A Semi-Serious Look at Why Grand Theft Auto VI Should Be Set in Dallas/Fort Worth
Photo by Danny Gallagher with images courtesy of Google Maps and Rockstar Games
Demigods and politicians have often used games like the Grand Theft Auto titles as surefire signs of the nation's moral decay and scapegoats for much bigger problems that require actual work on their part, a theory that's proving more true today as certain members of the U.S. House and Senate work hard to fight the never ending battle to not have to work.
Rockstar Games' signature series is a line of open world masterpieces based on real metropolises that serve as deep, immersive ways to tell stories about flawed characters, serious subjects and the consequences that actions create that have been told since before the days of the silent movie. Fictional towns like "Liberty City" and "Los Santos" are built from the ground up based on the blueprints from real world cities like New York and Los Angeles from their most iconic landmarks to the diverse layout of their communities and neighborhoods. The city itself becomes the game's biggest and most vibrant character that can go from beautiful and majestic to ugly and uncaring the way all major cities can whether their tourism board prints it in their travel brochures or not.
Now that Rockstar has hit up two of the country's biggest and most iconic cities, they are going to need to break new ground for Grand Theft Auto VI. Chances are Chambers of Commerce aren't going to start putting together a welcome package to convince Rockstar to move to their town unless Scranton gets desperate enough to get back into the spotlight after The Office went off the air. Still, the game makers are bound to move to the South eventually and if they do, Dallas/Fort Worth would make a fine fictional setting for the franchise just like it did for movies like North Dallas Forty, Talk Radio and the upcoming Dallas Buyers Club and the classic TV show Dallas. Here's why.
1. We've got a ton of different neighborhoods for players to explore.
The key to making any open world game work is having a vast landscape to explore and the Dallas region has more than 9,000 square miles of economically and culturally diverse communities for Rockstar to copy, scrutinize and satirize. Hell, the goofy layout of our streets and interstates alone would present some interesting challenges and could probably be fixed a whole lot faster than TxDOT ever could, even in a virtual setting.
2. We're full of interesting characters.
The missions in the Grand Theft Auto games aren't just set in motion by pimps, hustlers and organized crime bosses. Most of the crimes and illegal errands that players commit are at the behest of celebrities, captains of industry and major media moguls. We've got more than enough famous names and faces like Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban, T. Boone Pickins, Phil Romano and at least a dozen others whose unique personalities and various dealings could serve as interesting inspiration for an assortment of characters some of whom might need you to do some work that's strictly "off the books." Rockstar is so good at building stories and characters for their games that they could easily find a plausible way to have Big Tex pay you to run some suspicious bags of "powdered sugar" through airport security for him.
3. Government corruption? We've got that.
You can't have a truly believable crime story if you don't have more than a few corrupt characters looking the other way and making sure you stay out of the system while you do their dirty work for them. This isn't something that any city should be proud of, but in the context of a story about rampant crime and abuses of trust, it wouldn't seem that farfetched in a GTA: Fort Dallas game. Besides, Dallas has had so many government corruption scandals and abuses of public power that the FBI probably has an express lane for our leaders if they commit 10 felonies or less.
4. We could offer a bunch of way more interesting side missions.
The variety of mini-games isn't the main reason that most players buy a GTA game, but they are an important distraction and a fun diversion from the usual carnage. Over the years, players have been able to help their character waste time while they themselves are wasting time with activities like darts, bowling, golf, various races and even some clever in-game video games. Dallas/Fort Worth could offer an even wider variety with events such as rodeos, fried-food-related challenges and trying to avoid having to go to an emergency room while doing one or both of the latter.
5. Need high-priced cars to steal? We've got them too.
Of course, the most common activity in any GTA game is driving and each new game has featured an increasingly large line of cars to vary the game play from used clunkers like the Dinka Blista to exotic, hand-built brands like the classic Bravado Banshee. Dallas/Fort Worth not only has a wide assortment of gas-guzzling trucks, muscle cars and supercars, but thanks to general ignorance about global warming and a little-known state requirement that your mode of transportation has to be as big as your belt buckle/ego, you're way less likely to have to make a quick getaway in a wimpy electric vehicle like the appropriately named Karin Dilettante.