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.
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Following pretty and peaceful Portland last week, we now go back to the east coast in search of the next possible setting for GTA 6. With the continued massive success of Shark Cards and the (rather messy) departure of Leslie Benzies, we might even find ourselves looking at a completely different GTA whenever the next installment is released. For all we know, whenever GTA 6 undergoes server maintenance, we won't even have a single player mode to retreat to.
Despite this 5 hour downtime being the longest time Rockstar has ever mucked around with the servers, there is still no word on what the next content update for GTA Online might be. There have been no credible leaks for weeks, making this the first time in ages that we are truly kept in the dark regarding the game's future.
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Of course, if that massive rally for a Biker DLC gains enough popularity, we just might see the day that Rockstar creates it for GTA Online based on popular demand. In the mean time, we'll have to make do with what we have - meaning a ton of varied jobs, modes and vehicles - and our hopes of what we'll get.
Well, let's just see how much we should hope for Washington, D.C. to become the setting of the next GTA game? Will the nation's capitol prove to be a good place for a crime game, or will D.C. stay out of the Rockstar spotlight?
After looking at Portland, Oregon last week, it's no doubt that readers are hoping for a more active and more... criminal city. Well, if you'll ask anyone who isn't too satisfied with the current government of the USA, they'll sure as hell tell you D.C. is full of criminals. A unique federal district, Washington houses all three branches of the federal government - the Congress, the Supreme Court and the President.
Covering territory which geographically would be part of Maryland and Virginia, D.C. isn't part of any state in legal terms. Population-wise, Washington itself has barely more than half a million citizens, however the greater metropolitan area surrounding it numbers well over 6 million, making it the 7th largest in the country. The Potomac River forms a natural border and has a handful of tributaries, which nicely section off the city into regions - not particularly different or diverse regions, but regions nonetheless.
There is difference between the wealthier and poorer neighborhoods, but much of the city is interchangeable with the rest. There is a glaring lack of a typical American downtown area with a few massive skyscrapers in the middle of the city, as there is a restriction in place on the height of buildings - they cannot be taller than the width of the adjoining street, plus an additional 6 meters. There are some areas which are roomier, while row-houses dominate others. A massive park-system has been built in the city, making much of it green.
Thing is, Washington has two issues in terms of GTA compatibility: firstly, the green areas and the homogeneity make it uninteresting for players and driving. Secondly, the street-plan of the city is something of a nightmare for anyone who dares sit into a car. Finding your way around the city is difficult due to a repeating pattern.
Going beyond the jokes about the government, Washington has it's history of crime and the city was once the capital of more than just the nation. While New Orleans might be the "Murder Capital" today, Washington used to hold that title. In 1991, almost five hundred murders took place. While the numbers have dropped significantly since then, the rate is once again on the rise and can be primarily attributed to gang violence.
There are some clear cut gang territories in the city, excluding the really rich neighborhoods. The border blocks account for a vast majority of the city's criminal activity.
Beyond these, there is of course the high-level white collar crime going on. Stepping away from jokes, there are over 200 foreign embassies and an immense amount of various foundations, corporations and groups housed in the city for the sake of being close to Congress. Say what you will, but there is no way all of those dealings are completely clean.
Both of these aspects open up avenues for a GTA tale. Having a story weaved with gang warfare and white collar crime is perfect for this series.
D.C. is going to bag some serious points on this section. The White House, the Monument, the Library of Congress, the Lincoln Memorial, the entirety of George Town and much, much more is all located in the city. There is such a staggering amount of notable locations and landmarks in the city that Rockstar would be hard pressed to fit them all into a map sized for a GTA games. Hell, doing the Rockstar thing of twisting the real world into a parody would be easy. All they need to do is make the top of the Washington Monument a bit wider before continuing on to a tip, if you know what I mean.
We've touched on this briefly already. The story potential for the city is as good as the street plan is bad. It can be introduced and hyped up with some sort of gang rivalry, however it turns out that both your gang and the enemy gang has friends in the upper echelons of the Washington hierarchy. Congressmen and politicians use the gangs as proxies to stage assassinations, blackmail campaigns and other politically-motivated acts in their struggle for power.
The player could either be one such gangster who is being singled out by a particular politician as their personal executor, giving you various missions which help their rise. Maybe the gangster doesn't like being used and turns on the politicians pulling the strings?
Hell, the player could even act as one of the rising political figures, including a mechanic of managing your own proxy gang by hiring members, supplying them with weapons, giving them missions. You'd also be more restricted, making it a goal not to be linked with criminal acts.
These ideas could even be rolled together like the three-way protagonist setup of GTA V. You could have the political kingpin, his most trusted executor and finally a member of the enemy gang who has secretly switched sides. Maybe the goals of the various protagonists could even clash, forcing the player to choose which story line to advance.
Pros: Immense story potential, decent crime levels, recognition.
Cons: That freaking street-plan, not too varied, too many parks.
Washington D.C. is actually a surprisingly good candidate for the setting of a GTA game. While the lack of a downtown area is a bit stinging, the dodgy street plan can be fixed easily with the amount of liberty Rockstar can take with the layout of the original city. Even so, a political conspiracy story in a GTA game? Yes please.
Which city would you like us to review for GTA 6 compatibilitynext week?