Last year Rockstar Games revealed that Grand Theft Auto VI would try to be a bit more “culturally sensitive.” The series has been known for over-the-top violence, a sweeping approach to satire of all elements of society, and, of course, a near total lack of awareness when it comes to representation of marginalized groups, which frequently tipped the scales from humor to bullying. That looks set to change, thankfully.
But if for some reason you were under the impression that GTA would hold back on its signature humor in light of a less offensive approach, yesterday’s trailer should put those concerns at ease. Grand Theft Auto VI looks set to embrace the series’ trademark absurdity and raucous environmental storytelling. Some of which might even still be worth a critique or two, particularly where it concerns mental health in society.
We’ve mined the minute-and-a-half-long trailer for some of its best jokes and have come back up with a few signature GTA gems. Let’s dive in.
POACH: Protection of Animals and Controlled Hunting
As we see in the trailer, Leonida, much like real-life Florida, often sees wildlife intersect with civilized society. As such, it only makes sense to have some kind of state agency at the ready to help deal with potentially dangerous situations for both humans and animals.
Such an organization exists in Grand Theft Auto VI and, as befits GTA’s sense of humor, it’s literally called POACH (a term often used for the illegal hunting of wildlife), with the game’s in-world social media handle literally titled OfficialPOACH.
An alligator eats someone in the Leonida police seal
In a brief glimpse of a faux news (no, not that one) report, we see the official seal of the deputy sheriffs’ department. It might look generic at first glance, but as Kotaku GTA whisperer Zack Zwiezen pointed out after the trailer dropped, you can actually see an alligator eating what looks like a baby. Oh dear.
Angstipan’s ‘It Cures Emotions’ billboard
During what looks like a robbery getaway, GTA VI’s protagonists blow past a billboard that screams in bold letters: It Cures Emotions, with a blueish pill-like character holding a very sedated-looking caricature of a brain.
The lower text is a little hard to read, but at least one of the more legible bits of print says “America’s Favorite Dissociative.”
We’ll have to see where GTA VI takes this joke. This is funny, but it does get a raised eyebrow.
Leonida man and absurd news ticker
The GTA VI trailer contains a bunch of scenes from fake social media accounts and news broadcasts. One reveals two (mostly) humorous bits of text.
One clearly reads “Leonida man sucked up in waterspout demands the city buy him a new suit.” It is a funny phrase, but it’s also a clear callout to the Florida man meme we’re all very familiar with.
Right before that it appears to say “Escaped mental patient wins Vice City marathon.” The full first word is cut off, so I’m assuming that the first word (visible only as “ped”) should be “Escaped.” Like with the ad for Angistpan, I’d be lying if this didn’t get an eye roll from me. But then I guess it wouldn’t be a GTA game if it didn’t make some uncomfortable jokes
Store will no longer accept ‘cash stored in underwear’
Toward the end of the trailer, our protagonists go on a little date by robbing a pawn shop (#relationshipgoals). On the door on the right, just next to a “Petty Forever” sign (the trailer notably featured “Love Is A Long Road” by Tom Petty) is a sign in all caps, bolded, and underlined that reads:
We will no longer accept cash stored in underwear.
Again, this is quintessential GTA environmental storytelling that lets you know that this place is full of strange, wacky behavior from its denizens.
Why sixty nine when you can nine 1 nine?
It’s not clear what “919” represents in Grand Theft Auto VI just yet, but early on in the trailer you can catch a glimpse of a plane flying a sign that reads: “Why sixty nine when you can nine 1 nine,” continuing the tradition of GTA just inserting sex into everything.
GOPostal delivery service
This scene is delightful. I love seeing an alligator just casually strolling into a place of business as much as anyone, but up in the right-hand corner, you catch Another GTA staple: A delivery service called “GOPostal.”
This business has been featured in Grand Theft Auto V before and is a dark humor take on services like FedEx and UPS.
Someone’s ‘wanted for panty sniffing’
You can’t make out the whole billboard in this shot, but at least one part of this “Have You Seen” law enforcement billboard clearly reads:
Wanted for Panty Sniffing
I’ll just leave that as it is.
We saw lots and lots of folks in the GTA VI trailer, but at least two that stand out are the old lady carrying two hammers and some dude wearing an American flag hat just standing outside of his car grabbing his crotch.
GTA is notable for having weird fucking characters, but also random NPCs that just do and say strange things, adding to the sense that this is a wild, absurd reflection of our own world. So far it looks like GTA VI will be picking up that ball and running with it just as hard as its predecessors did.
So, those were a few funny moments that struck us. Did any stand out to you?
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