Anonymous posts the private information of over 4,000 United States bank officials on a government website, and Grand Theft Auto V has players robbing banks for fun, instead of shooting cops and exposing politicians. Rockstar has tapped into something powerful and pure with their game’s theme, and it will pay off in more ways than one.
What good is a rebel without a cause? In San Andreas the bad guys are a pair of dirty cops who steal your money and drop you off in rival gang territory, which perfectly sets up the anti-authority theme of the game and helps justify their heinous crime sprees players will be committing. In Red Dead Redemption federal agents are both the oppressors and the enablers, putting a rope around your neck and a revolver in your hand. Grand Theft Auto IV, on the other hand, has you walking off a boat and climbing into a car with your annoying cousin. There is no bad guy. Sure the authorities are kind of jerks, and yes the mafia is still the mafia, but there’s no good reason for you to be killing. Niko just seems psychotic and unrelatable, sadly.
I suspect Grand Theft Auto V will return to the oppression formula, but this time it will be foreclosures and liens, not badges and blackmail, that will justify our sense of being a victim of a cruel and broken system. Robbing banks will be our catharsis and our revenge — not plowing down the SWAT team with a bus and a bag full of hand grenades. Everyone hates bankers by now, and although public pressure still seems aimed at the failed democratic system and lack of regulations, if Rockstar plays its cards right our three unlikely heroes will have the power to cut through the red tape and strike at the real villains of our day. What a nice change of pace from the pro-authority propaganda of your Calls of Duty and your Battlefields, who are all too happy to focus on foreign affairs and nuclear nonsense for their action fodder.
Also, here’s a song I want in the game: