Grand Theft Auto VI’s trailer perfectly captures my hometown’s essence

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Grand Theft Auto VI’s trailer perfectly captures my hometown’s essence

There’s something shameful I must admit about myself: I’m a native of Miami, Florida. It’s where I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up, and even after leaving, I look back on my time a lot.

South Florida was my home, and feeling its vibe is rare unless I visit family. That is, until I saw the long-anticipated trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI. I’ve watched it more than a few times now, and my only thought is, “Yeah, that’s Florida.”

Does it capture absolutely everything I associate with the state? No, but for a trailer that’s only 90 seconds long, it gets so much right. It also makes me feel represented in a way I don’t think any other game has made me feel before.

Screenshot via Rockstar Games YouTube

Recalling my time as a Florida gal

Before I go into what Grand Theft Auto VI gets right about Florida, I want to say something about the state and I say this with love: It’s kinda trashy. This isn’t to say that everyday life in Florida is just like the real-life stories used as inspiration in the trailer. People are wild everywhere, and it’s rare for alligators to end up in your pool. Florida Man is only a thing because the state has incredibly strong public record laws.

When I say Florida, including Miami, is trashy, it is because I mean it literally. One shot in the trailer showcases what I assume is GTA VI‘s South Beach equivalent feels like a complete fabrication, and only because there isn’t trash everywhere. People are gross and, especially on a populated beach, will leave their trash behind.

This applies to the water, because the clearest thing I remember about Florida beaches is the rancid smell coming from them. It was bad enough that I thought I hated the way seawater smelled. The truth was that pollution from varying sources makes the water smell terrible and gives it a murky brown color.

Besides that one little gripe I have? Everything else is on point, even with how the fictional state of Leonida is shown outside Vice City.

Although I left before I was old enough to appreciate Miami’s nightlife, the trailer represents its excess amazingly. Miami is a bright city at all hours, and while the plethora of luxury sports cars is noticeable during the day, they glow at night. Even the glimpse of a strip club resembles a very Miami version of excess. It’s incredibly flashy in a way that can take attention away from how other parts of Flordia are.

Beyond Miami’s glitz, Florida resembles the southern US while remaining unique, and I love how GTA VI‘s trailer shows this. My favorite part of the whole thing is a shot of an airboat riding through swampland. It’s something that took me back to when my family and I took airboat tours through the Everglades.

While something I never cared for, it was wild seeing mudding represented in GTA. The activity constitutes driving trucks through mud in the messiest way possible, and is something a part of my family enjoys doing. It’s on a far smaller scale than showcased in the trailer, but the shot stirred some memories in me.

Seeing that helped solidify that I was watching a parody of my home state, and Rockstar hardly needs to exaggerate it. Even with that, it’s another decision Rockstar made that makes me feel seen in a game.

Screenshot via Rockstar Games YouTube

Ay dios mío, a game represents me!

I’m not much of a Grand Theft Auto fan, but I’m likely buying GTA VI because of Lucia. While Latino leads like Spider-Man‘s Miles Morales and Just Cause‘s Rico Rodriguez exist, they are rare.

This goes doubly so for Latina leads. Outside Far Cry 6‘s Dani, I can’t think of any, and even then Dani’s gender is player-chosen.

Otherwise, if Latinas are represented as playable characters, they are always part of an ensemble, like Overwatch‘s Sombra or Valorant‘s Reyna. As Americanized as I am, it’s a little isolating knowing how underrepresented we are.

Although anyone who followed Grand Theft Auto VI leaks knows Lucia is one of the playable leads, seeing her front and center in the trailer makes her role as a protagonist feel so much more real to me. While the man she’s traveling with is probably the other protagonist, the focus on Lucia gives the impression she’s the game’s real star, and I adore that.

It’s cathartic while also sobering, since it reminded me of how little Latina representation there is in gaming. Another point in her favor is that she represents those who lives in Miami. The city is full of Latine people, with many coming from the Caribbean and South America. I myself am Cuban, and I’d bet the same for Lucia, given Miami’s high Cuban population. Her specific ethnicity doesn’t matter, however, because I’m just ecstatic she exists and isn’t a caricature of a Latina.

While I likely anticipated Grand Theft Auto VI‘s trailer as much as many others, the feelings it stirred surprised me. It made me nostalgic for a place I have cultural and political qualms with. It also made me feel more represented in a game than I think I ever felt.

All Rockstar needs to do now to win me over is add trash to the beaches and have a scene dedicated to how delicious Cuban food is. Only then will Vice City really be home.

Andrea Gonzalez

Andrea has been playing games for around 20 years and has a particularly strong love for RPGs and survival horror. Her favorite game at the moment is Baldur’s Gate 3, but there will always be a special place for NieR and Signalis.
She graduated from Portland State University in 2021 with a degree in English and has written about games since 2022. When Andrea isn’t gaming in her free time, she’s likely either reading or having a coffee.


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