Rockstar is currently hard at work on polishing Red Dead Redemption 2 before it's release later in 2017. Everyone is excited about the upcoming open-world cowboy adventure, but that doesn't mean we can't look towards the future of their other mega-franchise.
Grand Theft Auto as a franchise has evolved drastically over time and taken on numerous realistic cities as the template for their open-world powerhouses. We've seen the series return to the same city a couple of times, but it's worth speculating some other locations the next entry could take place.
Some people anticipate that Rockstar will pull a real stunner and make a replicate of the entire United States. As interesting a direction as this would be, it is a highly unlikely reality. Games like The Crew have accomplished this feat but don't really feature the level of detail, polish, or depth the Grand Theft Auto franchise has been known to include. It's very likely we'll see Rockstar tackle a major metropolitan city and/or a merging of surrounding areas.
Grand Theft Auto Online was such a huge hit that it only makes sense for it to be a major area of concern for their next entry. Hopefully, it doesn't take away from the tremendous single-player campaigns Rockstar is known to deliver. Let's take a look at some of the most intriguing and plausible locations for the next Grand Theft Auto adventure. We're also going to talk about the locations that are least likely for a variety of reasons such as environment variety, population, logistics, and feasibility.
15 Go To: Toronto, Ontario
Now, you may be wondering why Rockstar would ever choose a Canadian city for the backdrop to their next game. Toronto is more than just a major Canadian city, however. It houses more than 2.5 million people and is arguably the entertainment hub of the entire country. Grand Theft Auto is entirely about satire, so it makes a perfect target for the Rockstar team. The series has always joked about American culture and plays up the satire to 11. Wouldn't it be interesting to see what they could do with Canadian society in the magnifying glass? The city of Toronto offers a variety of weather, interesting suburbs, and a landmark of Canadian society. Unfortunately, because Toronto bears such a striking similarity to New York, this is unlikely to happen.
14 Avoid: Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is a beautiful city. Heck, the entire state of Massachusetts is truly something to behold. Even though Boston has a very substantial population, it isn't a guarantee that players would enjoy experiencing a real-life parallel to the real deal.
Unfortunately, it hasn't been all that long since players trudged their way through a post-apocalyptic version of it in Fallout 4. As it stands, the open-world genre is getting a bit fatigued. So, it wouldn't be wise to send players to the same area as another popular series. Rockstar would probably look at what Bethesda did and understand that it would be a more exciting move on to a city that more players had never experienced or at least one that isn't so recent in player's minds.
13 Go To: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.
Philadelphia would be a great cultural experience to thrust players into head first. This city is home to some of the most historical landmarks and is known for a very specific type of personality in their locals. When it comes to their sports or their cheesesteaks, everything in the city is a point of pride. Plenty of landmarks provides easy avenues for satirical missions based on iconic Philadelphia imagery. It's not hard to imagine what a Rocky or It's Always Sunny reference or mission would look like. It could be tons of fun poking at the importance of sports to a city that has seen a ton of heartbreak. Everyone has seen the videos of Santa Claus being pelted with snowballs on Christmas Eve during the Philadelphia Eagles game.
12 Avoid: Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo provides the population, weather, and society that would be perfect for a Rockstar portrayal. The problem has to do with the disconnect in cultures between Western and Eastern audiences. It doesn't seem right for a studio like Rockstar to portray Tokyo, Japan in any light, much less a satirical one. There are a ton of tricky roads they would have to navigate to make this game viable, at the very least.
Rockstar is great at nailing American satire and are comfortable with turning societal imperfections on their head. This doesn't necessarily mean that a Grand Theft Auto couldn't take place outside of North America, but Tokyo is a far stretch. Tokyo is also one of the most iconic cities regarding video game development, and there are plenty of studios that could nail an open-world game that captures the cities culture more effectively.
11 Go To: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Ok, so I know how we just covered cultural disconnect and societal differences, but Dubai is different. Through an advancement in technology and a booming economic divide, Dubai is arguably one of the most Western cities in the Middle-East. It has recently been featured in numerous big budget Hollywood movies including the last Fast and Furious movie, starring Vin Diesel.
The grand and rich nature of the architecture mixed in with the religious overtones could provide a fantastic setting for the next Grand Theft Auto. There's also a substantial gap in regards to economic classes and is an area in which the Rockstar team could tackle. The city of Dubai is a perfect backdrop for a modern day Aladdin or Robin Hood retelling. It'd be interesting to see how receptive the city would be to this type of free publicity.
10 Avoid: San Francisco, California
I know what you're thinking. How is San Francisco, California a bad choice? It's a tech-centric city ripe with hipsters, hypocrite culture, and an authentic homeless urine smell. The problem is that San Francisco was featured in the most recent Watch Dogs game. Unfortunately for Ubisoft, the game didn't sell well, but it's highly unlikely the setting was the problem.
The other issue is that Grand Theft Auto V took place in Los Angeles. It's very unlikely that the next entry in the series will be set in the same exact state. An argument could be made that the cultures in both of these major cities are entirely different. While this is technically correct, Rockstar has a track record of moving back and forth across the country throughout the franchise.
9 Go To: London, England
At this point, London and England as a whole are pretty much cousins with the United States. The two countries have been allied for a long time, and American culture has seeped its way into British society over the course of the last 30 years.
London provides two enormous benefits that not many other locations outside of the United States could. It is a familiar cultural territory, that would not be jarring to players expecting a prototypical Grand Theft Auto experience. It is also an ocean away, which could help provide a breath of fresh air regarding scenery and location.
