The Grand Theft Auto games have always reveled in cinematic references, styling themselves extensively after beloved Hollywood crime flicks. And while the games’ tones have often veered in the direction of the violent, stylistic excesses of Scarface, it’s hard to deny that more cerebral crime dramas have also made their mark, especially as Rockstar Games’ scripts have become increasingly interested in the difficulties their characters face when they try to escape a life of violence. And so it’s fitting that the people behind YouTube channel 8-Bit Bastards have released their own homage to one of the most successful psychological crime dramas of the 21st century, The Sopranos, by recreating its iconic opening sequence in Grand Theft Auto V.
As “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3 pounds in the background, a Tony Soprano lookalike makes his evening drive home via a simulated Lincoln Tunnel. Watching the video side-by-side with the original, as in the comparison video below, you can see just how much effort the creators put into matching the color palette and rhythms of the original. Even where certain images are different (mostly due to the game’s West Coast setting), the feeling of trapped animal tension that always marked the show’s jittery, claustrophobic opening remains.