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Can a corrupt cop protagonist really work?

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Niko Vercetti 112
  • Niko Vercetti 112

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 04:02 AM

Throughout the forums I'm constantly seeing people suggest having a corrupt cop as a protagonist, but personally I feel it can't work.

One major thing that presents itself is the fact you're always working for major crime lords and such in these games. Yet, do you really think that somebody (e.g. Ricado Diaz, Liz Torres, etc) would employ a corrupt cop to constantly perform hits for them? The story would have to almost revolve around working for other cops, which, like the government conspiracy stuff, could only work in smalll doses.

And then there there's the thought of a corrupt cop running rampant stealing cars and running people down. I can imagine characters like Claude or Niko doing this, but I really can't see a cop being stupid enough to "fight the law" in that fashion.

In the end I could let it go if it was a small TLAD or TBOGT style DLC. But a full 70+ mission long story about a corrupt cop, I just don't think is right for GTA. Your thoughts?

  • Vercetti42

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 04:20 AM

Yes and no. Sleeping Dogs had it. The protagonist (Wei) was an undercover cop but he could run people over and stuff. Just like in GTA. I did not play through the story though so I can't judge it.


However a corrupt cop will HAVE to work for the government. It is weird having a cop working for a Mafia Overlord so the story will be more or less similar to GTA V.


As for me, I feel corrupt cops should be as antagonists like Frank Tenpenny for instance but not as protagonists. Like you said it could work as a DLC but certainly not as a main GTA.

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  • ksrilertfah71

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 06:59 AM

Well GTA isn't a true crime series

  • Blood-Is-in-Diamond

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 11:08 AM

If it was to happen R* will make sure it not part of the GTA Family,maybe a New IP...although the the 1995 Concept and Development title Race 'n' Chase (before it evolved into the Original GTA in 1997) was going to be about Cops and Robbers,so a GTA game with a cop protag can still work but like i said before it might not be part of GTA.

  • Tyla

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 12:07 PM

This is an interesting topic. It's one of those things I'm mindful that it would be extremely tricky to do but at the same time, I think it could be possible. With the right storyline, that is. As it's been pointed out: no cop in his right mind is going to be mowing down brother officers and civilians.


Any Miami Vice fans here? Anyone remember the Sonny Burnett saga?


Sonny Burnett is essentially the cover name of Sonny Crockett, though amazingly no one discovers he's an undercover cop despite the insane amount of people who have unfortunate encounters with the police when Burnett is involved in deals with them.


Burnett begins investingating a drug cartel (the Manolos) and gets involved in some of their dodgy business. He murders Manolos main rival, several rival gang members and takes out a corrupt cop. F*ck, he even tries to murder Tubbs. He snaps big time, suffers a major head trauma and wakes up from a coma working as the right-hand-man to a cartel boss only weeks earlier he intended to have murdered for Manolo: Oscar Carerra (who was totally not a walking endorsement for the sunglasses brand.)


Long story short, Burnett (Crockett completely adoping his alter-ego, knowing no other identity) plays Carerra and his dumb f*ck son against each other to create chaos. He starts dipping into Carerras missus. He negotiates a war with rival boss El Gato (Ricardo Diaz's physical inspiration), has El Gato's brother murdered and once all that sh*t is wrapped up, kills both Carerras and bangs the f*ck out of Oscar Carerra's wife. He sets up a working relationship with a Central American dictator ('Ola, Colonel Cortez!), handles some CIA sh*t to facilitate this relationship and employs his own gang of vicious enforcers to spread the message Miami now belongs to him.


Is it farfetched and a suspension of reality? Absolutely. Apply it to Vice City and could you see it working? I'll bet yes.


You've got a cop - lets say he's a Vietnam veteran - and after the introduction to the game, he desends into psychosis believing he is his criminal alter ego. He does all of the above, then gets to the end of the game and either A) Attempts to redeem himself to his brother officers in some way or B) Has to pull some major sh*t to continue operating as a criminal, which I believe is a huge stretch. The major flaw is how on earth would a protagonist like this be able to realistically keep his empire after the game like Vercetti did?

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 01:35 PM

I've always thought a The Departed kind of story where one protagonist is an undercover cop infiltrating a gang and the other is someone from that gang infiltrating the police force and they eventually cross paths with everything going to sh*t would be pretty cool.

Unless you've seen the movie you may not know what I mean.
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SFPD officer
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Posted 23 May 2014 - 02:03 PM Edited by SFPD officer, 23 May 2014 - 02:06 PM.

I think R* could easily find a way to make it work and it's especially feasible, if done in a multi-protagonist game.


My idea of a cop protagonist would be a completely corrupt, despicable bastard. Imagine a cop, who's in the force just to amass as much wealth and power as possible. He doesn't care about his fellow police officers or people he's supposed to protect. He's essentially just another gangster, but with a badge and power that comes with it. He would have connections to criminal organizations, corrupt politicians, government agencies, he would bend the law to suit his goals and use his power to protect his criminal associates and pursue their enemies. He could be the master manipulator - working from behind the scenes, setting gangs against each other and moving in when he'd benefit from it. That's just what I came up with on the spot, but there is so much that can be done with this kind of character. Just imagine a mix of Tenpenny/Francis McReary/Wade Heston/Steve Haines as protagonist.


