While many GTA Online updates cause some long-lived ripples, proper news regarding them seems to die down after a week or so following their released. Conversely, Cunning Stunts was released almost four weeks ago and it’s still making headlines. Granted, this can be attributed to the smaller updates leading up to next Tuesday’s Stunt Race Creator.
The second of the two intermittent mini-updates was released this Tuesday, bringing three new vehicles and five new official stunt race maps. The new vehicles included an armored pickup truck designed with Executives in mind, as well as a run-of-the-mill mid-range racecar and the hilariously fun-to-drive Dune.
News of a discovery also made the rounds, making the possibility that the next DLC will finally be the Biker update so many fans have been clamoring for very real indeed. Based on information digged up from the game’s code by reputable sources, the Biker themed missions will work in a similar manner to VIP and CEO activities.
We also kicked off our spin-off article series to this one, GTA 6 Foreign City of the Week. Usually comments responding to the ever present question at the end of each article asking which city to feature next week would be filled with non-US recommendations. Since it is highly unlikely that the GTA franchise will ever leave the US, we kept away from these until now, but figured “Hey, why not?”. You want it, and we’re giving it to you.
This week also marked the announcement of the winners of the GTA Online snapmatic competition running in the Cunning Stunts theme. Producing much more exciting shots than the previous contest, these truly explosive images really managed to capture the feel of the newest update.
With excitement mounting in anticipation of the Stunt Race Creator coming a few days from now, the immediate future of GTA is certain. However, what about the far future of the franchise? What if the next installment will take place in…
The Bold New City of the South has quite a few titles to its name regarding its size. The largest and most populous city in the state of Florida. The first of those two statements stop being as surprising when you come to know that Jacksonville also happens to be the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. While not as well known and iconic as Miami – which has served as the setting of a GTA game in the past, as the basis of Vice City – but pretty well known nonetheless and is bound to ring a few bells for foreigners too when speaking of Florida. The city features an important port, a strong military presence and many notable golfing locations which attract many tourists who are enthusiasts of the sport.
Other major industries in the city include various services, usually related to finances. Jacksonville has many regional headquarters for banks and insurance companies. Seeing as the city is an important shipping location, sporting the largest deepwater port in the country and second largest port overall on the east coast, logistics is also a major industry. Notable corporations with headquarters in Jacksonville are CSX and RailAmerica. While the port is most impressive, the city is also known for a massive railway presence, which is understandable. The imported goods coming from sea to the port are then transported by rail throughout the rest of the country.
In fact, logistics has become such a staple of the city that the phrase “Jacksonville: America’s Logistics Center” has literally been trademarked by the Regional Chamber of Commerce. The phrase has been used in the city’s marketing since 2009. Jacksonville also features a significant military presence with four major naval bases being located within the city limits.
Jacksonville, being a coastal city with a massive network of rivers and a big lake eating into its south side features plenty of water in close proximity to be moulded into an island by Rockstar’s map makers. The nearby settlements also add to the city’s geographic attributes and the nearby state forests provide plenty of wilderness to create a diverse game world necessary for a GTA game.
Jacksonville scores pretty high in this regard. It is counted among one of the most dangerous cities in the country, and while opinions vary, many consider it to be Florida’s most dangerous city. It and Miami have been trading the title of Florida’s Murder Capital back and forth for years, and the violent crime rate is pretty high. Property crimes are also significantly above average.
Gang activity is obviously high, since we are talking about a massive city with plenty of poorer neighborhoods, so there is a lot of “turf” to go around and to be fought over. Drug use is pretty prominent, though not exceptionally so.
This fits GTA just fine. There’s murder, there’s theft and there are gangs. Pretty much the criminal formula for a GTA game is wholly present in the city.
We’re going to have to dock Jacksonville points in this category. While the city is massive and fairly famous, it is doubtful that many foreigners could identify it off the skyline of the downtown area or recognize any of its more notable buildings.
Either way, some of the more architecturally interesting landmarks include the Bank of America Tower, the Wells Fargo Center and the EverBank Field. As you see, it isn’t exactly the most impressive line-up of landmarks this article series has seen.
Granted, there are plenty other locations of note, however they would be even less familiar to any foreign players.
Jacksonville perfectly exemplifies the kind of city which would provide the writers as Rockstar with a blank slate in terms of story, allowing them to come up with something truly new and original. Granted, the storylines of previous GTA games weren’t inherently tied to the persona of the city they took place in either, so this isn’t as big an issue.
The city has all the checklist attributes to functionally support a GTA game, but doesn’t really have anything that would suggest one particular kind of storyline. While the easy course would be putting together something related to the gangs, a derivative story involving white-collar crime related to the large logistics industry would also be interesting.
Pros: Great geography and high crime rate
Cons: Poor recognition and lack of story potential
Overall, Jacksonville has the hard factors down for a GTA setting. Geographically it fits and would make for a fun open-world map to traverse with a wide variety of vehicles and the crime rate is high enough to facilitate your typical GTA style of gameplay. However the lack of any truly iconic landmarks which would be relatable to non-locals and lacking any attribute to draw upon for the storyline, it falls behind many of the other cities we’ve looked at in this series. Basically, Jacksonville would work, it’s just up to debate how well it would work.
Which city do you hope to see next week?
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