How Climate Change is Being Depicted in GTA V

With an estimated 110million sales across all platforms, Grand Theft Auto V is that the third best-selling computer game of all time.


Playing GTA on PS4


But could GTA V, where you can play using GTA 5 modded accounts, and its iconic global status be concealing a series of environmental messages, charting the advance of worldwide warming and therefore the accumulation of plastic waste toward land and in our oceans?


Created by Dr. Mandy Bloomfield, lecturer in English at the University of Plymouth, and artist Andy Hughes, Plastic Scoop is an innovative new film discussing the theories behind the environment-themed approach of the game.


It shares new perspectives and approaches around plastic pollution, the Anthropocene, and sustainability by combining in-game footage and public service information films from the past 100 years.


By bringing relationships between global climate change, landscape, and environmental discourses to the fore, it instead encourages the viewer to suspend the game’s known themes around gang violence, car theft, and racial stereotypes.


The result’s irreverent and infrequently somewhat satirical have a look at how problems with increasing global significance may be seen in a very wider cultural context.



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Aside from making photographic works with various items of litter and other waste materials, Andy is an award-winning photographer and artist who has worked extensively with plastic over the past three decades.


After noticing that the landscapes in newer versions of the game were set about capturing characters wandering through trash-filled streets and car parks, swimming within the deep sea, falling through polluted skies, and increasingly populated with rubbish, he was originally inspired. He said:


“If you look closer, you begin to work out GTA reflecting changes in society because gaming and computer games are having an increasing influence on how we predict and behave.


“Plastic Scoop puts these themes in a very space people will recognize, and that I hope we’ve created something that folks can engage with in a casual but informed way.”


In researching the film, Dr. Bloomfield held a series of focus groups with students to realize an understanding of how different people viewed the game footage. She added:


“It takes us removed from the fabric world and in some ways distracts us from many of the issues we face essentially.


“Their eyes may well be opened to another tackle the game which really goes against the grain, that is what we hope to achieve through Plastic Scoop.”