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GTA 5 trailer reveals 'Vinewood' West Coast setting

Grand Theft Auto V is V for Vinewood -- the car-stealin' crime-em 'up series is heading back to the West Coast.

Grand Theft Auto V is V for Vinewood -- the car-stealin' whore-beatin' crime-em 'up is heading back to the West Coast, and appears to be set in the same universe as the earlier Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Revealed today on Rockstar Games' website, the trailer for the hotly anticipated game introduces a new main character, an unnamed retired con who just can't resist one last job. Just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in...

After GTA 4's New York-based Liberty City adventure, the latest entry in the blockbusting game series eschews previous haunt Vice City (based on Miami) for San Andreas (a whole state based on southern California and Nevada). The trailer is clearly set in a very LA-like city and towards the end reveals the Vinewood sign, previously featured in the sprawling GTA: San Andreas.

The trailer is heavy on movie-like imagery, with a jet (hinting at controllable aircraft) flying over the sign, and an oil derrick pumping away as the sun sets behind skyscrapers. The elegiac tone of the voiceover is straight outta GoodFellas too -- and the gentleman who is presumably the main character bears a striking resemblance to Ray Liotta. There's also a flash of the series' trademark social satire, with itinerant fruit-pickers doused by a crop-spraying aircraft.

The game looks to lean heavily on social injustice and perhaps the recession -- scenes of homeless folks and homes being put up for sale are contrasted with vistas of luxuriant wealth and golfing. We spotted an ad in the trailer for new high-rise buildings constructed by a firm called STD Contractors (hyuk) -- could those guys turn out to be antagonists?

We're excited at the prospect of returning to the countryside -- the trailer shows hiking trails and mountains, and we spotted a beachside gym, so we're hoping for a return of San Andreas' fitness-level mechanic. We're also slavering at the prospect of getting some sunshine on our pasty virtual faces, ditching the gloomy smog of Liberty City for sun-drenched San Andreas.

There's no more new info at the moment, but we'd certainly expect a launch before Christmas 2012, on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

What do you think of it? Hyped? Pumped to be returning to old stomping grounds? Or disappointed that it's not a brand-new city? Carve your thoughts in the forehead of our comments section below, or spell them out in bullets on our Facebook page.