Vice City in GTA 6 is already planned by fans

The collage shows a screenshot of Vice City Remastered with the city map overlaid on top.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Definitive Edition
Image: Rockstar Games / Kotaku / Bardocz Peter (Shutterstock)

Earlier this week, early tapes of next Grand Theft Auto game, it is assumed that Grand Theft Auto VI, leaked on the internet. You probably already know about all this. Since then, it has become increasingly difficult to find leaked footage and sites including my box– are not able to present footage or screenshots of leaks. But that didn’t stop the devoted group GTA fans gather in different places to use math, MS Paint, Google Earth and teamwork to map as much of the new Vice City and its surroundings as possible.

In November 2011 Rockstar Games released the first trailer for unpublished then GTA V. The buzz around the game exploded and next day, users on GTA Forums started searching this trailer in an effort to recreate the virtual world of the game. For the next two years – as Rockstar released more screenshots, trailers, teasers and more – fans continued to spend hours each day researching and compiling the data. And as it turned out the final map that everyone has made before the game was officially released, it almost fit perfectly into the real world of the game GTA V. Impressive stuff! And now, a decade later, fans come together to re-plan the next one Grand Theft Auto world before it’s officially released. However, this time the situation is different.

Previously, fans used official trailers and screenshots to help put together the pieces of Los Santos. This time around, all content fans are gearing up to map this new take on Vice City, coming from a leak that Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive are actively trying to quell with legal action and the removal of the DMCA. This made things difficult and created a new problem for enthusiastic cartographers: how to collaborate and map a virtual world if no one can share images of this virtual world online? GTA However, the fans are a smart and dedicated group, and they came up with some solutions.

The first and most basic method is to completely avoid incorporating leaks into their work. Instead, on the GTA forums, users use Google Earth images as substitutes for screenshots. To provide context for some of these photos, several users even started opening Microsoft Paint to pull raw but useful recreation moments seen in leaked GTA VI video material. So far it seems to be allowed by administrators in the GTA forums where some of this collaboration is taking place. (Previously, the thread that Vice City tried to map was closed after it contained images from a gameplay leak.)

However, this limitation has frustrated some dedicated mappers who want to be as accurate and precise as possible in their efforts. And others are simply frustrated by having to dance around content constraints. So many have jumped to private Discord servers where they are free to share leaked screenshots and recordings. It wasn’t even possible in 2011 with GTA V because Discord wasn’t something.

In one of the most popular mapping Discord servers, people are already making great strides. The leaked footage contains a lot of useful data, such as in-game coordinates, which helped the mappers a lot to figure out where there are different locations in relation to each other.

An image of the latest map floating in front of the GTA: Vice City screenshot.

The latest version of one community map from 09/21/2022.
Image: GTA / Rockstar / Kotaku Church

We’re only a few days away from the leak, and it feels like we’ve got a fairly solid, if somewhat empty, version of what Vice City might look like in the final game. This latest map was created by the user Church of GTA with the help of over 100 other users. It uses GTA V and Rockstar’s own engine measurements to help determine scale versus Los Santos. So far it seems like a very large map.

All the people on the Discord server and the GTA forums share different opinions and information. Some people look for landmarks in revealed content and then try to triangulate their location based on other bits of leaked footage and math. Meanwhile, some users comb through each frame of leaked material, tearing off the in-game mini-map to help create map pieces that can then be joined together. And other GTA fans use their actual knowledge of Florida and Miami to fill the gaps by providing information on highways and old buildings or demolished roads.

GTA Church They jokingly told me that they were excited to share the latest version of their map as this could make all the hours spent on it “worth”. Joking aside, all this detective work is not easy. In fact, it takes a lot of time and effort, and some people already say they’ve spent hours tracking down a single piece of graffiti or a single landmark. But for many of these people, it’s a lot of fun to plan for what could eventually become a virtual world they will spend their years in GTA VI is finally released.

Of course, here I will mention that all of this disclosed content is from a version still in development GTA VI so all of this is subject to change. In fact, it was something that happened during the last Los Santos mapping attempt. Minor tweaks to the game world were sometimes noticed by users, forcing them to change their own maps before the game’s release in 2012. Probably the same will happen here.

But for now, these players are giving us a first real glimpse of what Vice City and the nearby areas might be. And considering how close they all got the last time, I’m excited to see what they eventually put together from now to GTA VIstart.

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