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Plugged In

‘Grand Theft Auto V’ goes back to Cali in debut trailer

Plugged In

GTA loves L.A.

The first official trailer for Grand Theft Auto V is here, and the rumor mill got it right: we're headed back to Los Angeles -- or GTA's twisted version of it, at least.

So it's clearly set in a modern-day Los Angeles…or should we say, Los Santos. That was the name Rockstar Games gave the L.A.-themed city featured in the best-selling Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and it's pretty obvious we'll be treading on the same ground here. A few famous L.A. locations are referenced, including the Santa Monica Pier (re-dubbed the "Pleasure Pier"), Venice Beach, and of course the Hollywood 'Vinewood' sign.

Clocking in at just a minute and half, the trailer introduces us to, well, a guy. A guy who moved to Los Santos for a better, sunnier life. A guy who then somehow winds up getting into insane car chases and gun fights, we'd reckon, as his life spins wildly out of control purely for our digital amusement.

Though the trailer is pretty vague, we can glean a couple hints at the theme. Financial turmoil seems to play a big role. A foreclosure notice is hammered into the ground. A homeless man begs for change. A tent city is pitched under the freeway. Even the game's logo references the almighty dollar. GTA doesn't shy away from tackling big issues, and these days, it doesn't get any bigger than the economic downturn. Expect that to play a major role in the plot.

Also of note is a quick shot of three hikers about to explore the mountains. That's a far cry from the strictly urban setting of GTA IV, though players did get a little more rural in GTA: San Andreas. Grand Theft Camping Equipment? Sounds awesome!

So when's the game coming out? Your guess is as good as ours, but if recent Rockstar history is any indication, a release late next year certainly isn't out of the question. The company released the debut trailer to L.A. Noire in November of 2010; the game hit shelves in May of 2011.

As with any GTA trailer, this one is bound to be scientifically analyzed by gamers over the next few months. Find any cool clues yourself?

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