The Historical Origins of 'Grand Theft Auto 5's 'V'

GTAV Logo on US Money

Grand Theft Auto V was announced yesterday and a trailer for the game will be up next week, but in the meantime players have already begun to speculate as to what the game could offer. Much of the initial speculation has focused on where the game would take place, what will it look like and the use of the Roman numeral 'V' instead of the number '5' in the game's logo. The questions have seemingly been answered by various sources as Los Angeles, and that the game may look very similar to Eight Days respectively, but the latter is still shrouded in secrecy. While it's still too early to say whether or not this design choice will have any lasting significance in terms of the game's narrative a user on Reddit has pointed out an actual historical link exists regarding the use of 'V' with US currency.

Unfortunately, for our own Riley Little, this news casts some doubts on our initial theory (see bottom of this article) of the game taking place in a dystopian futuristic society, where Roman numeral abolishment is used to subjugate the populace. Oh well.

According to one Reddit user, the 'V' within the GTAV logo comes from a Silver Certificate design five-dollar bill. Silver Certificates were used in the US from 1878 to 1964 and, to this day, are still considered to be legal tender. The specific design was created in 1899 and featured a picture of Running Antelope. Running Antelope was an American Indian chief from the Hunkpapa tribe who advocated compromise with US settlers and government policies instead of war or violence.

Sadly that's all that we have to go on at the moment, but we're sure most of you out there will feel free to crank out a whole host of wild theories at the rumor mill. In the meantime, we would like to posit our new hypothesis regarding the next GTA game. Perhaps the reference to paper money with an Indian chief on it points to the protagonist being of Native American descent. Native American protagonists have been a vastly underrepresented minority in the GTA franchise of late so it's plausible that Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive wanted to switch up the formula.

Also, it's entirely possible that our Roman numeral police state theory could still stand, but maybe it now has links to some historical event of the late 1800s. Maybe GTAV has jumped on board the whole 'Templars vs. Assassins' bandwagon which we're sure you all know has been pretty successful for a certain other franchise.

Hopefully some of these questions will be answered when the first trailer for the game drops on November 2, 2011. In the meantime, feel free to go all Oliver Stone on us in the comments.

Grand Theft Auto V is expected to release sometime in 2012 and no platforms have been confirmed at this time.


Follow me on Twitter @VivasKaul

Source: Reddit (via Kotaku)

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