With the recent announcement made by Take-Two Interactive about Rockstar Games working on exciting new projects, the speculation machine has gone into overdrive. Despite the chances of GTA VI being announced this early being extremely low, much of the fan-made conjecture is related to this topic.
Take-Two has earlier stated that they will have a “major” presence at E3 this year. The company label includes two developing studios – 2K and Rockstar Games. 2K has many sub-studios as subsidiaries, including Gearbox and Firaxis, with plenty of high-profile franchises to their name. However, 2K’s upcoming projects have already been revealed for the most part and they’ve been present at E3 at some capacity every year, yet that never warranted a special announcement.
Rockstar, on the other hand, tends to avoid the major gaming events, instead scheduling their announcements to whenever they see fit. They did have something of a stealth-appearance at Gamescom last year with a small booth that had restricted access. No info of what was shown there has leaked since, which is pretty impressive if somewhat disappointing.
This means that all the signs pointed toward Rockstar making up a good part of that “major presence”, however we haven’t had a confirmation until recently. In a recent financial report, Take-Two representatives have outright said that Rockstar is working on something new that they will soon reveal.
E3 is fast approaching and if Rockstar does end up showing off GTA VI, then this article series will be short-lived. The game’s setting would probably be revealed along with the game itself. Let’ see how likely the following setting is:
The “City in the Forest” or “Gate City”, as some of its numerous nicknames call it, is the capital of Georgia state as well as its most populous city. Unlike most of the other cities we’ve looked at in this series, Atlanta isn’t a coastal city, but is situated further inland. it isn’t crossed by any rivers, nor does it feature any particularly large lakes – however the Chattahoochee river is nearby. The city is something of an economic nerve-cluster on a global scale, with many Fortune 500 companies having headquarters here, as well as well over a thousand multinational company offices.
Atlanta is also a global logistics center, a television programming center, a film industry center and also an IT center among many others. Considering the city’s crucial role in both national and global business and economy makes it more than influential enough to be the setting of a GTA game.
Atlanta and the surrounding metropolitan area is home to a little over 5 and a half million residents, making it the ninth largest in the country. The city itself covers a pretty large area, with parts of it hanging over to the neighboring county. Besides being the capital of the state, it is also the seat of Fulton County, wherein the majority of the city is located.
Being landlocked without an abundance of rivers or lakes, Atlanta’s geography may not be best suited for a GTA map – they tend to be surrounded with water, which acts as a border. Of course, Rockstar has taken some liberties with geography in the past, however surrounding a landlocked city with an imaginary sea might be too much of a stretch. Then again, being in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains might allow the team to border the map with impassable peaks.
Being such an important financial and economic center, Atlanta’s “typical modern American business-downtown city area” with skyscrapers and towering office buildings is larger than the usual. It also extends beyond what is technically the city’s “downtown” area, with midtown also being dominated by business institutions. As a stark contrast, however, the outer districts are pretty low-density, with gardened houses being common. This disparity between “Urban jungle” and “quiet suburbs”, plus a few areas which are somewhere in-between offer a colorful enough cityscape to make a GTA map based on Atlanta varied and interesting.
Atlanta has a significantly lower percentage of parks and green areas than the national average. As opposed to at least 10% of most American cities being composed of green areas, in Atlanta this is only 5.6%. This is compensated by the fact that a major national park and conservation area on the banks of the Chattahoochee river borders the city. The map of GTA V showed us a setup where the city area was restricted to one end of the island, with the rest of it being mostly nature with a few smaller settlements, so this could work in that context.
Atlanta has had high crime rates throughout the history of the city. Though rates have begun to drop recently, it is still counted as the 6th most dangerous city in the country.
There are 20 homicides per 100,000 residents, with robbery and aggravated assault reaching the higher ends of the 500’s and 600’s. Since this is a GTA game we’re talking about, it should be important to mention that the rate of motor vehicle theft is almost 1000 out of 100,00 residents, which is pretty high – perfect for the purposes of the game.
The main cause of crime in the city is that is it situated on a major drug-trafficking lane leading further inland. This has lead rise to gang-related violence, as well as a resurgence of organised crime. These lend themselves perfectly to GTA.
Atlanta isn’t exactly the most iconic city in the USA. Foreigners probably won’t find much that they recognize off-hand. The most recognizable buildings probably include the Coca-Cola building, Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home and the Turner Field.
The architecture of the city is a mix of modernist and post-modernist. Few old buildings with greater historical significance remain, as the city was devastated by fire during the Civil War, destroying almost every house.
Atlanta offers two main routes for story. Being a massive financial center, the city has great potential for a white-collar crime tale with corrupt companies using gangs and hired criminals to do their dirty work and to fight for dominance in the city. Stealing shipments of goods, assassinating businessmen, blackmailing smaller companies all the while running your own less-than-legitimate multinational corporations – sounds a bit like Executives and Other Criminals taken a few levels higher.
The drug trafficking aspect can also be weaved into the story, with gangs fighting for dominance in order to reap the benefits of the major shipping lane. The two could be combined too, with gangs secretly working for corporations, with elaborate money-laundering schemes and backstabbing being main themes.
Pros: High crime rate and drug trafficking, plenty of story potential, varied cityscape.
Cons: Poor geography, not particularly iconic.
Atlanta offers a great setting for a GTA game, both in terms of level-design and visuals as well as in terms of story potential. Being landlocked is the only real obstacle, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The large urban area would lend itself well for driving experience, that’s for sure.
Which city would you like to see examined for GTA 6 suitability next?
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