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The first game is not set in 2003 as we know it.

Numerous reviewers commented on the retro-futuristic atmosphere of the first game: the setting is reminiscent of Escape from New York, while the music owes a great deal to it and other films by John Carpenter. And of course, the very premise presupposes some kind of violent, lawless society. Yet incidental dialogue in the last mission makes it abundantly clear that the game is meant to be set in 2003. Perhaps the game is actually set in an Alternate History or something to that effect.

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  • Or it's simply set in the Grand Theft Auto III universe, which is already hinted at in both games. Police are mind-numbingly corrupt and/or ineffective, gangs rule just about everything, cars explode when they take enough damage, and the average schmo is too scared or dumb to really do anything about it.

Daniel would regain his memories when he gets to his new place.

Well, I wouldn't want him to lose his memories forever. One thing for sure is that when he sees his two kids again in the new place, he'll get his memories.

  • Are you sure that sending Daniel back to his kids is a good idea? Leo's ending implies that Daniel's son witnessed what he thought was his father murdering his mother.
    • They have brainwashing technology. Take what Leo is supposed to look like, make the kids convinced that Leo killed their mom and Dad had to be away for a while to stop Leo.

James Earl Cash, Daniel Lamb, and Leo Kasper are all Assassins.
All of them are innately good at stealth and murdering unsuspecting targets, and all fight against conspiracies involving the government (albeit none as grand as the one Desmond and his ancestors fight).
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Hell, the Pickman Project, which gave Daniel his Leo split-personality, was strictly meant for the training of "Assassins"!
  • Naturally, this would make Lionel Starkweather and Dr. Pickman Templars, albeit either being very low on the food chain, or simply lowest-bid independent contractors for some of the Templar's "experiments" (such as controlling all of Carcer City's gangs through "Valiant Video Enterprises", or training Templars with the skills of Assassins through the Pickman Project, which would hopefully being untraceable by any other Assassins that capture and interrogate "successful" subjects of the project.

Carcer City is in Alderney.
Alderney is the gta version of new jersey and the hoods speak with jersey accents, not to mention it's been said that Carcer City is near Liberty City.

James Earl Cash was a Professional Killer before his execution.
As mentioned in the above explanation, Cash is an expert in stealth-based murder. But in addition to this, he shows no real emotion whenever he kills someone, but also lacks any remorse in doing so. He is also well-trained in firearms, which would be a necessity for any professional killer, and displays enough brute strength to get himself out of a sticky situation if his stealth fails him. This would also explain why he has few qualms with following orders to kill. Finally, he is named after James Earl Ray, who assassinated Martin Luther King in real life, and his last name is a synonym for currency, which is the motive for many assassins.

Starkweather is interested in Cash because of the crime(s) that got him put on death row.
At the game's outset, Starkweather sees a great deal of potential in Cash as a snuff star. It's not immediately obvious why he's so intrigued by Cash... that is, until we consider that Cash was a death row inmate. Contrary to popular perception, it's very rare for someone to be sentenced to death in America. The decision to pursue it in court is only reserved for the most severe felonies, usually murder cases in which there were one or more aggravating factors (IE, premeditation, prior offenses,
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the motivation of financial gain, if the victim was a child, etc). Even then, inmates often wait decades due to the many appeals involved in the death sentence, sometimes prematurely dying of disease or natural causes. Whatever it was that Cash did, it must have been truly ghastly if he was being executed after a mere three years.note  Considering how jaded Starkweather is to violence, Cash had to have done something real bad to impress the director.
  • Might be worth considering that Starkweather has a great deal of control over Carcer City, so he might have just been browsing through death row inmates for new candidates, spotted a particularly brutal inmate, and pulled some strings to have him both executed prematurely/have his death faked to have a star for his latest snuff film.

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