GTA 6 City Of The Week: Philadelphia

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.

GTA V News Recap

While it is extremely unlikely that Rockstar will unveil any info related to GTA VI during this year's E3, the fact that the expo is almost upon us has us a tad worried about the longevity of this article series.

Some of the pre-E3 (because that is a thing now) reveals and presentations have already run their course in preparation for the convention proper, with a few of them having been leaked a bit early. Ubisoft's Watch_Dogs 2 trailer got leaked a few hours before official reveal, for example.

While there are plenty of leaks regarding GTA Online DLC making the rounds, no information about what Rockstar will be showing off at the expo has slipped the net. This hasn't, of course, stopped anyone from engaging in wild speculation.

Red Dead 3 is looking to be the most likely candidate, based on a leaked screenshot as well as common sense. Agent has probably been canned, the company is already in control of too many IPs and the other franchises just didn't enjoy the kind of mainstream appeal that would warrant a revival.

However things have been pretty busy in the present as well. The biggest GTA Online DLC to date, Further Adventures in Finance and Felony launched earlier this week. While the update added a number of new features, the launch wasn't without its bumps and trips.

Even so, soon the eyes of the community will be turned towards E3. Let's see how likely it is that we'll see the skyline of the following city when the reveal trailer of GTA VI is shown, if it is at all.



Philadelphia is the largest city (being a city-county hybrid of sorts, due to its size) in Pennsylvania on the east coast of the USA. The city itself doesn't lie on the shore of the North Atlantic, rather on the west bank of the Delaware river which cuts off the New Jersey pseudo-peninsula from the main landmass. The river provides the city with sea-access via Delaware bay, however the urban sprawl that formed around Philadelphia connects it to most New Jersey ports.

The city is the fifth largest in the whole country, with the entire metropolitan area accounting for over 7 million souls. Philly, as it has become lovingly known across the globe, is the only World Heritage City in the entire USA and is home to several country "firsts". Philadelphia houses the first US zoo, medical school, business school, library, hospital and stock exchange. We probably also should mention that Philly was the first capitol of the United States of America following the Revolutionary War as well.

Philadelphia is surrounded by various historic settlements, with intermittent patches of nature dotting the landscape. Nearby locations such as Camden and Cherry Hill, as well as countless more would provide the guys over at Rockstar with plenty of urban locations other than the main city with which to dot the map.


The close proximity of Atlantic City would potentially give them the chance to include two main cities, instead of just one as seen in GTA 5. The two cities would allow for variety, and the space in between could act as the non-urban, natural "outdoors" section of the map. Adding Atlantic City to the mix would also bring in the Atlantic Ocean, giving Rockstar their natural border to wrap around the map.

However, these articles tend to focus on one city, so let's stick to Philly, shall we? The Delaware and Schuylkill rivers provide excellent borders to wall off districts of the city, and the large urban sprawl is varied enough to make the map interesting. Philadelphia, especially the downtown area, is pretty advanced, giving you that big city feel, however you don't need to go far if you're hurting for a more country-like feeling.


Philly has immense historic significance for the USA, even more so possibly than Boston.  This was the city where the declaration of independence and the constitution were both penned. The city was the meeting place of the Founding Fathers and several important battles were fought nearby.


Violent crime isn't particularly rampant in Philadelphia, however there is plenty of it to warrant for the kind of violence you'd expect from a GTA game. There were almost 16,000 occurrences of reported violent crimes in the city in 2014, with a total of 248 murders in the same year.


Robbery and aggravated assault are also pretty frequent, of course depending on which area of the city you are in. Philly isn't exactly known for gang activity, but there are quite a few active ones in open conflict with one another.

Philadelphia has also become a major economic center, with a bustling downtown business area and several HQs for Fortune 1000 companies. As such, white-collar crime is pretty high in the city, which seems to fit GTA's new direction, as dictated by Executives and Other Criminals and Further Adventures in Finance and Felony.



It seems that the cities we evaluate in these articles fall into one of two categories: extremely iconic or not iconic at all, with no middle ground. Philadelphia decidedly falls into the first category, with countless historic sites and buildings of national importance.


The First Bank, Independence Hall, Elfreth's Alley, Congress Hall, the City Hall, The Washington Monument (not the white pillar, that's in D.C.) and the National Constitution Center are all within this city. Foreign players with merely an ounce of knowledge about American history will recognize countless landmarks in the city.

Potential Story

With the obvious historic significance of the city, the best venue for the story would be to go in the direction of having a criminal organisation the members of which have a flare for naming themselves after important figures of the Revolutionary War, taking control of notable landmarks as hideouts and working towards igniting a "new revolution". We mentioned a similar idea in the Boston article.


The player would either be with this group, or working against it. Seeing as Philly isn't famous for its gangs, the game could be rooted more in the white-collar crime aspect, with the protagonist(s) being corrupt officials or corporate figures with a hand in illegal activities.

Of course, its not like Los Angeles is particularly famous for bank robberies, so Rockstar could just go with a story not necessarily linked to the city itself, however when dealing with a setting as significant as Philly, it would be a bit of a waste.

Final Verdict:


Pros: Great recognition, high enough crime rate, story potential.

Cons: Geography only okay-ish on its own, but perfect if Atlantic City is added.

The two pluses in the parenthesis are there denoting the score should the recommendation of adding Atlantic City as a second urban area be heeded. On its own, Philly would make for a pretty good GTA setting. Slap Atlantic City to it, plus the countryside in between and you have a perfect GTA setting.

Philly has many favorable assets in terms of becoming a map for GTA VI. Of course, the crime aspect could be more pronounced, but in its current state it is prevalent enough for the game's purposes.

Which city would you like us to look at next week?


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Aron Gerencser

Aron Gerencser // Articles: 900

In the site's early beginnings, Aron was responsible for the bulk of the news posts that you'd find on GTA BOOM each and every day. He loves getting involved with the community and is an avid fan of all things Rockstar Games. Since then, Aron has become an editor across all the content that is posted on GTA BOOM. His journey with the franchise began with GTA 2 back when it was new (all the way back in 1999), and he was a gamer even before then. Graduating summa cum laude from Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi with a BA in Media Production, Aron has been a game journalist since 2014. When not writing, editing or playing, Aron is building models which you can find on Instagram and Facebook.