Title card: The Grand Theft Auto 6 Sunscreen Mystery. Fade in: Interior. A detective’s office. Shutters keep the glow of street lamps at bay. A lone figure paces around the room, kicking away cans of empty aerosol sunscreen that spill from an overflowing trash bin. They mutter to themself as they light up a cigarette. On a corkboard we see a map of Miami beach broadwalk, and a diagram charting the course of the Atlantic Coast sun. They’re close. They can taste it.
This is what I can only assume took place at the residence of Reddit user ficerc, who has written an investigation into the exact SPF factor being used in a short, two-second clip from Grand Theft Auto 6‘s recent trailer by a throwaway NPC with zero relevance to the story. Aha, a throwaway joke, you might think—you’d be wrong.
Ficerc’s thread on the game’s subreddit, titled: “What SPF sunscreen is being used in the GTA VI trailer? An in-depth analysis” has a level of research I can only describe as ‘obscene’.
“At this point, I’m sure we’ve all noticed the guy applying sunscreen in the new GTA VI trailer and thought, ‘What SPF are they wearing?'” writes ficerc, in the first of many assumptions that carry the rest of their essay. “Get ready for some SPF speculation—it’s gaming meets skincare investigation time!”
The first step in their investigation is to consult a table from Banana Boat—that’s a sunscreen company in the US, by the way. Though ficerc seems to think this is elementary, my dear Watson. “Although any mildly competent sunscreen enthusiast knows this table by heart, I will include it for any who may have forgotten.”
Using this, they quickly determine the sunbather’s skin tone by cross-referencing it with the Fitzpatrick Skin Score, which was developed in 1975 by a dermatologist of the same name—though the scale’s come under criticism for failing to properly take into account the skin cancer risk of Black demographics. They then combine this with Von Luschan’s chromatic scale (which was used in Nazi Germany for the purposes of eugenics) to create a bespoke table they can properly compare with Banana Boat’s resources.
Stepping to the side of an otherwise masterclass shitpost: I feel like I should properly highlight that both these tables come from unsavoury places, which is unfortunate. I’d wager there was no harm intended—ficerc is trying to determine the SPF of sunscreen as a joke, and their original source (the Banana Boat table) is designed to help people avoid skin cancer risk (and sell sunscreen, though two things can be true at once). Still, it’s worth noting.
In a feat of numbers sorcery, they compare their new table to the NPC from the trailer and figure out that she most likely has the “dark skin tone”, which Banana Boat recommends a SPF of 8-14 for one hour spent outdoors at the low end, and an SPF of 30 at the high end. “Now comes the tricky part.” Now?
The second half of the puzzle involves ficerc determining how many hours this NPC plans to stay outdoors—and to avoid spoilers (which this thing is big enough to have) I’m just going to link the thread here for your full perusal. It involves charting the course of the Miami Sun.
This is an enormous amount of dedication given to a shitpost—does a random NPC’s sunscreen SPF have any bearing on GTA 6’s plotline? No, not at all. I doubt this is even something the devs have thought about, and Rockstar is infamously detail-oriented. Not ficerc, though. They’re dedicated to the truth, by any means necessary.
I’ll leave you with this comment, which I think sums up my feelings on this whole thing better than I can myself. One user writes: “As you scroll, the sad realisation that this must have taken hours to make starts to overshadow the satire of it.” ’nuff said, BeerShitzAndBongRips, ’nuff said.