Wednesday, December 06, 2023
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Babar Azam features in GTA VI?

Fans hyped up after Rockstar Games rolls out GTA VI trailer, confirm game's release in 2025

An illustrative image of Babar Azam depicting him as a character of GTA VI. — Instagram/peshawarzalmipk
An illustrative image of Babar Azam depicting him as a character of GTA VI. — Instagram/peshawarzalmipk

Known for his prowess on the cricket field, Pakistan's former skipper Babar Azam's illustrative image shared by his Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Peshawar Zalmi has led to speculations that the top batter might feature in the much-awaited Grand Theft Auto (GTA) VI.

The 29-year-old batter, famous for his eloquent cover drives, is considered one of the top batsmen in the world and is currently ranked as the second-best one-day international (ODI) batter in the ICC rankings only superseded by India's Shuman Gill dethroned him to secure the top spot in November.

However, Babar — who plays for Peshawar Zalmi — is one of the most sought-after players in the PSL, and his animated picture on the Zalmi's portraying him as a possible GTA VI character led to a frenzy with fans speculating star batter's possible stint in the popular game.

"Jumping on the trend with #GTAVI themed," the caption of the post read, referring to Tuesday's release of the trailer of the highly-anticipated video game scheduled for release in 2025.

However, Babar is not the first sports celebrity who has been subjected to such "transformation" as the excitement for the sixth installment of the GTA series reached new heights with the release of the latest trailer, prompting a fan, Don Shelby, to create GTA-inspired characters of prominent football legends like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Salah and others.

Messi, coincidentally residing in the game's setting, Miami, is portrayed as a brooding loner navigating the Magic City in a bomber jacket. 

On the other hand, Al-Nassr superstar Cristiano Ronaldo transforms into a stylish, medallion-wearing crook sporting retro aviators.

Images like Golden Boy Jude Bellingham appearing as relaxed in the Miami crime scene as he is on the field for Real Madrid showcase the blend of football and gaming cultures.

Noteworthy football figures, including Vinicius Junior, Neymar, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have also transformed into GTA characters. Across its 26-year history, GTA series has become the most profitable entertainment product, with the 2013 edition generating over $7.7 billion (£6.3bn) in sales.

GTA VI craze: Football fans create Vinicius, Jude Bellingham and other football stars GTA characters
GTA VI craze: Football fans create Vinicius, Jude Bellingham and other football stars' GTA characters

GTA has consistently captivated audiences since its debut in 1997, with each new edition eagerly anticipated by fans. Despite struggles to contain leaks of upcoming releases, the fan community has demonstrated remarkable creativity.

GTA VI craze: Football fans create Salah, Neymar Jr and other football stars GTA characters
GTA VI craze: Football fans create Salah, Neymar Jr and other football stars' GTA characters

Looking ahead, while the brilliantly re-imagined football icons won't feature in the 2025 release, GTA will make history by introducing a female lead character. Whether players will have the option to follow MLS' newest star, Messi, at Inter Miami in the game remains an intriguing aspect to be unveiled.