Rockstar Games has just announced that the next installment of its wildly successful Grand Theft Auto video game franchise will be set in Hot Springs, Ark. This will be the first title from the franchise to launch on next generation consoles.
“It just seemed like a good fit,” Rockstar Creative Vice-President Dan Houser said. “The crime, the seediness, the tourists—it’s just the sort of hard times, anything goes place that the GTA franchise embraces.” Houser, who keeps a speed boat on Lake Hamilton and regularly flies down from New York to catch shows at Maxine’s Puzzle Bar, noted that Rockstar had been planning a project based on Hot Springs for years. “It’s a city of contrasts. You’ve got tattoo parlors next to ice cream parlors next to really creepy wax interpretations of Jimmy Carter. It’s just the sort of screaming, on-the-nose irony that our audience eats up for some reason.”
The story will involve an Oaklawn jockey who is framed for doping horses. To clear his name, he must explore every nook of the Spa City. Major scenes in the game are rumored to take place at the Promenade, the Mountain Tower, the Arkansas Alligator Farm, and the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts.
Rockstar considered modeling the environment of Bully, its 2006 hit, after ASMSA, but decided that there just weren’t enough students there capable of bullying for the school to produce a convincing mise-en-scène.
Billy Bob Thornton is rumored to provide the voice of the game’s villain, O. E. Allbritton, a drug kingpin who runs his empire out of a set-piece shack along the route of the Magic Springs log ride.
Within five minutes of the announcement, Bath House Row shops had stocked over 5,000 GTA-themed airbrushed t-shirts.