Our colleagues up in Dallas tackled this question in a semi-serious manner, which is awesome because I completely forgot to tell them how wrong they were yet again (It's not their fault... closer proximity to Oklahoma causes mild brain damage).
All kidding aside, it really had never occurred to me to consider at GTA title here in the Bayou City. Yet the more I think about it the more I am convinced that you could not possibly do any better for a setting. I came up with ten good reasons why.
10. We Have Great NPCs for Quests: Can there possibly be anything better than driving down the street when you run across Juan Carlos distraught because some vandals stole his iPod and now he can no longer dance by the side of the road to entertain the masses at rush hour? You would crash your car to find the guys that pulled so nefarious a stunt and beat them into sill putty. Speaking of beating...
9. We Have Great Places to Beat People Up At: Am I the only one that still gets scared when crossing the 610 bridge over the ship channel? No? Good, now imagine a high speed chase up to the top culminating in a fist fight that sends someone down to the water below? Barring that, how about firefights on Main with the trains whipping back and forth threatening to smash you?
8. A Medical Setting Gives You The Perfect Cover: Houston is home to the nation's largest medical industry, and also to Memorial Hermann Life Flight. What better set-up for a crook than a medical tech that uses his connections in the hospital system to sell drugs and can fly a helicopter? It would be the perfect fast travel system, and you can do more heroic actions like driving ambulances to save people.
7. The Rap Scene Gives Us Great Backdrops: I'm not trying to imply that our rappers are criminals. By and large they're a fantastic group of dedicated and law- abiding artists. That said, nothing says exciting like scenes set at any number of big shows, and we've got the talent pool to put together a really kicking hip hop soundtrack.
6. One Word... Space: No, we can't launch rockets or shuttles from Houston. Hell, we didn't even get a retired shuttle, but that's what video games are for: wish fulfillment. The country associates Houston with space already, let's take GTA into freakin' orbit as proper sequel logic dictates it should have already done by now.
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5. We Have the Downtown Tunnels: You want a vast, intricate setting full of secrets that will take hours to master? The Downtown Tunnels are perfect. Personally, I always expected someone to set a zombie game down there, but a crime drama will more than do in a pinch. It's a confusing maze with Whataburger, and that means fun by any definition.
4. We Have One-of-a-Kind Cars: Sure, there's plenty of trucks and Hummers and mid-life crisis mobiles that other cities have, but Houston has both the largest art car parade in the country and we do the experimental Eco-Marathon on Discovery Green. That means you could drive a futuristic solar vehicle or something more like a giant metal spider-car. If that doesn't entice you, you're dead inside.
3. How About Some Bad Guys?: Let's say that we go with that medical setting I mentioned earlier. There are two fantastic villains just waiting to be parodied as the antagonist in a game. There's the paranoid pseudo-science millionaire Stanislaw Burzynski just itching for you to bring him "test subjects," and if that's not enough we have the one and only Dr. Michael Brown, or as we refer to him here at the office, The Gift That Keeps on Giving. Both of them together paint a wonderful dark mirror of the medical industry.
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2. You Could Let Us Ramp Off the Hill In Hermann Park Through the Cockrell Butterfly Exhibit: There cannot be a person among us that hasn't looked at that giant hill next to the Miller Outdoor Theater and thought, "I wish I could ramp a car off of it." Not only would this wonderful, terrible fantasy finally get to come true, but we have the perfect destruction target in the beautiful greenhouse rain forest of the Houston Museum of Natural History. Sure, it'll take a little video game physics to pull off, but I have faith in the programmers.
1.The Series Could Finally Be a Model of Diversity: Houston is among the most ethnically diverse cities in the country, and such a setting allows the series to easily include men and women from all walks of life. Literally all colors and creeds are represented here in an amazing fashion, and it could open the door for the most inclusive of all gaming experiences ever.
Or it could star a bunch of white trash in cowboy hats... sometimes stereotypes are hard to break when dealing with non-Texans.