How Well Does GTA V's Map Emulate Los Angeles?


Los Santos Sunrise

We've been looking over a number of American cities, seeing how good a map for GTA VI they might make if adapted by Rockstar, however GTA V's map also poses a question of how liberal the devs were with their adaptation. Barring a single foray into the UK, the GTA series has always taken place in an alternate version of the United States of America. The maps, in turn, were always based on existing cities, taking their layout, architecture and culture as a basis for the game's setting.

ls

While obviously copying an entire city into a video game is completely nonviable, leading to certain differences, fans have put together some IRL GTA fan videos in Los Angeles where landmarks that are also present in the game appear prominently.

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GTA V's Los Santos, which previously appeared in San Andreas, is based on the real city of Los Angeles, California. Countless landmarks have been replicated in-game to give the city a more authentic look, including one that won't be around in the real world for long.

ls

Rockstar has even allegedly tried to model Los Santos' street layout based on LA, but clearly on a much more compressed scale. This poses the question many fans living elsewhere have asked: could one navigate Los Angeles based solely on knowledge of the city gained from GTA V?

Unfortunately, as cool as that would be, no. Several Los Angeles locals who also happen to be fans of GTA V shared their thoughts on this in a Reddit thread asking the same question.

The game is much more scaled down than the real place, so all of the roads are definitely not there, and neither are many many places. [...] You also have to understand that it is a game, so taking note on the general grid layout of LA streets, Rockstar did in the end design the roads to fit their game.

Several discrepancies arise, many of which perfectly model the difference between GTA V's Los Santos and Los Angeles. For example, one can see the Observatory from LSIA in game - in real life, the observatory is over an hour from the airport and there is no one it would be visible.

There are significantly more streets in LA than what LS depicts. Not only are the existing ones longer and possibly different, but countless thousands of smaller paths litter the massive city of Los Angeles that never could fit into a video game. While the main roads and some major landmarks along them may be in the same place, GTA V's city is very much a fictitious one.

Even so, some similarities in street layout cannot be denied. Rockstar did pay attention to keeping the major roads, highways and rough relative locations of recognizable landmarks in the same place as in real life. If nothing else, a tourist will indeed know the rough direction in which to go based on knowledge of GTA V's map.

Have any of you visited LA and tried to navigate like it's GTA V in real life?

Aron Gerencser
Aron is responsible for the bulk of the news posts that you'll find on GTA BOOM each and every day. He loves getting involved with the community and is an avid fan of all things Rockstar Games. His journey with the franchise began with GTA 2 back when it was new (all the way back in 1999), and he was a gamer even before then. Find Aron on Facebook.