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Discussion: which Asian cities would be perfect for Grand Theft Auto?

Discussion: which Asian cities would be perfect for Grand Theft Auto?

| December 19, 2013


Grand Theft Auto V was a fantastic game, but the series is starting to feel a little stale just bouncing back and forth between satirical versions of New York (GTA 3, GTA 4) and California (GTA San Andreas, GTA V). In fact, aside from an early trip to London, the GTA series has never really ventured outside the US.

But that’s too bad, because Asia is full of awesome places that would make a sweet setting for a Grand Theft Auto game. Here are our picks for the city we hope makes an appearance in the inevitable GTA 6. What’s Asian city would you like to drive around like a (klepto)maniac?

Mary-Anne Lee: I haven’t lived anywhere other than Singapore but I think Bangkok would be really cool. The streets are amazingly cramped and full of life, and definitely house more than a few colorful characters. Also I’d like to see players car jack someone’s vehicle _and_ outrun the police in the infamous Bangkok gridlock. Plus…who wouldn’t want to steal a tuk-tuk? I know I would.

Charlie Custer: Beijing. My adopted home for several years would make an amazing setting for a GTA game. First of all, the city has tons of visual variety: the ancient architecture of the forbidden city, to the towering glass skyscrapers of the CBD, the run-down migrant slums on the outskirts, the Soviet-era grandeur of government offices, and the abstract modernism of the eye-catching Olympic stadiums. But Grand Theft Auto has always been as much about the over-the-top characters as it has the lovingly-parodied settings, and Beijing is full of GTA-style stereotypes just waiting to immortalized in a game. The corrupt businessman, the greedy government official, the crazy expat, the internet-addicted high-schooler, the confused tourist, the shady con man, the tatted-up gangster — you can find all these guys on a single street in Beijing on a busy day. The city has more character — and more characters — than anywhere else I’ve been in Asia, and I’d love to spend the next GTA exploring Beijing all over again.



Iain Garner: Hanoi is perfect for a GTA game because it is a city that contains everything: modern suburbs, slums, colonial houses, and natural beauty all within a shotgun blast from one another. When it comes to variety in a condensed state you are not going to find anything better. Couple that with the city’s already GTA-style traffic and you have a winner. What’s more, Vietnam is the perfect setting for all the “strangers and freaks” you can imagine; the madame of the “hairdressers,” the English Teacher on a three-day Ketamine binge, the shady Welsh pimp, and the taxi driver who claimed to be a member of the “Taxi Mafia” are all examples of people I personally met in Hanoi after only one week!

I also witnessed a brief sword-fight between two scooter gangs and was approached by the world’s youngest drug dealer who at the age of (possibly) ten had a vocabulary that made this Scotsman wince!

Chris Allison: I’ve been all over Asia, and I have to say Beijing is the perfect answer. If I had to choose a different city though…Tokyo. I can see it now: drifting through Shibuya. Shoot outs through Meiji Shrine. Scaring young punks atop of Tokyo Skytree. The possibilities are endless! There is even a Disney Land! Who wouldn’t want to hijack the world’s most magical place. The city may not have any guns, and the people may be more inclined to give you their car rather than let you steal it, but that might just make Tokyo all the easier to own.

So where would you take the next GTA game? Let us know in the comments below.

(We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention that if you’re looking for a fantastic, GTA-style game set in an Asian city, you should check out Sleeping Dogs. If you haven’t grabbed it yet, you can probably pick it up during the upcoming Steam holiday sale for cheap, and it’s also available on consoles if that’s your preference.)



  1. Bintang

    Nobody chooses Jakarta? LOL!

  2. TokyoJoe

    Travelled all over asia and lived in some of the biggest cities over there. Tokyo is the biggest and especially for geeks the number one. Which gamer doesn’t want to stroll through Akiba?
    Sure it has been covered in the Yakuza series but GTA here would be incredible.
    Driving over the rainbow bridge at night, seein Odaiba on one and the Tokyo tower in the far back on the other side. It’s gonna be awesome!

  3. Leon

    Well I personally think we can’t expect GTA to set outside US (maybe the most it would be Canada). In fact, I think Sleeping Dogs series will be the set in Asia so I’d say Shanghai after all Shanghai has quite a lot of western influence back then.

  4. 8-bit Alex

    I think the Philippines is the perfect place for a GTA game. You already have corrupted cops and politicians you can bribe, cramped cities, diversity in the cities; slums, rich subdivisions, old spanish houses and the like. In the capital city, the traffic is horrendous and everybody drives like crazy. Think about it, in all GTA games you’re the only one who drives like and asshole. How challenging would it be if everyone does it? If you got stopped by the police, you can have the option of bribing them instead of getting “Busted” and lose all your weapons.

    In the Philippines you can explore all walks of live in the same city. Slums are literally just over the fence of a rich neighborhood. You can also visit provinces not far from the main city.

    I think Philippines is the perfect setting story-wise and a great place to just play around.

  5. Shanghai, China. The Pearl/Whore of the Orient, depending upon the marketing. The modernization of this Westernized city with European influences from the turn of the century on the Bund contrasted by the glass towers of Pudong (as seen in Skyfall) make Shanghai an eclectic city with varied architecture. The city layout resulting from the former foreign concessions makes for a varied map layout with lots of backalleys and turns.

    Oh, and the city is populated with crooks. This should make it an ideal GTA video game.

  6. I can’t really say…. each Asian city is exciting in itself. I think driving in Beijing would be awesome in itself. But i think bangkok/hong kong/shanghai/tokyo make really good candidates, but i gotta pick beijing if i had to design a city

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