the Blueprint for Open-World Aesthetics

Vice City tried to capitalize on all the elements that had made GTA 3 such a revelation while addressing any of its flaws. GTA 3’s usage of the understated protagonist, Claude, was perhaps one of its weaker points. Although his silence gave players the freedom to interpret his actions and emotions as they saw fit, it made it harder for players to empathize to Claude, and considering the bizarre personalities of the series’ subsequent protagonists, it put him at a clear disadvantage in terms of popularity. The late Ray Liotta, whose filmography included the mafia epic Goodfellas, chose to voice Tommy Vercetti as Vice City’s immensely famous protagonist.

20 Years Ago, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Provided the Blueprint for Open-World Aesthetics

Vercetti, an ex-mobster with a violent and volatile personality, gets freed from jail after spending 15 years for murder. The protagonist inevitably returns to a life of crime as he tries to take control of the rich, expansive Vice City. The game is heavily influenced by gangster films. For example, Vercetti’s home and parts of the game’s missions are straight out of the 1980 classic Scarface, and Vercetti’s lawyer is virtually a perfect duplicate of David Kleinfeld, the slimy lawyer from Brian DePalma’s epic Carlito’s Way. Players are drawn further into Vice City and give the free environment of the game more life thanks to the allusions and recognizable individuals and circumstances.

 

Vice City’s gameplay was quite similar to GTA 3’s. This was somewhat expected given that there was just a year between their releases, and at the time, fans didn’t appear to complain at all. The third-person viewpoint, gunplay, and objective design of Vice City are quite similar to those of its predecessor. However, the addition of motorbikes for the player to ride and the option to own homes and companies that eventually provide the user a residual income made the world more vibrant.

20 Years Ago, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Provided the Blueprint for Open-World Aesthetics

The open environment of Vice City, according to critics, featured far more depth and complexity than GTA 3 did, and this richness enticed players to explore Vice City’s neon-lit streets.

 

 

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20 Years Ago, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Provided the Blueprint for Open-World Aesthetics
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