Rockstar Games' GTA 6 portrays a satirical canvas of Miami
The Grand Theft Auto 6 (GTA 6) trailer set in Vice City, echoing Miami's surreal blend of culture and satire
South Florida, a region synonymous with sun-drenched beaches and a vibrant nightlife, has always been a place of allure and mystique. It’s a locale where the allure of the sea, sand, and sensuality is perennial, drawing in people from all walks of life.
This year, the city of Miami, the jewel of South Florida, gained an extra layer of glitter when two global icons, Lionel Messi and Jeff Bezos, decided to call it home.
Messi, the football maestro often donned in the striking flamingo pink of his team Inter Miami’s colours, brought his athletic brilliance to the city.
Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder with his eyes set on the stars, contemplated the commercialization of space travel from this bustling metropolis.
However, Miami’s glitz and glamour are not without their shadows. Beneath the surface lies a darker, more sinister side, a criminal underbelly that contrasts sharply with the city’s radiant facade.
This dichotomy was thrust into the spotlight with the much-anticipated trailer release of GTA 6. The game, developed by Rockstar Games, broke a decade-long silence and shattered YouTube records, amassing a staggering 93 million views within the first 24 hours.
Basketball superstar LeBron James encapsulated the public’s reaction with a single word in his tweet: “INSANE.”
The trailer’s explosive popularity made it the most-watched non-music video on the platform in record time.
The 90-second preview confirmed that the game’s setting would be Vice City, a hyper-fictionalized mirror of Miami, sparking heated online debates about the fairness of this portrayal. The trailer was a montage of Miami’s iconic cultural symbols: beach joggers, boat parties, luxury vehicles, and rooftop pools, all bathed in the glow of neon lights and accompanied by the sight of flamingos—real ones, which can be spotted at the Hialeah Park Racing and Casino.
Yet, the trailer also unveiled the city’s alternate reality. A crocodile sauntering through a convenience store, strippers gyrating over cascades of dollar bills, and police officers forcefully entering a residence were just a few of the scenes that painted a starkly different picture of Miami.
The surreal image of a woman twerking on a speeding car, juxtaposed with precise replicas of Miami’s Kaseya Center and the Wynwood neighborhood’s murals, blurred the lines between the fantastical and the factual.
From Chris Livingston's mouth
Chris Livingston, senior editor at PC Gamer, shed light on Rockstar’s intentions behind the Grand Theft Auto series.
“These [GTA games] are based on real American cities, and it’s those tiny details that really bring it to life,” he explained to the BBC.
“So much of what’s in the games is based on real stuff. The developers are from the UK, so it’s kind of their spin on a really exaggerated take on US culture.”
Livingston characterized the content of the GTA 6 trailer as a deliberate “tongue-in-cheek satire of the worst of American culture.”
Social media users were quick to identify scenes from the trailer that mirrored real-life events in South Florida, such as the twerking woman on the car, the hammer-wielding elderly lady, and the tattooed criminal with purple hair—all of which had previously made headlines.
These moments, according to Livingston, provided “great fodder” for Rockstar’s developers, enabling them to infuse the game with intricate details that reflect “the bizarre reality of US culture, especially in Florida.”
“How long can Rockstar satirise a culture that’s gotten so ridiculous on its own?” he pondered, highlighting the difficulty of parodying a reality that often surpasses fiction.