Carcer City

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Carcer City
Carcer City.jpg
Appearance(s): Manhunt, Manhunt 2 (Referenced Only), Grand Theft Auto Series (Referenced Only)
State: Unknown
Mayor: Unknown
Population: Unknown

Carcer City is the setting of Manhunt, a non-GTA Rockstar game which involves a mass murderer/ vigilante named James Earl Cash. Carcer City is an industrial city with a corrupt police chief (Gary Schaffer) and a snuff film director who apparently calls the shots. From what is seen in Manhunt, it can be assumed that Carcer City has a serious gang problem, a corrupt police department, heavy levels of crime, and possibly a high poverty rate.

Being an extreme caricature of a Rust Belt city, Carcer City may take inspiration from Camden; Detroit; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Chicago; and Cleveland. It contains a mental asylum, at least one shopping mall (now derelict), an abandoned zoo, a junkyard and a subway system.

References are made to Carcer City in the Grand Theft Auto world, and GTA car models are seen in the Manhunt games, suggesting that Carcer City exists within the same continuity as GTA. A news segment from Grand Theft Auto III describes Carcer City as being "nearby" to Liberty City.


  • James Earl Cash - Protagonist of Rockstar Game's Manhunt. He is a former death row inmate who has been given a second chance at life, however he is actually forced into taking part in a snuff film director.
  • Lionel Starkweather, a.k.a. The Director - Effectively the ruler of Carcer City. He owns the police, controls the courts, and makes many snuff films.
  • Gary Schaffer - The corrupt police chief of Carcer City. He is in Starkweather's pocket. He is first mentioned in a Grand Theft Auto III news report as being cleared of charges of corruption, due to all of the witnesses in the case going missing. Many Carcer City residents believe he is guilty, but he and Starkweather control the courts in Carcer City.


Notable locations in Carcer City include:

  • Carcer Zoo: Formerly a perfect place for a family trip, it once featured over a hundred different animals from all over the world, and is located in the heart of the city. By the time of Manhunt, it has become a gang headquarters, and all the animals have escaped.
  • Darkwoods Penitentiary: Formerly a large mental asylum. The inmates are all free, and have formed their own psychopathic gang, "The Smilies", within the asylum.

Carcer City references in Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto III

  • In a news segment on Lips 106 (after the song "Bump to the Music" by Fatamarse) Andee reports that "police chief Gary Schaffer was cleared of corruption charges in a controversial decision by the courts." This suggests that the police chief has been corrupt for two or more years before the events of Manhunt, presumably accepting money from Starkweather. The same news segment mentions Carcer City as being "nearby" to Liberty City.
  • As he placed above it is said that the tunnel is not accessible Shoreside Vale connects Liberty City in GTA III Era with Carcer City.
  • Some people say that Ghost Town In loss of Liberty City area, is a part of Carcer City.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

  • A few mailboxes contain letters with Carcer City return addresses.
  • A mattress store has a poster that reads, "The Best Mattresses in Carcer".

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

  • A radio advertisement for Carcer City makes references to steel mills being closed and "dining in the glow of the Flaming River". Many steel mills in the Midwest closed during the early '90s, including those in Pittsburgh, PA, Philadelphia, PA, Cleveland, Ohio, and Detroit, MI. The "Flaming River" is a clear reference to the "Burning River", a period in the 1970s where the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio was so polluted that it caught fire.
  • There are blue propane tanks with "Carcer Gas!" printed on them.
  • A woman calls into the "Wild Traveler" show on WCTR, mentioning that she is from Carcer City.
  • When bumped into, some pedestrians say "Hey! This isn't Carcer City, okay?"
  • On the shores of Palomino Creek, north of Los Santos, there are several large, wooden, spool-shaped objects with the almost-indistinguishable words "Jartnuk Cable Company" and "Carcer" on them.
  • In Zero's RC store, there is an action figure of James Earl Cash, along with Piggsy, Tommy Vercetti and Lance Vance.
  • Some pedestrians may say (after witnessing CJ kill somebody) "I'm moving to Carcer City".
  • In the first cutscene at the airport, the arrivals board shows one flight incoming from Carcer City.

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories

  • A man named Ken calls "The Electron Zone" on LCFR (asking about the Internet) and states that he is "calling from Carcer City."

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

  • Various pedestrians claim to have previous occupations in Carcer City; some say, "I was a plumber in Carcer City!".

Grand Theft Auto IV

  • While searching the police database, some of the characters listed are born in Carcer City.
  • Pedestrians may say "You drive like you're from Carcer City" if Niko narrowly misses them while driving. If you listen to a group of girls talking they might say stuff like "I'm so moving to Carcer City".
  • "Liberty City to Carcer City" is a distance the game can indicate in the 'Distance Traveled' statistic. It is a relatively lower level title in the overall statistic, and is listed before "Liberty City to the Capital", suggesting that Carcer City is closer to Liberty City than Washington DC to New York City.


  • There are a few GTA vehicles seen in Carcer City. The Stallion makes a cameo appearance as a burnt out wreck, and the Virgo appears as a picture in Starkweather's mansion. The large police vans located throughout Manhunt, where the protagonist can pry open the back doors to find supplies, closely resemble the Boxville vans from the GTA III era games. The box trucks with lights beaming during some levels resemble the Yankee from the GTA III era games. Hollowed-out, roofless, rusted shells of cars resembling the GTA III Idaho can be found widely around the junkyard in Manhunt, as well as being seen throughout the GTA III era.


"Carcer" likely derives from the Latin word carcere, meaning "prison"; this is the root of terms like "incarcerate" (meaning "to imprison"), and "carceral state", a state modeled on a prison.

"Carcer" is one of the seven figures of Western Geomancy. It is the figurative outline of an enclosure or prison cell, and presumably also derives from the Latin carcere.