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Ex GTA dev reveals the secret behind Vice City’s psychic cops

As GTA 6 gets nearer and nearer, one former Rockstar dev from GTA 3, San Andreas, and Grand Theft Auto 4 reveals a secret about Vice City.

GTA Vice City secret: A character in shades from Rockstar open-world game Grand Theft Auto Vice City

Grand Theft Auto 6 promises a return to the sun-soaked, neon-lit streets of Vice City, and it’s about time. We haven’t had a tour of the town Tommy Vercetti once called home in almost 20 years – the original GTA Vice City arrived in 2002, while Vice City Stories followed in 2006. Although it’s totally redesigned and reimagined, it’ll be wonderful to once again set foot in the fictionalized version of Miami. In the meantime, however, one former Rockstar dev whose credits include GTA 3, San Andreas, and Grand Theft Auto 4, shares the fascinating secret behind Vice City’s seemingly psychic cops, who always manage to jump you at just the worst moment.

The GTA 6 release date is coming, so now is the perfect time to reminisce and reflect on the landmark Rockstar open-world game series. Grand Theft Auto Vice City remains a true high point, when the technology and vision that first allowed GTA to go fully 3D was combined with the production value, style, and crime caper storytelling for which Rockstar would become famous. It also boasts some wonderful secrets, including the blood-soaked apartment that pays homage to Scarface and the actual, literal easter egg hidden in the downtown Vice City News building. But there’s one strange occurrence, experienced by every Vice City player, that until now has gone unexplained.

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You’ve boosted the Comet from outside the golf club and pulled a few drivebys on the thugs outside the mall. Before you know it, you’ve got a three-star wanted level and you’re trying to escape by going full throttle down Ocean Drive. Suddenly, two police cars pull out in front of you at just the right – or rather, wrong – moment, blocking your path completely and hitting your ride so hard it bursts into flames. Maybe it’s just bad luck. But a couple of days later you’re being chased by the cops once again, and the exact same thing happens in exactly the same place. What gives?

Enter Obbe Vermeij, a former Rockstar developer who previously shared behind-the-scenes details on one of the biggest mysteries in San Andreas. As part of the Vice City team, Vermeij contributed to cop behaviors and NPC spawns. The ex-GTA dev gives a details breakdown of how this particular chase system works.

“Generally police cars are created a good distance away and are given the order to attack the player,” Vermeij says. “In Vice City, I experimented with pre-set locations where police cars would spawn just at the right time and with the correct initial speed to appear right in front of the player. They always trigger when you have a wanted level of three or above (I think) and once they’ve triggered you have to wait a few minutes before it happens again.”

GTA Vice City secret: A quote from a former Grand Theft Auto developer about GTA Vice City

If you’re cruising Ocean Drive specifically, Vermeij confirms the cop cars only spawn “from the hotel side,” meaning they should appear if you’re driving north to south, but not coming back the other way. The developer also says there are other locations with the same system, but these are limited, since the pre-set cop traps were difficult to implement.

“They were too much hassle to set up so there are only five or so set up in Vice,” Vermiej says. “It happens at five or so locations. The one on Miami Beach is the only one I can remember the location of.”

So, next time you see two cop cars lurch in front of you during a chase, make a note of the location. As long as you stay away in future, you should be able to avoid one of the Vice City cops’ most troublesome tactics.

If you’re still having a great time in Los Santos right now, get the best GTA 5 mods to make the entire game feel alive and fresh. You should also head over to GTA DB for everything there is to know about Grand Theft Auto 6, including characters, cars, and the new version of Vice City.

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