My trip to the Free City on the GTA 5 role-playing server is like an episode of Black Mirror

The city never sleeps. Or say. Or take your eyes off yourself.I killed people in cold blood. I was stabbed and left to die. I served in Bolingbroke Prison. The exploits of my GTA 5 role are almost always successful. But they had nothing on my recent bone-chilling trip to Liberty City.

FiveM's i Luv LC is a map being developed that gives GTA 4's artificial New York City a molting. Its textures are sharper, its world is brighter and its streets have car models and characters of Grand Theft Auto 5. It's also partly broken — it could be roads collapsing beneath you, cars rushing through walls, or pop-ins causing you to deviate.

Here, I am taking a dip beneath Algonquin after a sudden path was given way:So why do you have to persevere with a playground that will immerse you in the West River as soon as it will let you explore? Because when it works, it looks gorgeous.
It may be ten years old, but the Free City of GTA 4 is still my favorite game world in the series. And while I've always been convinced that its dull and lumpy 2008 aesthetic has made it so charming, it looks a lot nicely more reflective of today's standards. As if combined together with saliva and glue, there is also something about running the glove of this map that appeals to me; that this world is not built for you and can throw you out whenever it desires.

Worse, it can switch itself to the same surveillance state as Orwell, where NPCs track your every move. That's when things go a little Black Mirror.

In a particular play, I started with a drink. I swam to a row of floating stairs, pulled myself out of the Humboldt River and into China street. The streets are deserted next to a handful of abandoned cars - both in the middle of the road and parked on the sidewalk. Steam rises from a manhole on Albany Avenue, giving the street its original Silent Hill-style charm. In the top left corner of the screen, the server log shows other players are online, but I feel very alone.
After trying several cars, I finally found one that had been unlocked. His alarm sounded as I sat down in the driver's seat, and his engine sounded as I tried to start the engine. That's not good. I was tinkering with his radio, but nothing but static. This is becoming strange.

Walking, I reached City Hall, where I met my first NPC team. I freeze. Their bodies look rigid and unnatural, like mannequins. When I walked left, they turned their heads to face me. When I double back to the right, they do the same — like one of those terrifying ancient portraits where their eyes appear to track your movement.
I then walked to the corner of Liberty Lane and Diamond Street and confronted a female NPC. Similar to others, her arm is directed straight downwards, away from the waist, fixed like a ginger biscuit.
"You are wasting our time! Taxi! Hi! He's attacking me! My dad's a lawyer, you know!"
The NPC's dialogue was clearly faulty, but hearing these lines in serial - at a black distance from an emotionless bye-bye - made me shiver. I stepped back and circled through the NPC. Her gaze followed. I went further down the street and heard her interrupted, interrupted voice ringing out in the distance.

"Get out! Get out now!
I decided to go to Castle Garden City, which overlooks the Statue of Happiness of the Free City. I've overcome several other NPC groups, each of which has made the habit of stopping and staring as before. Their empty, always fixed look reminds me of black mirror's White Bear — and although this is the longest episode I've survived in FiveM's I Luv LC without being stopped by its broken world, I hardly enjoy myself. Honestly, I was terrified. I tried another car. Again, nothing but static radio.
I got to the beach and things are still getting weirder. Happy Island looks like it's protected by towering metal plates, while dozens of NPCs look out to the water — most of them sitting on what appears to be an invisible bench. It is expected that more NPCs will make me foul-eyed. I was physical with a few of them if there was no chance they could fight back, but instead, they were crumbling to the floor.

And as soon as I was going to call it a decommissioning, I finally got a car and ran. Still no radio, but this is something. As I pulled out the main road, the waves began to overlap the highway. Because of course they did.
Unable to escape my flooded trip, I escaped the game. I sat silently for a few seconds, absorbing what had just happened. I activated my luv LC again, and it definitely loaded as usual. I got out and re-joined. And so is it. I got out and re-joined. Same again.

A few months later, I have yet to recreate the strange and wonderful adventure as the Black Mirror unfolded above. I've logged back in a few times since then in the vague hope that it will bug again, but at the moment it's more stable than ever. Of course, it's a work for map creators —and I'm also looking forward to joining LC's attractions while visiting its LS-inspired world when it's finished.

But part of me would like to re-visit that dysfunctional, distorted vision of the Free City, no matter how much that has worried me before. However, it seems I luv LC has many ways to go. Perhaps there is still hope for my return.