Special Topics In Gameology: Grand Theft Auto IV removed economic opportunity to tell a more honest story

Special Topics In Gameology explores a specific corner of the gaming world in a miniseries of articles. The current theme is commerce, in which we examine games’ representation and use of business and trade.

Niko Bellic is a man frozen in place. When he arrives in Liberty City, he’s alone, destitute, and alienated, but hopeful for a brighter future that seems, if only for this moment, attainable. When the credits roll on Grand Theft Auto IV, though, he’s the same—sans the hope. He might have earned some money, doing things he’d rather not discuss, and a few houses to his name off the backs of those he’s killed. But he’s gained no status and no real place to call his own, just a ledger of ugly acts and the untimely deaths of people he’s cared about. Niko Bellic’s story is a cynical …

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