Culture

Leaked Grand Theft Auto 6 Footage Reveals a Return to Miami-Inspired Vice City

Miami was the inspiration for 2002's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Miami was the inspiration for 2002's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Photo courtesy of Rockstar Games
The gaming community was abuzz on the night of September 17, following a massive data leak of behind-the-scenes developmental footage from the much-anticipated latest edition of the video game Grand Theft Auto series, GTA VI. News of the 90 videos published online shook the gaming world, and the FBI has opened an investigation. Rockstar Games, creators of the GTA franchise, confirmed the authenticity of the videos, claiming them the result of a "messy network intrusion."

Folks, we have gaming drama! And of course, wherever there is drama and controversy, you can be sure there's a Miami connection: #BecauseMiami.

Miami comes into play after many eagle-eyed gamers combing through the footage pointed out that the community upon which the game's protagonists are wreaking havoc looks a lot like Miami.

And not just in a "beach and palm trees" way, but in a "Dude, that's literally Bayfront Park!" way.

Between what looks a lot like Bayfront, Metrorail-looking trains that read "Vice City," and a slew of other tidbits that were uncovered, it's quite obvious GTA VI is set — at least partially — in Miami.

But don't take the internet's word for Miami being at the center of the biggest gaming controversy in years. Review the evidence yourself below (before Big Media takes it down).
"The GTA 6's stadium is 'Solar+Amphitheater' in Miami. https://www.google.com/maps/place/FPL. #GTA6 #LEAK," shared Twitter user @Qas_30_21, for instance, helpfully supplying a satellite view and link to a Google Maps view of the FPL Solar Amphitheater in Bayfront Park.
"As we can see in this picture there there [sic] is banner of the right side on which vice city is written and on the left there is map of Canada and Mexico right side confirmation that this was actually GTA 6 gameplay and video and it is based in Miami Florida," tweeted @Shubham91838143.
"Sigh, even the fictional #Marlins team in GTA 6 is using teal," observed @MarlinsHistory.
Shared Twitter user @Dreadedfull: "@MiamiBeachPD Seems yall are being honored in this edition of GTA6. How do you yall feel? Well it isn't Miami beach, its OceanBeach PD."
"El Palmetto de Miami está en construcción hasta en GTA6," — the Palmetto Expressway is still under construction — quipped @GeekCubano.
GTA VI wouldn't be the first time Grand Theft Auto utilized a fictional Miami as the home base for its mayhem. In 2002, Rockstar Games released GTA: Vice City, which has sold more than 17 million copies to date. That game brought on accusations of racism from the Haitian-American community when dialogue in the game stated, "I hate those Haitians. We'll take them out, we'll take these Haitians down." The most recent iteration of the series, GTA V, was released in 2013.

To date, the GTA franchise has sold more than 320 million copies, making it one of the most popular video games of all time.

If a fictitious Miami is indeed the setting for GTA VI, expect to see it on the news quite a bit. The notoriously violent game has routinely been a talking point for Second Amendment defenders looking for anything and everything to blame for increased gun violence in America.

Because as we all know: Guns don't kill people; video games that show what guns are capable of kill people.

For those dreading the release of GTA VI, the good news is that it's still two years away from Best Buy and Target. The bad news? That timeline lines up with the 2024 election, so get used to hearing about this game.
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.