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GTA 6 Will Be The Most Florida-Ass Game Ever

GTA 6’s bombastic trailer may have only been a minute and a half long, but for that brief period of time I felt like I was in Florida, sweating in a sun-soaked swamp, interacting with its daft denizens, slapping mosquitos off my ankles with a paper fan. GTA 6 is set in the fictional state of Leonida (Florida) and the familiar, neon-soaked Vice City (Miami), but it clearly covers the Keys, the Everglades, and all those strange suburbs dotting the peninsula that are teeming with Florida men. We see dirt bikers racing through streets, a fan boat whizzing through a swamp at sunset, weeds growing through the cracks of busted-up concrete sidewalks, and so many more markers of a state that is almost perpetually in the public eye.

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I may be a born-and-bred New Yorker, but I consider myself something of a Florida expert. From the ripe old age of one up until my 18th birthday, I spent more than a week every February at my grandparents’ condo in Fort Lauderdale. I’d fish geckos out of the pool with the leaf skimmer, walk along the man-made lakes in the hopes I’d spot a gator, and force my parents to take me to Miami so I could get a henna tattoo and beaded braids (I’m sorry).

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I’ve vacationed in Miami twice since the covid pandemic (and both times I spent more money than I’d like to admit in strip clubs). Aside from New York, there isn’t another state I’ve spent more time in than Florida, so I’m well-equipped to analyze the world in which GTA 6 is set.

When the highly anticipated Rockstar sequel drops sometime in 2025 for Xbox Series X/S and PS5 (not PC, oops), we’ll get to play in a massive Floridian funhouse mirror, a real-but-unreal world full of gators, guns, and girls.

Leonida, the great GTA 6 state

Florida is a state of extremes. Extreme poverty can be found in its more central, swampy suburbs, and extreme wealth glistens on the Miami shoreline. We see it all during the GTA 6 trailer, from the smooth, panning shots of the art deco buildings in South Beach and the turquoise waters surrounding the Florida Keys, to the shaky, iPhone-quality videos of a naked man running from cops or a guy crashing through a Solo Cup-covered folding table.

GTA 6's Vice City hands us Miami in the bustling, bumping, twerking clubs like the one rappers Future and Meek Mill dropped 10 bands at in single night, and the mural-covered, artsy Wynwood hotspots you can find over the bridge, with lowriders and sport bikes parked outside. We get the sweeping overhead shots of the city’s snaking highways, the barges parked in its impossibly clear waters, the crowded beaches full of people in neon thong bikinis and little chihuahuas running across the sand, a 4WD cop truck parked jauntily near where the waves come in.

But the trailer also pulls away from Vice City, and therefore Miami, providing peeks of the places like the Florida Everglades (the 1.5 million acre wetland sitting at the state’s southern tip) and the Seven Mile Bridge, which connects mainland Florida to the Keys, a collection of islands off the southernmost tip. We also see the impoverished suburbs, with visuals that feel as if they’re invoking places like Pahokee, one of the poorest suburbs in the Miami metropolitan area with a 35% poverty rate as of 2022.

Florida men in GTA 6

Rockstar’s incredible trailer also gives us a look at its core cast, including one of our two main characters, Lucia, who is getting out of prison after a string of what she calls “bad luck.” Lucia, like 12.7% of Floridians as of the 2022 census, likely lives below the poverty line, and this Bonnie probably turned to crime with her Clyde-esque lover to make a quick buck. And she, like 27.1% of Floridians, appears to be of Hispanic or Latino descent.

Florida may be consistently associated with wild white guys and its politics may be more aligned with far-right losers like Ron DeSantis, but it also has the highest population of Cuban-Americans in the country. There’s a vibrant diversity tucked away in different parts of the Sunshine State, and the trailer makes sure to show us all of that. We see it on the Vice City beaches and in its clubs, sure, but we also see it in the sun-soaked suburbs and off the rain-glistened highway, in the crew of dirt bikers and ATV riders popping wheelies down a dusty side street, in a collection of car aficionados parked on the curb, doors open to show off their interiors.

But a Florida game wouldn’t be a Florida game without Florida men, and it’s clear that GTA 6 is full of them. In the real world, there’s something in the water down there, something that’s spawned so many news headlines like “Florida Man Does [Insert Something Wild Here]” that it turned into a meme that then became a sort of cultural shorthand. Florida Man is everywhere in Florida, and he’s everywhere in this trailer—dancing on the bow of a yacht, his overly tanned skin like a Slim Jim, running ass-naked from a cop through a gas station parking lot, trying to fish a gator out of an in-ground pool, staring blithely at a different gator strutting through the front door of a convenience store, standing for a mugshot, face adorned with bad tattoos, covered in mud and American flag regalia wielding a beer, grabbing his crotch on the side of the highway, watering his lawn in just a green poker visor, thong, socks, and sneakers.

We even get a Florida woman, for diversity’s sake: an older lady, wearing a nightgown and slippers, dual-wielding hammers at the end of her driveway, in which a beat-up old muscle car is parked. “Well, look who’s back,” she says menacingly, reminding me of the time a woman in a Florida rest stop tried to tell me she was my mom and I had to go with her to meet Santa.

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