One of Grand Theft Auto‘s least subtle jabs at American culture is Donald Love, clearly a reference to Donald Trump, the real estate magnate and now ex-President of the United States. One might assume Love would be more relevant than ever in 2021 – yet there’s barely been any sign of him since 2005’s Liberty City Stories. The reality is that he faded out of the series’ storyline in an ambiguous way, one that could theoretically let him return in GTA 6.
Summing up Love is a little difficult – there’s even some prologue in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – but he rises to prominence in Liberty City not just through real estate but the ownership of Love Media, a conglomerate that eventually owns newspapers, TV channels, and hundreds of radio stations, including some of the ones players can listen to in GTA 3. At some point he enters a mayoral race, using gangland ties to both rig the election and feed his cannibalism habit. Though he loses the election and temporarily goes bankrupt, he bounces back and even starts opening casinos. The seeds of his later disappearance come as he recruits the Columbian Cartel to help redevelop Fort Staunton.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
In Grand Theft Auto 3, a mysterious ally of Love’s known only as the Old Oriental Gentleman is kidnapped by the Cartel. The player’s character is hired for a rescue operation and several other anti-Cartel missions, culminating in securing a package for the Gentleman, who soon after disappears with Love. The two are never heard from again – the only later references are GTA 4 and Grand Theft Auto 5 newspapers with the headline “Love’s Hate Relationship With Taxes,” and a star in the latter game’s Vinewood Walk of Fame calling Love a “television personality,” according to GTA Wiki. Donald Trump is, of course, famous for starring on The Apprentice, but infamous for his tax dealings.
Will Donald Love Be In GTA 6?
Developers at Rockstar briefly touched on the topic in a 2009 Q&A, claiming that “no one is quite sure what happened to Donald Love,” except that he “certainly crossed a few boundaries and was trying to find a way back to normality.” That would seem to leave the door open for a comeback in Grand Theft Auto 6’s release – though to keep the character as a parallel to Trump there would have to be a lot of biographical gaps filled in, not to mention plenty of in-game references added.
Really, it’s almost certain that Grand Theft Auto 6 will include references to Love or even Trump himself. The series has always been focused on satirizing American culture, and in several ways Trump has left a deep mark in American politics and society. Whether or not Love might appear in missions is more debatable, but as of right now it appears like not even Rockstar knows what the character’s eventual fate will be in the Grand Theft Auto series.
Next: Why GTA 6 Won’t Be Rockstar’s Half-Life 3
Ana de la Reguera Interview: Army of the Dead