As we have shown previously with the Elder Scrolls series, upcoming games have much in terms of speculation on where they'll take place.
Currently, Grand Theft Auto VI is in development, and one of the biggest questions is where it will take place? Previous games have taken place in stand-ins for New York City (Liberty City), Los Angeles (Los Santos), Miami (Vice City), Las Vegas (Las Venturas) and San Francisco (San Fierro). With so many cites already done, where could it possibly go? It makes sense that recent cities used in games will be ruled out, so that means (most likely) no New Orleans (Mafia III), San Francisco (Watchdogs 2), Washington D.C. (Payday 2), Hong Kong (Sleeping Dogs), Chicago (Watchdogs) or Boston (Fallout 4). Looking at rumors and what we currently know, here are the six most likely:
In the early 2000's, Tokyo nearly got a GTA game. Since then it's been frequently mentioned as a setting, while being one of the most infrequently used large cities in video gaming. And since Rockstar scouts have been reportedly scene, Tokyo seems most likely.
Tokyo has many things going for it. It's a large city, filled with districts of traditional Japanese architecture, futuristic neon areas and all sorts of districts and areas like waterfronts and extensive transit systems that could prove to be give a unique game. Prominent buildings like the Tokyo Tower, distant mountains and Shibuya Crossing (The Times Square of Tokyo) can be combined with uniquely Japanese crime elements like the Yakuza to make a great first non-US game.
Going against it are a few localizing factors. Having a Japanese setting for a widely played English language game could raise issues, like using subtitles, using English or Japanese and other things going on. The same goes for Japanese culture. But with so many games (and other media) using Japan so often, there isn't that big of a gap. Plus, American and other nationalities could still have many players. Tokyo is cosmopolitan.
Overall Tokyo is a good bet. It's a gigantic city that's pretty well known, and like other games that use settings not that well known, could introduce us to parts of the city most people don't know about to make a more exciting game. We've had the mafia, gangs and Eastern European crime syndicates in previous games. Having the Yakuza and Asian gangs in the Tokyo stand-in would make for an exciting game.
London was previously the home city in GTA 2. Since then London has been the main city in a few more games (Like Victorian-Era Assassin's Creed), but nothing set to the sandbox scale. Based on what people in Rockstar have said, London has been indicated as a possible city.
London is an extremely attractive city – It's cosmopolitan, huge with distinct districts and is filled with iconic landmarks throughout the city. Even outside the city has many well known features and landmarks. Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge, Parliament, The Shard, Millennium Dome – it's like New York City – jam packed. Plus crime elements exist, with the prevalence of CCTV and the limits of cars inside the city possibly making some unique gameplay elements.
Working against it are a number of factors – not being near the ocean making map borders is a big one, and possible fallout from the Brexit could make it be a less desirable place to set a game in. Any map would also need to severely limit the Underground system and other public transportations like previous games.
London needs a large modern sandbox game set in modern times, and GTA would do it justice.
One of the leading cities right now is, of all cities, Houston.
Right now Houston is the 4th largest city in the US, but very few things have been set there. Which is sad, because an ultra-modern energy-corporation filled city has a lot going for it. Enron-esque misdoings. Mexican cartels becoming prominent. Texas culture coming to the forefront. Plus, an auto-dominated city like Houston would make a lot of use of cars like GTA V did.
At the same time a lot is going against Houston. It's not on many peoples radar as a go-to city, and many people may not be familiar with the city. And unlike Cosmopolitan NYC and LA, Houston may be too thin on Texas and Chicano cultures to make a really branching game.
Houston is an interesting idea, and pulling it off could be exciting, but it may be too far off of the publics radar to be known enough to get people excited.
One of the many rumored places for the next GTA is actually the entire US, with select cities like LA, New York and Miami among them. But one city mentioned there, and as a stand alone, is currently one of the most moved-to cities in the US – Portland.
Portland may seem like a trendy city to set it in, but compared to other GTA's, it would be especially unique. The art and hipster elements would make this an EXTREMELY contemporary game (encapsulating 2017/2018 much like Vice City did the 80s), with a focus more on bicycling and public transportation making it more confined and having a more insular feel for a sandbox game.
On the downside there isn't much large-scale crime in Portland. Petty-crime, yes, but it's not a large-large city like NYC or LA, or a storied city like Miami or San Francisco. It has hills and parks and greenery, but there isn't that much in the way of a sprawling city like most sandbox games based around a city require.
Portland is much like Houston – it would be an interesting choice, but it doesn't have that much to give it much variance.
5. Las Vegas
GTAs IV and V got criticism for being in the same New York and Los Angeles stand-ins as before, so it makes sense that the next game goes somewhere different. But if they go the route of returning to a city a good bet would be Las Vegas.
While it has also popped up in a few video games since it's appearance in GTA: San Andreas (Most notable the Tom Clancy video games), Vegas is ever-changing enough that it can create a unique spin. Crime is definitely here, with mafia, biker and other crime organizations being in the city. Casinos of course would take prevalence, but so would a vast and sprawling desert and downtown and suburban areas. The series even has a pretty good name for it – Las Venturas.
Going against it are just the vast number of games and movies already calling it home. Fallout did New Vegas relatively recently and every year a new game seems to come out to give its own take on Vegas. Also, Vegas is a relatively new city well known only for it's gambling – a GTA would need more than that to go on.
Still, out of all the previous GTA games, Las Vegas has many strong points, and as Las Venturas, could bring a more cinematic GTA experience, with so many big and iconic buildings and places in a small area.
Currently Miami is on of the front runners, being mentioned often alongside London and Tokyo. Miami has previously been in GTA games before, known as Vice city in GTA Vice City and GTA Vice City Stories, albeit set in the 1980's and not in contemporary times.
Miami can be a strong choice. Cuban and retiree influences can mix with swamps, the iconic Miami Beach and even the Keys. Crime is well known in Miami. Not as much as in the 80's with the cocaine cartel wars, but it's still prevalent enough to add some flavor.
However, it has already been a setting...twice. And while modern Miami has a lot, it's not as well known or as culturally important as it was during the 80's. It would be cool to revisit, but we just had an oceanside, sunny, tropical place with Los Santos in GTA V.
As cool as it would be to revisit Vice City, there are so many other cities out there that are more different to LA and haven't been in a major game for awhile.
Chances are Tokyo or London will get the call to be the location for VI, although Miami and Houston seem to be American favorites. If push comes to shove, with what we know, Tokyo has the best odds right now. And, for the iconic sandbox series to make such a radical shift in location, it's exciting. It's only in development now, but over the next year we should be able to see where the series is going to be going a la Fallout 4 with Boston.