NEW YORK CITY–Rockstar Games, publishers of the popular Grand Theft Auto video game series, has announced the next iteration of their popular open world franchise: Grand Theft Bicycle: Atlanta (GTBA).
The inspiration came when head developer Rich Barrington visited a friend in Little Five Points.
“It felt like an apocalyptic future. Like where cars get outlawed, there are mohawks everywhere, and bicycle gangs rule everybody,” Barrington said. “I was afraid they were going to beat me for having an engine. And then I thought — Hey, what if cyclists were assholes in the fake world, too, like in GTA?”
In GTBA–“The letters can be easily misunderstood,” said Barrington–a player becomes Norman Ponch, the son of an extremely wealthy Lexus dealership owner. Norman’s father wants him to go into the family business. But Norman gets involved with the wrong crowd–Philosophy majors at Georgia State University–who laud the benefits of bicycles.
The players’ eventual goal is to get Norman’s father to disown him by engaging in embarrassing behavior, like drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon while riding a bike. “If players do everything right, by the end, they’ll be living on friends’ couches and working part-time at Aurora Coffee,” said Barrington.
“The game’s extremely action-packed,” said game designer Jim Everett. “Given the right circumstances, you can reach speeds of up to 13 miles an hour. You can also do crazy stunts like jumping off pieces of wood leaning on milk crates. And when you you get really powerful, you can do the no-hands trick.”
Norman will get in slap-fights with rival gangs, like Jimmy John’s delivery boys. Players can also acquire bike upgrades like playing cards in the spokes, flashlights, banana seats, an inventory kept in a plastic shopping bag hanging from the handlebars, and little bells.
Pain and injuries play an important role. Although you can’t die, as in former GTAs, players must buy Tylenol and Band-Aids for bumps and scrapes.
Cops also pose huge problems. “They yell at you a lot,” said Barrington. “Oh, and sometimes they give you tickets. When you get a five-star rating, which is when you’ve been wreaking some real havoc, they put zip-ties around your wrists and take you home to your dad.”
“We can’t wait for people to try it,” he said. “It might make them think twice about running over bicyclists who ride in the middle of the street. But probably not.”