GTA V: Welcome to Pala Springs (And no, that’s not a typo)

August 16th, 2013 | by Brett Kelman | Comments

It now seems almost certain that Palm Springs – excuse me, “Pala Springs” – lies somewhere in the digital world of Grand Theft Auto V, an upcoming blockbuster video game.

The majority of the game takes place in an alternate version of Los Angeles, known as “Los Santos,” but also features large stretches of landscape meant to represent more of southern California. As the Sept. 17 release date has grown closer, a growing collection of clues have suggested that that GTA V will include Palm Springs.

The strongest piece of evidence came earlier this week, when the company behind GTA V, Rockstar Games, released a slew of new images. The following image was meant to illustrate the wide variety of activities available in the game.

Pala Springs

Now take a closer look.

Pala Springs2

So not only does this bizarro-version of Palm Springs exist, but it also includes its own mountainside tram. (Also, I want to give a special thanks to Shawn Quinn, a reader who first alerted me to the “Pala Springs” brochure image, available here. )

This is not the only clue that Palm Springs could appear in GTA V. Over the last few weeks, I’ve combed through screenshots and game trailers in search of evidence that the game would come to the Coachella Valley.

Several GTA V trailers have featured footage of a windmill field on the edge of a highway in a desert region. The scene looks strikingly similar to the windmills near Interstate-10 north of Palm Springs.

Look familiar? The top photo is a screenshot from a GTA V trailer.


Rockstar has already confirmed that GTA V includes a location called the “Alamo Sea,” which is a less-than-flattering parody of the Salton Sea. On the edge of the Alamo Sea sits the desert town of “Sandy Shores,” which also seems eerily familiar.The top photo is a GTA V trailer screenshot. The bottom photo is real.

Have you found any more evidence that local landmarks will be featured in GTA V? Check out the latest trailer for clues.

Education reporter Brett Kelman is also a shameless fan of video games. He can be reached on the phone at (760) 778-4642, through email at and through Twitter @TDSbrettkelman.

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