Games That Referenced Grand Theft Auto – TheGamer

As such an iconic series, it’s no surprise that Grand Theft Auto has had references in other games.
Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series is no stranger to the spotlight. In addition to producing some of the fastest-selling titles in history, the series has experienced its fair share of acclaim and notoriety, sometimes considered the poster child for the modern video game.
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With such a large sphere of influence, it's no wonder that the parody-heavy series has inspired its own references and nods, especially within the realm of gaming. From subtle allusions and small nods to full-on callbacks to classic moments from the series, these are some of the best GTA references we could find in other games.
2018's Spider-Man features a sizable chunk of New York City to play around in, not entirely unlike the Grand Theft Auto series' Liberty City. With that in mind, it makes some sense that the wall-crawler's modern adventure would contain a nod to Rockstar's influential open-world games.
During one of Spider-Man's many side quests, observant fans may come across a white board detailing plans for a heist. Among the names listed on this board are Niko and Roman, the two main characters of Grand Theft Auto IV. The board also contains the names of other characters featured in GTA IV, such as Deshaun and Evan, both of whom have a presence in the game's DLC.
As one of the most popular games of all time, Minecraft has its own immense legacy to uphold in gaming history. Still, this doesn't stop the game from paying homage to other massive titles and series in the medium.
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One such reference occurs on the game's initial title screen, which is usually accompanied by an amusing bit of yellow text scrawled across the Minecraft logo. This message is often used to make references to pop culture, and one such example is the appearance of the quote "Follow the train, CJ", a callback to everyone's favorite mission from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
One of the more recent games to reference GTA, Cyberpunk 2077 is another popular shooting game that takes place in a large, open city environment. The game very likely takes at least some inspiration from the Grand Theft Auto games, as they set the standard for what an open world title could be in their heyday.
Cyberpunk contains at least one overt nod to GTA in the form of a journal you can find on a set of train tracks in Night City. This journal chronicles the exploits of "JC" and "Little Smoke" a reference to CJ and Big Smoke of San Andreas fame. The journal's placement and the actual dialogue written within are yet another allusion to the infamous "Wrong Side of the Tracks" mission, where Smoke heckles you about following the train. It really is all you had to do, CJ.
The GTA series may not appear to have much in common with Tom Clancy's The Division at first glance, considering the fact that The Division places you squarely in the shoes of an authority figure rather than a criminal. In spite of this, the game still contains a small allusion to GTA.
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Somewhere on the snowy streets of Manhattan, you'll find a bowling ball with the word "cousin" written on it. While it's subtle, this appears to be a nod to Grand Theft Auto IV, where protagonist Niko Bellic would infamously receive constant invitations from his cousin Roman to visit the bowling alley.
One might argue that The Simpsons: Hit And Run is itself a gigantic GTA reference. The open-world action game is clearly inspired by the controversial series, as so many games of its era were.
Still, the game contains a more overt reference to GTA if you attempt to get into Chief Wiggum's squad car, causing him to cheekily exclaim, "What is this, grand theft auto?" This is a clear nod to both the crime you'd attempted to commit and the series itself, which is known for enabling players to commit a wide variety of criminal escapades.
It's not shocking that some of Rockstar's other games would reference Grand Theft Auto, considering it's the company's flagship series. Few of their titles contain as many nods, references, and flat-out connections to GTA than the Manhunt games, which are absolutely full of them.
Carcer City, Manhunt's primary location, is considered a neighboring town to the famous Liberty City of Grand Theft Auto fame. As such, there are actually a plethora of references being extended in both directions, with Manhunt and GTA containing many of the same weapons and vehicles. Some cars from Manhunt don't show up, but are mentioned in GTA games, such as the Maibatsu Monstrosity. There's even an image of a Manhunt enemy in GTA: San Andreas. The nods to Manhunt and Manhunt II can be found in games as recent as GTA V, the latest in the series.
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Kendall Cunningham is a list writer at TheGamer. He’s also a lifelong gamer who’s been creating content around games for years. He plays a bit of everything, with a particular love of action-RPGs and roguelikes. When he isn’t writing about games, he’s playing them, making music, editing comics, or picking up some other new creative outlet. Next up: crocheting.


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