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Why is GTA IV so vague about Niko's origin country?


BennyGod

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BennyGod

Despite the fact that it can be heavily implied that Niko is from Serbia due to the war matching up and the fact he Emails his Mom in Serbian, it is never confirmed. The game dodges his nationality, instead referring to him as vaguely slavic or eastern European. Why is this the case?

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billiejoearmstrong8
Posted (edited)

I think partly to avoid controversy of being seen to take a particular country's side over the conflicts in the Balkans (which is still a sensitive issue in that part of the world), and just to avoid his nationality being a big focus/being made a big deal of and overshadowing more important aspects of his character and the story. From a storytelling point of view the specific country he's from just isn't important. Although he happens to be Serbian many people from many different countries in the region could have similar stories. The country is purposely left vague/not focused on too much because it's not about telling a particular nationality's story or trying to frame any country as good or bad, it's just about Niko's story and making the point that war is horrible for everyone.

 

Btw although he's certainly ethnically Serbian (Roman literally describes the language they're speaking as Serbian in the opening scene of the first mission among other things) he isn't necessarily from Serbia itself. Could be a Bosnian Serb for example. And atrocities happening in his home village makes this likely (since that's much more likely to have happened in other countries not within Serbia). But of course it isn't confirmed either way.

Edited by billiejoearmstrong8
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Anywhere USA

Saying Serbs = Serbians is a messy subject, especially in the day.

 

I will note one thing though. Niko was betrayed ‘10 years ago’. So he was still fighting in 1998, meaning he’s either a Serbian Serb or a North Kosovo Serb

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Magic_Al

Too much specificity is unnecessary, especially when GTA fictionalizes or simplifies every place it references; if Niko's country was physically in the game it would get a fictional name, its map would combine and mix real-life and fictional locations, and references to what it represents from reality would be in the design of the game. Real place names are used for off-screen locations because otherwise people would have no way to know what they're supposed to be.

 

Also, if their research wasn't the greatest, being vague makes it harder to call it out!

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PointlessRedemption

 I like to imagine it's similar to how Capcom keeps the countries vague in RE 4 and RE 8.

 

No, Capcom, we know that's Spain and Romania, don't beat around the bush here.

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