GTA 6 City of the Week is a weekly article series here on GTA BOOM. Every week, we will evaluate a different city in the United States, gauging how well it would fit GTA 6 as a setting.
Sticking to the east coast of the United States, we'll be looking at a city today which is closely entwined with the gaming industry. Boston is the location where the annual PAX East gaming convention is held. PAX has outgrown its humble roots and became one of the biggest and most influential gaming events in the world, rivaling the likes of E3 and Gamescom.
There are various PAX events held all across the USA and even abroad in Australia. Like E3, these conventions are used by publishers and developers to show off new trailers for their upcoming games in order to generate publicity. However, while generally E3 is used for big reveals, PAX showcases new features or gameplay presentations and trailers for hyped-up games soon to be released that have already been unveiled.
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Considering how big a buzz there is around E3 this year concerning Rockstar's possible big reveal, the topic of gaming conventions is hot right now anyway. For all we know all Rockstar will show us at E3 soon is a short cinematic trailer, or not even that - they might just tease us with an official statement as to what the next project for them will be. If they even have one, that is.
This means that we might only get a glimpse of gameplay from their next project at this year's PAX. Let's just hope they have something interesting to show.
For all we know, it could be some spicy gameplay footage of the next GTA game set in Boston. Will the city that was crucial in the birth of the nation be a good virtual playground for a Grand Theft Auto game, or should it be left where it excels - history?
After the relatively small and "short" city of Washington D.C., Boston has much more of your typical urban sprawl that many people have come to expect from large American cities. It truly has that big-city feel that is essential for any GTA game map, with a high-rise downtown area, neat suburbs, poorer neighborhoods, bridges and so on.
Boston serves as the capital of Massachusetts and with the metropolitan area providing permanent residents to nearly 5 million people, is the largest city in New England.
In terms of geography, Boston lends itself perfectly to a GTA game - namely, much of it sits on a peninsula and even the surrounding areas are mainly congregated on the coast. Making a map based on the city in a way that it is surrounded by water from ever direction would not be much of a challenge - and realism would be ensured.
The larger metropolitan area around Boston is sufficiently varied to prevent the game map from becoming homogeneous and boring. Even the city itself is refreshing and colorful. This is mainly attributed to the city's historical significance. Due to the heritage of many older buildings, they have been preserved, even in the downtown area. Thus, seeing an old 18th century building sitting next to a massive, looming skyscraper isn't anything to be surprised about in this city.
It is also dotted with green areas, however not in the same way as Portland. Instead of massive parks, Boston has several smaller green zones sprinkled around the city, therefore they don't impede travel by car. The bridges are perfect for district boundaries as seen in GTA III, San Andreas and IV. There is enough variation between districts for Rockstar to create several areas with their own atmosphere, making the world feel sufficiently expansive. The city has earned the nickname "City of Neighborhoods" seeing as there are over 23, varied and diverse such areas officially designated.
"Unfortunately", the extremely well coordinated cooperation between the Boston PD, the District Attorney and the neighborhood watch groups has managed to lower the crime rate in the city drastically. In 2015, there were a total of 39 homicides in the city.
There is limited gang activity in the city, but it is pretty low-tier. If anything, white-collar crime is more prevalent in Boston than aggravated assault and other violent crimes. Making the streets of virtual Boston sufficiently mean for a GTA game might not help players with suspending their disbelief.
Boston is as strong in this regard as D.C., pretty much. With countless historical sites related to the American Revolution - kind of a big thing, seeing as it lead to the country existing - result in countless landmarks to be found even in the downtown area.
Besides the historical landmarks, the city is filled with more recent structures of note. The Boston City Hall is one of the most well known examples of brutalist architecture and an extremely imposing and iconic building. Boston also has its fair share of stadiums, such as the home field of the legendary Red Sox baseball team.
Boston is home to several world-famous universities and schools, each of which have well known and recognizable buildings which could be adapted for the game's map.
Seeing as GTA is grounded in modern (or at the very least 80's) setting, it would be hard to capitalize on the rich history of the city. Plus, Assassin's Creed III already did that, and being associated with that particular installment of the franchise may not be the best marketing.
Even if not a whole story concept, it would be fun to see PAX weaved into the game somehow. At some point in the story a gaming convention (with a sufficiently satirical, Rockstar-style name) would take place in the city and the player's target would be somewhere on the grounds. However, the target is cosplaying as a popular character, so he/she isn't the only one dressed like that. The player must also wear a costume to smuggle in a weapon. You'd then need to find the target during the convention, with all kinds of shenanigans like fans wanting to take pictures with you and the like.
Either that, or the game could focus on a new gang rising in town who are obsessed with references to the American Revolution and think that it's time for another one. The player is the leader/member of another gang who at first simply oppose the "revolutionaries" but are later drawn into a stupidly convoluted conspiracy situation with them trying to overthrow the government. However, that isn't very "GTA".
Pros: Beneficial geography, variety, recognition.
Cons: Low crime, not too great story potential.
As a city, Boston may make a great open world game map, but as a setting for GTA, it may not be the best fit. If Rockstar comes up with a good enough story that isn't particularly tied to the city and is liberal with the crime levels, Boston could work well. However if they try to stay true to what the city is like, the game would be a tad too peaceful for GTA. While the city is nicely varied and littered with landmarks, it has a lot more potential for historical stories.
Would you like to see a GTA game set in Boston? What other city would you suggest for evaluation?