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. First though, a recap of the week's GTA V news...
GTA V News Recap
This week was kicked off by the circulation of a screenshot a fan took of a loading screen which seemingly indicated that Rockstar will be dealing out a million in game currency to all players of GTA Online who reach or surpass Rank 135 before midnight, September 14th. Now, since the deadline has passed, some players have been reporting that they have yet to gain their bonus in spite of being above the prescribed rank.
Now, keep in mind that in past promotions, such as with Shark Card Rebates, it took Rockstar some time to sort things out and send out the bonuses. It might take a few days, or more, for the bonus one mil to be deposited in everyone's Maze Bank account. Chances are Rockstar is trying to filter out cheaters and the like in the meantime.
LATEST GTA NEWS CLIPS
For last week's Foreign City of the Week, we've ventured as close to the south pole as we ever will in the article series by checking out Sydney, the Australian city everyone keeps mistaking as the country's capital. While the city would work well as a map, it's just too safe for a GTA setting. Check out the full article here!
The rest of the week was more characterized by stories of what others are doing with GTA 5 as opposed to what Rockstar is planning with it. We took an in-depth look at how the game is used to teach the AI programs that control self-driving cars, the creator of arguably the most anticipated overhaul mod answered some fan questions and we examined the issues the police have in the game.
However with yet another week behind us and nary an official announcement about the future of the franchise to be had, we'll be looking at yet another city stateside and gauge how good a GTA setting it would make. This city was selected based on a comment suggesting it under our previous article.
Also known as the Military City, San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the USA and second largest in the state of Texas. In fact this is the third Texan city we've looked at in City of the Week, and have now covered all three corners of the "Texas Triangle", an emerging economic megaregion. San Antonio acts as the southwestern corner of said triangle, and is located more or less in the center of the state latitudinally, however it lies to the south longitudinally.
Many of you may know San Antonio as the location of the Alamo, which was a compound initially founded by Spanish settlers as a mission. It was later used as a small garrison and became immortalized in the Battle of the Alamo, one of the most famous "last-stand" battles in history. The city also possesses a number of other historic landmarks, many of which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The city is also known for its large number of military bases and other installations, both in and around the city, lending it the nickname we referenced earlier. As far as I could decypher things, there are 8 distinct installations run by the US military, however you Americans are pretty weird in your military designations (does a joint base constitute as one, or as many as are "joint" by it?) so I might be wrong, and a local is more than welcome to correct me on this.
From a geographical point of view, San Antonio isn't really ideal. Granted, it has plenty of wilderness around it, but that isn't too varied, and has smaller cities like San Marcos and Victoria nearby (we'll get to Austin later), however it is a tad far from the sea. While one can still morph it into an island, it does take quite a bit of game-magic to do so - and it still won't look too good.
San Antonio's economy is mostly based around military and healthcare ventures. We've touched on the major military aspect before, so that should come as no big surprise to anyone. In terms of healthcare, San Antonio is home to the South Texas Medical Center, which is a large union of various hospitals, universities, academies and treatment facilities. It is also one of the largest medical research institutions in Texas, and the country as a whole.
San Antonio is also a major tourist attraction, primarily due to the Alamo, but other landmarks and famous locations, such as the River Walk, also attract visitors. Tourism has actually grown to become one of the supporting industries of the city in recent times, which has also lead to several conventions being held in San Antonio, further increasing the number of tourists.
The city is also home to several fortune 500 company headquarters, including H-E-B, Tesoro, NuStar Energy and CST Brands. Though not a fortune 500 company, many of you may be familiar with the Whataburger chain of fast food restaurants (provided you live in the USA, of course). The chain was founded near San Antonio, and the company's HQ is now in the city.
The crime section of our City of the Week articles is always that weird place where being a safe city lowers the chances of being considered a good candidate. Seeing as GTA has players engage in criminal and violent acts, setting the game in a city where such things are rare doesn't really fit in with the whole "realism" thing.
In this case, (un)fortunately, San Antonio does not need to fear much. Crime rates are pretty high in the city, way over most national medians. While the various sources we've checks have different numbers, they're all in the same ballpark. Murder rates are pretty high, but not as high as some of the other cities we've looked at.
On the other hand, other violent crimes which do not result in the loss of life, such as assault and battery are among the highest we've seen since writing these articles. In addition, shootings are relatively common and vehicle theft is soaring. In 2014, well over 7,000 cars were stolen - and those are just the ones we know about.
Even more so than Houston, San Antonio sees high gang activity due to it being a major gateway for illegal goods into the USA coming from Mexico. While drugs are the biggest offenders, human and weapon trafficking - both ways - is also pretty common. As such, gang-related violence and crime is really high, which fits the GTA portfolio well.
Like, the Alamo?
I mean, maybe there are parts of San Antonio... in fact, much of San Antonio, that foreign or even American players wouldn't recognize off hand. That said, the Alamo is among the most recognizable landmarks in the country, and it is joined by a few other notable sites that even foreigners might recognize.
You've got the legendary riverwalk, the Tower of the Americas, and the distinctive Bexar County Courthouse which are all pretty much staples of the city at hand. While San Antonio is certainly not on the level of, say, New York City, it has a good chance of not being mistaken for other cities even if things are renamed.
With the proximity of Mexico, we could pretty much copy and paste the "potential story" we had for Houston here. However, instead of doing that, we'll just come up with something a bit different.
How about having a Mexican protagonist, who, knowing how prone to betrayal and how unreliable cartel smugglers are, instead collects enough cash to pay the more expensive American gang to ensure his family's safe crossing. However, the smugglers do indeed betray them, kill the protagonist's family and leave him for dead - wounded, penniless and unarmed in a dangerous neighborhood of San Antonio's GTA version. Cue revenge story.
Pros: Crime rate, recognition, story potential
Cons: Geography isn't the best, but not too bad.
BONUS: Texas Triangle
Now that we've ticked off all three corners of the Texas Triangle, we decided to top off this article with a small bonus. You know how GTA San Andreas covered a large area with three cities and multiple smaller settlements, and a large variety of geographic factors? Well, in case GTA 6 takes that route instead of 5's one-city setup, we've got a great suggestion here: the Texas Triangle.
Of course, the same kind of high-level game magic is needed to turn the area into an island, but once you get over that particular realism-hurdle, you've got yourself the prime GTA location. Several large cities? Check. Several small settlements? Check. A greater variety in wilderness? Check. Relatively high crime rates in all cities? Check. Story potential? Well, Mexico is still close by, so check. Recognition? Houston and San Antonio are pretty good in that regard, and Dallas has the show going for it, so check.
Final Verdict For Texas Triangle
Pros: pretty much everything.
Cons: what cons?
If Rockstar chooses to go the way of having multiple cities spread out over a large map, the Texas Triangle is the way to go. The area provides great features across the board, making it pretty much the best choice. San Antonio on its own isn't a bad pick either, slipping into the As just. It is a great choice in fact - but truth is that we've seen better ones on this series.
Would you like to see the next GTA go for a bigger map set in the Texas Triangle?