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Back Seats are Just for Show

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"We need a four door car! What're ya' gonna do about dat, buddy?"
A friend of a man who you need to take to the hospital, Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven

A video game trope where cars with two doors are only able to carry two people. Never mind if it is a four or six seat hardtop, or even a two door station wagon/SUV. It appears that the back seats are just for show. This trope makes it that if you even need to carry more than one other person, you need a four door car.


The reasoning behind this trope is basically developer laziness. It's extra work to program and animate a passenger getting in and out of the back seat through the front door, including the driver/front-seat passenger getting out of the way first — a lot of work for a situation that is very rare in the games it can show up in.

Note: This trope can only apply to a game with vehicles where you need to carry two others at any time — it is not this trope in games where you would never need to use the back seat in the first place, two-door car or otherwise, or for Real Life automobiles where the back seats are severely cramped.



  • The first two Saints Row games avert this partially in that two-door four-seat convertibles can have rear passengers (they hop over the side), but two-door four-seat coupes can't, using this trope. Unlike other titles in the same genre, if you have more followers they will independently hijack enough cars to carry themselves and follow you rather than be left behind.
  • The Saboteur works the same as Saints Row.
  • Pick any Grand Theft Auto game. Most noticeable in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, with the recruitable gang members. The "number of doors equals number of passengers" -rule also applies in a broader sense. Trucks, semis, and cargo helicopters only have one passenger door, so only one NPC can ride along. The big business jets can't carry passengers at all, and neither can any boats no matter how many seats they have; when passengers ride along on boats for activities in IV, they load on and off in a cutscene. The Maverick helicopter is the only air vehicle that has four doors, and thus can carry three NPCs. Tanks would need multiple crew members to operate in reality, but no one else can come along if you take one. Vehicles like the Stretch limo and the various ambulances and vans look like they could fit more, but stop at four because of the door limit.
    • This is improved in Grand Theft Auto V with regards to planes. Generally speaking, if a plane looks like it should be able to carry more than 2 people, it can; an example of this is the Buckingham Shamal, a business jet — in previous games it was only able to carry a pilot and one passenger, whereas in GTA5 it can carry up to 10 people.
  • Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven and Mafia II
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  • True Crime: Streets of L.A.
  • In Halo 3, the troop carrier Warthog's back seats are only available for AI Marines, forcing the other two players in a four player co-op session to take another vehicle. This could make a bit of sense, considering MJOLNIR Mark VI armor weighs half a ton and Elites are quite heavy in their armor too; having that much weight in the back might break something.
  • Driver: Parallel Lines and Driv3r
  • This is why all the taxis in Crazy Taxi are convertibles.
  • The Godfather and the sequel.
  • The Simpsons: Hit & Run
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours
  • Inverted in The Sims, where any number of people can climb into a car that clearly only has enough seats for two.
  • Similarly, in Syndicate, cars have two doors, but will accommodate as many people as necessary.
  • Subverted in Sleeping Dogs with one mission where you pick up two girls while in a sports car; one gets in the back in a cutscene and the game proceeds as normal. Played straight everywhere else, although you rarely have to transport more than one person at a time anyway, and in the one exception they already have an SUV picked out.


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