GTA 6 City Of The Week: San Diego

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

Summer has hit with full force, making both gamers and GPUs alike sweat uncontrollably. The community is still in the buzz of E3 despite it having concluded quite some time ago. Rockstar unfortunately ended up being a no-show despite Take-Two hyping up the developer's presence beforehand. While no official word on their absence has been published, chances are it had something to  do with a recent national tragedy.

While this means that Red Dead 3 unfortunately didn't get revealed by the studio, it also means that they didn't, not even accidentally, allude to what the possible setting of GTA 6 may be.


As such we can continue attempting to form educated guesses by exploring various potential settings and evaluate how they would fare as the maps of a GTA game.

We've taken a look at several cities over the course of these articles, having traveled from the west coast to the east with a few stops in between. We tried to fill these articles with as much relevant info as possible, but more importantly with correct info.

While the feedback on these has been mostly positive (some readers even take the time to write us emails), the occasional error or oversight is often picked to bits by less impressed readers - which, after all, is fair.

I've only ever visited the USA once, when I was a young child. I visited San Francisco, which incidentally serves as the inspiration for San Fierro in GTA San Andreas. I try to double check my info, but sometimes, a few things slip the net. I guess I'm taking these word to apologize in advance. Or something.

Now that we're done with that overlong tangent, let's dive right in to our next potential GTA 6 city.

San Diego


Known by its rather flashy nickname of "America's Finest City", San Diego is one of the southern border cities of the United States. It has grown together with the Mexican city of Tijuana, forming the second largest conurbation in the country (the US, that is) with a population of almost 5 million souls.

San Diego is an international financial center, serving as the main economic link between the USA and Mexico. The San Diego-Tijuana crossing is the busiest land border crossing in the world just for this reason. Naturally, this also makes it something of a hot spot for border violations.

However sunny San Diego is also a city very much invested in the future. The area has recently become known for its many biotech companies, which is partially thanks to the presence of the University of California, San Diego and its medical branch. Pharmaceuticals are also a major business in the area.

The city also has strong ties to the US military, especially the navy. San Diego is home not only to the only submarine and major shipbuilding yards on the west coast, as well as the largest naval fleet in the world with around 50 ships always present, alongside a massive contingent of naval officers. Many of the largest and most significant civilian defense contractors have headquarters in the city.


With defense and biotech being the two main industries in the city, San Diego has grown out to be one of the richest areas in the country. Of course, tourism is a massive industry as well, what with the region being known for natural beauty and a perfect location for vacations.

In terms of geography, San Diego is absolutely perfect. Being on the coast with a bay added, being surrounded by other settlements whilst there also being wilderness nearby in the shape of wildlife preserves ticks every box on the GTA map checklist.


Turning the map into an island wouldn't be too hard, adding other settlements based on Spring Valley, Chula Vista and El Cajon would result in multiple urban areas with intermittent countryside and having a naval base/military airfield on a peninsula separated from the city with the bay would all add up to possibly the most fun open world game map ever.


While the city's geography is favorable, we are forced to dock some points here. San Diego has had an ever declining crime rate since 2002, with the lowest murder rate among the ten largest cities in the country. Violent crime rates are also pretty low. The city has been nominated by many publications as one of the safest in the nation.


In the flip side, human trafficking is a massive business due to the proximity of Mexico. This is a favored point of ingress for human smugglers and illegal immigrants alike, in spite of the best efforts of the border patrol.


In terms of fame overseas, San Diego ranks a tad higher than the average, but it is nowhere near as iconic as say, New York or San Francisco. The city does feature your typical American downtown area, however none of the skyscrapers are particularly tall, as there is a height limit of 152 meters on all buildings within the 1.6 km radius of the international airport.


Even so, certain landmarks such as the Coronado Bridge, the various buildings of the UCSD, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, the Halsey Field base and the House of Hospitality might be recognized by foreign players.

Then again, being among the most popular tourist attractions in the area, the many beaches and wildlife preserves might hit an even better note with players looking for some good old GTA gameplay outside the urban jungle.


Potential Story

With San Diego, Rockstar's writers would have a chance to put together a complex tale involving illegal biotech research with military connections, using illegal immigrants caught while trying to cross the border as test subjects. How's that for a story?


The main character could be a low-rank gang member of some local Hispanic criminal syndicate whose friend/sibling gets snatched. First, the player is led to believe that it was a rival gang, however it turns out that the rival gang are just lackeys to a corrupt general who is using a biotech firm to test bioweapons on subjects they smuggle into the country from across the border.

This would tap into many of the main characteristics of San Diego while still keeping the GTA vibes of having rival gangs and satirizing the USA. The idea that the US military are involved in all kinds of clandestine experiments is a popular conspiracy theory, after all.

Final Verdict:


Pros: Great geography, good recognition, great story potential

Cons: Low crime rate

Considering that many cities which are already in a GTA game have pretty low crime rates too, setting GTA 6 in San Diego would be a prime choice. The surroundings, the city itself, the story potential all add up giving this setting what it takes to make a GTA game great. Exploring a new setting like this would give VI a sweet does of freshness, setting it far apart from anything fans of the series have ever seen before.

Which city do you hope to see us evaluate for GTA VI next week?

Aron Gerencser
Aron is responsible for the bulk of the news posts that you'll 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. 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. Find Aron on Facebook.