Ratman
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The Ratman Cometh…

Video game urban myths are a particularly interesting area for me, from Polybius to the pit full of copies of E.T., I’m constantly on the lookout for the next grain of truth encased in layers of falsity. As I was thinking about what to write next, I remembered the story of the Ratman, a possible denizen of Grand Theft Auto IV’s subway systems.

Although this story first came to light as a result of a grainy photo of somebody’s television, it could be the case that his tale actually begins in the third game in the series. Darkel was a character who was originally intended to feature in the third iteration, taking the form of a street urchin with the intention of bringing down Liberty Cities corrupt society, kind of like Bane, in fact. He was removed before release and, as a result, not a lot is known about his fate within the game’s canon. This has led some to believe that he and the Ratman from GTA IV are one and the same, a later manifestation of a character who has begun to adapt to his surroundings. The issue with this, for those that don’t know, is that the Grand Theft Auto games actually take place in three distinct universes – the 2D, 3D and HD universes. GTA III and GTA IV take place in the 3D and HD respectively, and Rockstar has already confirmed that there is no crossover at all, in either characters or story.

Ratman
The most well known image of Ratman (apologies for the quality)

So, with that, we have to assume that the purported arrival of the foreboding figure has to be in GTA IV. So what evidence is there to say that he actually exists and isn’t just another fleeting footnote in the list of things people have lied about on the internet? In actuality, there may be more than we think that suggests he could be more real than I feel comfortable with. In the subway tunnels of Algonquin, multiple pools of orange blood can be found dotted around, perhaps a sign of an injury to the creature. As well as this, a number of references to rats appear in-game, including the Mayor’s intention to flood the subway tunnels because of an infestation, and an advert from a pharmaceutical company for human lab rats.

Which leads me on to the next point of coverage, what exactly is Ratman. Some say that he is literally a half-man half-rat hybrid, stalking those unfortunate enough to come across him. He could also be a run-of-the-mill, if considerably more terrifying than normal, homeless person, forever altered by his uniquely harsh surroundings. Further evidence of his existence is few and far between and, whilst sightings in GTA V have occurred, they are much less common than they were in the fourth edition of the game. For now, we don’t know of his existence for certain, but next time you’re traversing a virtual sewer, keep your wits about you.

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