Video Comparison: Los Santos and Los Angeles

It’s no big secret that Grand Theft Auto V’s fictional city of Los Santos is based on the great city of Los Angeles, CA. GTA V developer RockStar Games has often modelled its fictional criminal proving grounds on real cities. Liberty City was a fictionalized New York, Vice City an 80’s-style version of Miami, and San Andreas is a large urban and rural area modelled on various parts of California and Nevada.

Los Santos did already make an appearance in the aforementioned San Andreas, but its full-blown showing in GTA V will take the level of detail and authenticity of the city to new heights, and that will include several direct and indirect homages to the real McCoy…er, real Los Angeles.

To see how many of these homages they could find, PlayStation Access sent an intrepid reporter by the name of Nate to Los Angeles equipped with nothing but a bike and some screenshots of the game. OK, he did have some other things, like a map, and…clothes…but those aren’t important. What is important is that he located several of Los Santos’ virtual locations within Los Angeles. It’s also handy that Nate’s travels were documented in a video which can be viewed below.

So what all did he locate? First Nate swung by the famous Venice Beach where a near perfect match was found between one of the game’s screenshots and a small section of the area. It features a few market stalls with a small apartment building tucked in behind them on the left, and the famous beachside view on the right.


Next Nate headed in-land to the Federal Building at 11000 Wilshire, which can be seen reproduced in Los Santos as the “FIB” building. While the federal building and the building neighbouring it appear in Los Santos, they’ve been given what looks like a vertical expansion, appearing in the game more as skyscrapers than the actual buildings are in reality.

Next it was off to a rather obvious homage to Los Angeles, and that is the famous Hollywood sign. Along the way however Nate stumbled upon the Los Angeles Country Club on his right, and decided to take a closer look, as it was unknown which golf course in Los Angeles, if any, Los Santos’ golf course was modelled after. A view from the outside of the course showing the downtown high-rises in the background was nearly identical to screens of the in-game course, making it a good bet this was the one it was based on.


A good vantage point showcasing the Hollywood sign was scoped out next, which gave a near identical angle as shown in one of the screens of the Vinewood sign of Los Santos, including the surrounding hills. Lastly, the nearby Griffith observatory gives a stunning view looking out over Los Angeles towards downtown, and this same view is seen in one of the screens of Los Santos, including the little telescope near the ledge.


All of this is to say…well, that Los Santos is at least somewhat accurately based on L.A, which you probably already knew, but now you definitely know. Now we just have to wait until September to see how many other direct references to Los Angeles areas or landmarks are found in the sprawling metropolitan wasteland of Los Santos; if we can tear ourselves away from jacking cars and shooting punks long enough to see them!

What do you think? Sound off below!

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