One of the most despised shortcomings of GTA: Vice City is why Tommy Vercetti can’t swim. As the main protagonist, Tommy can drive a helicopter, shoot any gun with marksman-level accuracy, outrun the Five-O, and get away with first-degree murder. But somewhere along the lines, he failed in the swimming part.
Vice City’s townscape is heavily inspired by Miami, Florida. Not being able to swim seems ridiculous for those who played the game. Having said that, there are reasons behind Tommy’s inability to swim, tho they might just frustrate you.
So, Why Tommy Vercetti Can’t Swim?
If you explore Vice City’s waters, you’ll see some sharks. However, these animals are just props for the oceans. Like other marine creatures, Tommy can’t interact with them in any capacity. This means that they can’t hurt him either.
That’s not the most reliable answer you’re expecting, isn’t it? According to GTA: III’s manual, the waters are toxic, which is better, but still not enough of an excuse.
Also, remind yourself that Vice City is a video game. Rockstar devs at that time did all of the programming – from features to its nuances. Instead of incorporating swimming, some lazybones decided that it would be easier to program drowning.
“Why?”, you might ask. Because there are fewer animations to it. Not to mention the effort needed to add more content just to incentivize swimming. Simply put, swimming, for the sake of it, wasn’t worth adding during that time.
Compare that to GTA: Vice City Stories, which took place two years before GTA: Vice City’s events. Those two things haven’t seen any changes in the water from the lore’s perspective. The main difference was that Vice City Stories came out after GTA: San Andreas.
They’ve decided that it was easier to reuse the old code than make another Vice City series from scratch.
Teaching Tommy How To Swim
Naturally, players and fans still want to incorporate the ability to swim in Vice City. Fortunately, there are GTA mods for that. The GTA Series was well-loved by almost everybody because of mod support, and that includes even the less mainstream Vice City.
There’s no cheat code for making Tommy swim, so mods are the only way if you’re really itching for it.
Just think of this, it’s only natural for an 80s man to not want to get his hair and clothing wet. When it comes to swimming, there’s not even an effort to float – he just sinks helplessly. And here I thought polyesters were waterproof.