Why GTA Games Don’t Use Pagers Anymore (But Might For GTA 6)

Debuting in the first Grand Theft Auto, pagers were an important part of GTA games. However, recent entries haven’t used pagers at all. Here’s why.

Pagers have been an important part of Grand Theft Auto games for decades. Introduced in the very first GTA, pagers were a way to receive important text messages about missions and served as a stopwatch for keeping track of deadlines. Over the years, pagers in the games have started to disappear – and they aren’t in current entries like Grand Theft Auto V at all. There are actually several reasons why pagers are no longer a part of GTA games, though.

The pager found in the classic Grand Theft Auto III, known as the Sumo Wordman, was a way to get information about missions and receive updates on what new weapons might be available at Ammunation. The pager was also featured in Grand Theft Auto Advance, and despite a short reintroduction in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, it’s been largely missing from all recent entries in the franchise.

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Related: GTA Controversy Timeline: A History Of The Series’ Outrages

The pager stopped being an important tool when Grand Theft Auto: Vice City released. Tommy Vercetti became GTA’s first talking protagonist in series history, so there wasn’t really a need for pagers to display text anymore since characters could talk. Instead, much like in real life, the pager was replaced with a cell phone. Tommy didn’t need a pager when all he had to do was answer the phone, and a mobile phone served as a great replacement device for the pager in terms of gameplay.

Why Pagers May Return In Grand Theft Auto 6

Grand Theft Auto 3

A talking protagonist isn’t the only reason pagers have disappeared from the Grand Theft Auto series. It’s also because the GTA timeline has moved into a more modern era, one where cell phones are common and pagers are outdated. So, from both a storytelling and gameplay perspective, pagers just don’t make a lot of sense anymore.

However, pagers could return to GTA if a new entry takes place in the past. Pagers were gone from Vice City but reappeared in Vice City Stories, because it took place in 1984 when pagers were more appropriate and cell phones would have been anachronistic. If GTA 6‘s timeline is in the past, especially in a time period before cell phone technology existed, then characters using pagers again would make a lot of sense.

Unless a future Grand Theft Auto game is set in the past, pagers are unlikely to return to the series. It’s just an outdated form of technology, and cell phones make more sense both from a gameplay and storytelling perspective. For now, it seems like pagers are just a distant memory in the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

Next: How GTA 5’s Grove Street Compares To GTA: San Andreas

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Updated: January 7, 2021 — 9:54 pm

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