I believe that Rockstar uses real world environments in Grand Theft Auto in order to bring in the feeling of authenticity to their games. I mean, it was wonderful to drive around the Sunset Boulevard lookalike of Los Santos (in GTA: SA) and the streets and avenues of Algonquin (in GTA IV). But now that I’m visiting San Francisco for the first time, my experiences from San Fiero contribute equally to surrealism.
I mean, I see the Transamerica Pyramid, and my genuine first reaction is: Oh, I know that place, I’ve flown a helicopter around it. I thought they had exaggerated the slopes of Nob Hill to add action to San Fiero, but when our cab speeded down the slope yesterday I realized that San Andreas only managed to create a weak simulation of the real deal. The problem is that Rockstar had Picasso do the city planning (for several reasons), so while all the landmarks are there, they are in a totally wrong order.
Today we’ll meet some wonderful people from Fourth Wall Studios, tomorrow we’ll have a dinner with our friends at Morgan Kaufmann, and on Monday its the time for the GDC.