England is home to large metropolitan areas and vast countrysides. This could provide a fantastic change of pace, and the origin stories for one or multiple characters could be surprisingly varied.
8 Avoid: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Ghost Recon: Wildlands was the latest game to tackle South America. It aimed to portray the region in a semi-realistic fashion (in terms of environments and geography).
Sao Paulo, Brazil is not only one of the most densely populated cities in the world, but it is also home to one of the largest celebrations of Brazil's annual Carnaval de Brazil. This happens to be the biggest carnival in the world and features some of the most immaculate, and over the top parades, you'll ever see.
The vastness of Brazil and the intense tropical environments could provide Rockstar with enough variety and possibilities to entice them to choose Sao Paulo as their next destination. Unfortunately, Bolivia didn't take too kindly to Ubisoft's portrayal of their country, so it might not be a great idea for Rockstar to take Brazil and inject it with their dark satire and crime-heavy design.
7 Go To: Las Vegas, Nevada
It seems that Las Vegas, the sinner's city, has been on the up and up as of late. They were recently gifted an NFL team in the way of the Oakland Raiders. A move that should provide insane economic dividends to a city full of an enormous amount of money.
One of the biggest pitfalls of Las Vegas is that it is considering a low/turning point in many people's lives. It can consume those that are weak and spit them out with utter disregard. People have lost their entire lives to pleasures of The Strip. This would be a fantastic part of society for Rockstar to tackle. The juxtaposition of the casinos in correlation to the actual city surrounding it could be fascinating. The glaring problem is that Las Vegas is pretty much entirely set in a desert. We've seen Rockstar do more with less, so anything's possible.
6 Avoid: Cleveland, Ohio
Do I really need to explain this one? Now, this may seem like a cheap shot. It is.
Cleveland, Ohio is a city full of hardworking, blue-collar Americans -- it isn't an entertainment hub. There aren't tons of interesting environments and landmarks. It is simply one of the most prototypical, and vanilla, American cities you'll ever find. Cleveland is a city you are more likely to find featured in a sports game rather than an open-world experience.
Residents of Cleveland can find happiness in knowing LeBron James will probably finish the remainder of his career on the Cavaliers roster. We all know the Browns aren't winning anything soon. No one is biting their fingers in anticipation of seeing Rockstar developers scouting out inspiration in the middle of Ohio. Sorry, Drew Carey.
5 Go To: Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is an interesting choice when it comes to whether or not it's a viable location for Rockstar. It meets a lot of the early requirements necessary for an open-world game of Rockstar's scale. Chicago has a deep and rich history when it comes culture, economics, and influence. The city is infamous for its outlandish crime rate and isn't necessarily known for having tons of higher income residents.
Chicago does provide a fitting location in terms of weather and how it would directly oppose the areas features in Grand Theft Auto V. When it snows in Chicago, it snows. It would be an interesting change of pace to have the next entry be set in a colder, slower, and less energetic part of the United States. Would you want Rockstar to tackle the windy city?
4 Avoid: Los Angeles, California
You would have to be out of your mind to think that two Grand Theft Auto games in a row would be set in Los Angeles, California. This entry isn't really centered around why Rockstar should avoid the city. We all know there's not a chance in heck that they would go directly back to the land of Hollywood celebrities and homeless people in superhero costumes.
Now, would Rockstar ever revisit Los Angeles in the future? Probably. We already know how fond they are of returning to New York City. What else is there for them to say satirically about the city, though? In a game packed full of so many references, jokes, and satirical set-pieces centered around Los Angeles, it's hard to see what they could freshly tackle given another run at it.
3 Go To: Seattle, Washington
Seattle, the home of Microsoft, technology, Nirvana, and hipster culture. Seattle is one of the most interesting cities in America.
It's extremely important in regards to the tech industry, yet don't get many opportunities to see it as a backdrop in games. Infamous: Second Son is the biggest name in gaming to try its hand at delivering a realistic portrayal of the Washington-based city. It shares many similarities with San Francisco in terms of culture and societal values but offers a rich and various set of environments and weather conditions.
Washington is one of the only states that features beaches, mountains, forests, and snow. It's a melting pot of races, cultures, values, and environments. Don't be surprised if the next Grand Theft Auto takes place in the city of rain and tech, Seattle.
2 Avoid: New York City, New York
Please don't do it again, Rockstar. We get it.
New York City is one of the premiere cities in the entire world. It's teeming with personality, economic divide, and plenty of unlawful behavior. Players could use a break though when it comes to the Grand Theft Auto series. Rockstar is great at nailing the look and feel of any city or area they choose as their setting. Players are clamoring for an experience in a new city, that hasn't seen the Rockstar treatment.
This doesn't mean that they should never return to New York City, they will. It just feels as if every other game in the franchise takes place in the cities of all cities, New York City. Here's hoping that we also don't see a return of a cousin constantly asking us to go bowling.
1 Go To: Washington D.C.
We're currently experiencing one of the most surprising and confusing political times in the entire history of the United States. The country's capital is one of intrigue, crime, and constant political maneuvering. Rockstar could easily focus the next entry on the political landscape of the country. Placing the game in Washington D.C. itself could provide a direct path to the punchline of the game.
If House of Cards is any indication, people love political discourse and the manipulation tactics used to catapult a career forward. In many ways, D.C. is eerily similar to Los Angeles and New York City in terms of a polarizing society. Rockstar has made many jokes in the name of politics and placing their next entry in Washington D.C. would be the perfect catalyst.