The only problem is that the whole free roam aspect kinda messes it up. Like I said, this cop wouldn't care about other policemen or random civilians, but I doubt he'd have much influence in the force, if he would spaz out every couple of days and kill a dozen cops. Either we, players, would have to ignore this disharmony, as we ignore it when we do random rampages as Niko, Johnny or Michael, or the protagonist would have to be a "higher power" - an FIB agent or an investigator or something like that.

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Tao Cheng
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Posted 23 May 2014 - 03:18 PM

It can work if that person is a cop only on the clock and wants to go home afterwards. There are good people out there who are police by day, drug pushers by night, knowing when to put their morals aside.

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 07:53 PM

Well GTA isn't a true crime series

I never quite got why people post replies that start with "umm" or "well"

Back on point, I recall an old concept thread that came out before GTA 5 was announced which focused around a female cop who happened to be Karen from IV, and its title was "Liberty and Justice". Sadly, the author seems to be no longer active on here, but if you got the time searching through the concept thread index and finding it, it's well worth a read.
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  • Blennerville

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 08:53 PM Edited by Blennerville, 23 May 2014 - 08:53 PM.

It certainly wouldnt work well thats for sure, it would destroy the core of what GTA is about. It wouldnt make sense to do it.


A better story would be that the guy is an ex cop who was kicked out of the force or put in jail for being corrupt and he now hates the cops and internal affairs and wants to screw them and his ex parter who ratted him out over, or something along them lines.

Say he is now broke and working as a Muscle/bounty hunter/private investigator as well as anything else he can find - would leave the plot/story options a lot more open.

  • Zello

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 09:28 PM

I've always wanted to be a cop in a GTA game or a new IP for R*. It would be fun being a corrupt cop taking bribes and setting crimminals up against each other as well as doing police work like conducting surveillance, using wiretaps, etc. Also dealing with the Political BS cops face budget cuts, the department delaying investigations, the mayor and city hall not supporting the department and stuff or the PD not supporting you. If we were a cop in a GTA game though it would have to be in a multi protag game. Another thing is GTA is about being a crimminal playing as a cop would be fun and all but getting into the nitty gritty street life of a crimminal instead is always better.

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 09:44 PM

I think if it is done in the right way then it can definetly work.


However after playing the True Crime series and Sleeping Dogs I just dont see it being worked into a somewhat believable way that also fits in with the GTA style of things. I would much rather they stick with the way they have always done protags in the GTA series, rather than going down this route. I think that a retired cop or a fired cop would make more sense for GTA rather than a corrupt/undercover cop, but that's just my personal preference/thought.

  • Luddite

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 10:55 PM

An active-duty police officer has too much power and connections to be much of a challenge.

I could go for an ex-cop, fired for corruption. He'd still have some connections but not all.

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 10:59 PM

I think that a retired cop or...




" I've... I've seen things. I was a cop for 25 years. I've seen me run over by combies. I've seen husbands who just ate their wives, but a gun fight in the disco?"

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  • Sawnek

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 08:35 PM

I think that Rockstar could definitely pull off a serious and gritty cop series. Perhaps add a system where you could be a bad cop or good cop through a series of actions and choices that you choose. If you want to take bribes from criminals or bring them back to the station, it would be entirely up to you. It shouldn't be a linear system, but something that I'm sure Rockstar could easily think of.


As for having one the protagonist, I don't think it would work for various reasons, I know it's been an idea that's been thrown around between fans for years, but I couldn't see the next protagonist being a police officer - corrupt or not. What would happen when you gain a wanted level? I'm sure as you blast through the police force and higher ups, you would be noticed as a fellow officer. 

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 11:04 PM


I think that a retired cop or...




" I've... I've seen things. I was a cop for 25 years. I've seen me run over by combies. I've seen husbands who just ate their wives, but a gun fight in the disco?"



I thought we were going to see more of this guy, just sorta' popping up almost ominously, kinda like the fat, midwestern version of the Strange Man in Red Dead. Do you see him other than the nightclub or the inoculation clinic? 

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 11:09 PM



I think that a retired cop or...




" I've... I've seen things. I was a cop for 25 years. I've seen me run over by combies. I've seen husbands who just ate their wives, but a gun fight in the disco?"



I thought we were going to see more of this guy, just sorta' popping up almost ominously, kinda like the fat, midwestern version of the Strange Man in Red Dead. Do you see him other than the nightclub or the inoculation clinic? 


I saw him in the nightclub, the favela near the strip club (?) and in the airport bathrooms. I legit thought he was gonna be an unlockable character for single player once you beat the game, or some extra DLC would've been made where you took control of him, chasing down people who eat their wives in the mean streets of Steele, North Dakota.

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