Sunday, July 31All That Matters

GTA San Andreas still has my favorite open world map design, nearly 20 years later.


GTA San Andreas still has my favorite open world map design, nearly 20 years later.



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35 Comments

  • Philcycles84

    It was a good one. I always thought it too big back in the day, but looking back on it now and how utterly batshit open worlds have gone, it was quite likely the perfect size. The massively varied sections though kept it fresh and fun.

    I remember a mission where I had to fly from the Desert to Mount Chiliad. I screwed up. Flew straight over the army base where they severely damaged one of my wings. Using rudder and patience, I limped to the destination and back…where the bastards damaged my other wing. I killed the engine and coasted onto the runway to complete the mission.

    That’s one of my favourite gaming memories

  • DarkNinjaPenguin

    Drop yourself in any random spot on that map, and you’ll probably be able to figure out in a few seconds where you are because of the environment and architecture, and you’ll remember at least one time you were there in a story mission. It was a wonderfully varied map, yet teeming with character. The GTAV map has huge swathes that just feel barren in comparison.

  • ThirdWorldBoy21

    A cool trick they made, to make the map look’s larger, is the road design.
    Because of the low render distance at the time, they make the roads do a lot of unecessary curves, creating a feeling that the map is bigger because of how much time it takes to go from one place to another.
    This feeling is completly destroyed if you have a bigger render distance.

  • SellusGravius

    This is one of the last games I can remember where there were sort of rumours and mysteries of things people discovered or were hunting for. Like how everyone believed that somewhere in the game you could find Bigfoot, or Leatherface or something and people spent ages trying to find stuff.

  • TheJester1xx

    I played SA when I was a kid, like 10 years old. I used to go into the forests for hours at a time searching for Bigfoot, because there were a ton of rumors that you could find him out there. Amazing how easy it was for me to be entertained

  • starving_to_death

    Being able to customize CJs appearance and the gang war to get control of the whole city are some of my fondest memories.

  • Other-Barry-1

    Agreed. I loved how we got 3 different cities and environments that felt totally different to each other. Honestly, what a great game SA was.

  • sliferisreal

    i remember driving my sultan to the san fierro tuning station all the time. felt like road trips, good old times

  • aurorasummers

    I loved racing up that mountain, with 5 stars, while Free Bird played on the radio… Making the jump at the top during the finale of the song.

    Those were the days…

  • Bar_Sinister

    Looking at this I remember how they had certain sections blocked off until you finished certain missions, how did the off-track betting in one of the little towns north of Los Santos, the mission where I had to ride the bike onto the plane as it took off, waiting until night to enter Las Venturas the first time, finding that heavy weapon spawn in the underground garage and using it for all the territory battles, and just how innovative and encompassing it all felt.

    I don’t remember some of the smaller towns, so now I want to go back and see.

  • JVOz671

    I really felt cheated when GTA V came along. I knew the original San Andreas like the back of nlmy hand and then they took everything away.

  • unit5421

    This is the biggest map, in terms of feeling.

    GTA V has a bigger map but it feels smaller. The main thing is the diversity in the map.
    GTA V had 1 city, 1 town and 1 mountain.
    San Andreas had a desert, 3 towns, mountains, 1 big mountain and more.

  • tookiemon

    The only flaw about this map is how they did nothing with the upper left town except having the boating school there. Always thought it was a very unique little place in san andreas and you dont even go there during a mission.

  • WhitePackaging

    I was just talking to a friend about how heart broken I was when GTA Vs map was released. The San Andreas map is extremely well done, especially for its time. Major props to the developers and the mapping team.

  • drlqnr

    i love travelling from city to city. feels like a road trip.

    i hate how it’s square though. but i get why they did it that way

  • ChimpskyBRC

    I loved this game and this map, and I’m still impressed at how well a Scottish* game studio were able to model three of the most iconic West Coast cities and their surrounding regions given the size and graphical limitations of the time.

    * and then just to show off they stuck a Firth of Forth Bridge in there too

  • MinnesotanMan2014

    I remember my mind being blown when I left the city and there was ANOTHER CITY?

    Pretty small by today’s standards but this game felt huge when I was a kid

  • PentaChicken

    Had so many little gimmicks too like the “Little Ale-In” with all those UFO pics.

    Remember playing this game in like 2012 because my PC was too shit to run anything past 2007-ish.
    Even had an external multiplayer called SAMP or something if I remember correctly. Cops and robbers was dope with the boys back then.

  • zorenic

    An entire state, five counties, three cities, 10 towns/villages, and dozens of farms and industrial buildings. San Andreas really looked like it could sustain itself and it was really immersive. Absolutely way ahead of its time. Travelling from one place to the other really felt like a road trip.

    No other open world game could scratch that itch for me but Witcher 3 comes pretty close

  • ScumLikeWuertz

    I remember thinking at the time, “Wow, so many games in the future will have multiple cities in them and if you eat too much you get fat, or if you work out you get buff” and none of that shit happened

  • Piccoroz

    I know gta 5 is bigger, but really felt more empty cause of the lack of las venturas and really lot of inaccesible buildings.

  • Vegan_Puffin

    Still the best GTA and it is not even close. GTA V is far inferior. Besids better graphics it fails in practically every other area compared to San Andreas

  • YawnfaceDM

    Speaking of SA, has there been any improvement to the remasters? A patch or update that made them more playable? I’m itching to go back to SA.

  • cgtdream

    Anyone else used to just hit the highway and drive around with the music playing? That right there was like soulfood to me, and honestly still is.

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