Grand Theft Auto is now in its third version on the PC and PS2. Aside from the controversy that it has generated over the unusual level of violence, it has always had an extraordinarily developed narrative structure.

The game is set in a number of fictional cities – the player is encouraged to explore the gameworld as much as she pleases. Narratives and sub-narratives are discovered the city is explored, leading to new explorations, money, notoriety, and ultimately new cities.

This highly developed simulation of a real world, in which story elements are randomly distributed, is very compelling. As a player there is never the feeling of being trapped by a linear storyline, or by unnatural game constraints. The narrative elements are thus more credible and intense.

When the gameworld presents itself as an open, explorable environment, free of constraints, it is possible to start feeling that the world is yours, instead of an authors.

© Timo Arnall 11th February 2002 | email me