GTA 6 City of the Week is a new 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.
Official word on the game is practically non-existent, but that hasn't stopped the internet from spiraling into wild speculation. The only thing we have to go on is a report from a site reputable enough to make us believe that the game is under development.
Taking the recent announcement made by Take-Two that they will have a major presence at E3 2016, this article series may not be around for too long - in case GTA 6 does get announced at the event!
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Granted, it is entirely possible that the next GTA game will return to a city we've already seen. Until this is confirmed, however, these articles will assume that not to be the case. Many fans are hoping for a new and fresh setting to explore, morphed by the subtle satire characteristic of the series.
For the first entry, we'll take a look at Chicago, the Windy City.
Chicago is situated in the Midwest of the United States, on the shore of Lake Michigan. It is the most populous city of the entire Midwest, making it significant enough to be featured in a numbered entry of the GTA franchise. The metropolitan area around the city itself covers much of Cook County and is extremely varied. This could even lead to a map reminiscent of San Andreas, separated into distinct regions.
Central and Downtown Chicago has an impressive skyline which would lend itself well to the "big city" portion of the map, while the surround areas are a nice mix of urban and suburban, with a touch of countryside here and there, provided you go far enough. GTA maps have always incorporated water to act as a border, so the presence of Lake Michigan could be used for this purpose.
Now, since we are talking about a GTA game, we need to evaluate the city from a criminal point of view as well. In 2012, Chicago had a higher murder rate per 100,000 people than both New York City and Los Angeles. These cities were used as the models for Liberty City and Los Santos, respectively. As of today, violent crime in Chicago can be mainly attributed to gang related turf wars, which fits into the GTA profile perfectly.
While GTA settings usually deviate pretty significantly from the city they are based on, they keep things recognizable by including landmarks. Chicago excels in this aspect as well, with the most iconic landmarks including the Willis Tower, the Chicago Building and the Merchandise Mart. Incorporating the L-train in central Chicago as a fast-travel system would also make the inspiration more recognizable.
Rockstar could take the story of a Chicago based GTA in two directions. Either they could do something new for the franchise and go back in time to the 1920's to the Gangster Era during the prohibition, which would allow for a sufficient GTA-like experience, however there are a few issues with this. At the time, cars were less frequent and varied than they are today. GTA's wide range of different cars is a main gameplay point, the loss of which would be catastrophic. The other main issue is that it would be much too similar to Rockstar's own L.A. Noire and 2K's Mafia franchises.
The other direction would be a gang-war story in modern Chicago, which is more in-line with typical GTA storylines. However, this again brings up a possible issue. Setting an open-world, third person game with a heavy emphasis on crime and cars in modern Chicago? May be just a bit too similar to a particular critically panned game released by Ubisoft that focuses on hacking. You know the one.
Pros: Great geography, Gang-violence and iconic landmarks
Cons: Difficult to distance from other franchises.
If Rockstar manages to give their spin on Chicago enough of a unique personality (and we know they can) the issue of distancing the game from similar franchises is solved. With that out of the way, Chicago would be a prime location for a GTA game.
Which city would you like us to evaluate next week? Vote in the comments!