The City of Carcer, commonly known as Carcer City or simply Carcer, is the setting of Manhunt, a Rockstar game which features mass murderer/vigilante James Earl Cash as its protagonist. Carcer City is a decayed and crime-ridden city located in close proximity to Liberty City in both the 3D and HD Universe. It is depicted as having a dysfunctional and corrupt police force and large swathes of neglected and abandoned neighborhoods that have become overrun by violent gangs.
Being an extreme caricature of a Rust Belt city, Carcer City appears to have taken inspiration from Detroit and Flint, Michigan; Camden, New Jersey; East St. Louis with Chicago, Illinois; and Gary, Indiana. It is implied that Carcer City was a booming industrial center in its past before it became crippled by crime and depression.
References are made to Carcer City in the Grand Theft Auto series, and GTA car models and prominent businesses (i.e. Sprunk, Bitch'n' Dog Food, Tarbrush Café) are seen in the Manhunt games, confirming that Carcer City exists within the same continuity as GTA, with the events of Manhunt being set in the 3D Universe timeline. A news segment from Grand Theft Auto III describes Carcer City as being "nearby" Liberty City, and briefly mentions Carcer City police chief Gary Schaffer, a character from Manhunt.
Although it is not specified where on the east coast it could be, it is presumed to be near Liberty City. There is a polluted river located in the city that catches on fire, a reference to the Cuyahoga River. The terrain is mostly flat aside from surrounding hills that house the wealthier neighborhoods. Not much else is known or revealed about the environment in Carcer City.
"Carcer" likely derives from the Latin word carcere, meaning "prison", which was also the name of a prison in Rome in the ancient Roman empire. This is the source 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.
- James Earl Cash - The protagonist of Manhunt, he is a violent criminal and death row inmate who was given a second chance at life in order to star in a snuff film centered around his brutal slaying of Carcer's gangs. A former resident of San Andreas, he was apprehended for an unknown crime while in Carcer City and held in the deserted Darkwoods Penitentiary under the pretense of being on death row. In reality, he was hand-picked by a powerful snuff movie ring that allowed him to live as long as he took a leading role in one of their films.
- Lionel Starkweather - A powerful and wealthy snuff porn director and Hollywood reject with many underground financial backers. He profited from Carcer City's decline by completely buying off its police force and government who, in turn, allowed him to transform the city into a playground for his sadistic movies and projects. Most of Carcer City's gangs appear to be on his payroll.
- Gary Schaffer - The corrupt chief of the Carcer City Police Department, who was bribed by Starkweather into letting him use multiple locations in the city as the setting of his snuff movies. He was first mentioned in a Grand Theft Auto III news report on Lips 106 as being cleared of charges of corruption, an event that occurs before the events of the Manhunt storyline.
- Piggsy - A man driven insane by Lionel Starkweather who has starred in many of his snuff movies.
- Joseph Johnson - A member of the Liberty City chapter of the Angels of Death.
- William Hambrough - Former hedgefund manager that got caught embezzling profits.
- Darksoullock - A user on Blogsnobs.org.
- Ken - A man who calls in the Electron Zone on LCFR and complains about his internet connection, has downloaded pornography, and was visited by the FBI several times.
- Geraldine - A patriotic woman who calls The Wild Traveler on WCTR. She questions why anyone would travel to other countries, mentioning how there is war, famine, depression, and pollution right on her doorstep.
- Brian Van Ginsberg
- Marcel Crayon
Notable locations in Carcer City include:
- Wapona Hills: A wealthy residential enclave located in the outskirts of the city, it is home to Starkweather's sprawling estate.
- Carcer Zoo: A large, abandoned zoo that featured many exotic animals in its past. It became the hunting grounds of the sadistic paramilitary gang, the Wardogs.
- Darkwoods Penitentiary: A massive prison complex that featured an asylum for prisoners deemed too insane for the general population. The Penitentiary has become disused and overrun by its former inmates and asylum patients.
- Carcer Church: A deserted gothic church located in the East Los Albos district. It is connected to a graveyard and houses the base of operations for the satanic Innocentz gang.
- Carcer City Mall: A multiple-story shopping mall that appears to be either abandoned or under construction. It is considered to be turf of the Innocentz.
- Dentons City Junkyard: A massive scrapyard located in the industrial district of the city, it was taken over by a white supremacist gang. It features a magnetic crane and compactor along with many warehouses and piles of scrap metal.
- Carcer Point Station: A big subway and railway station. There are many freight carriages seen here and a train depot. It is a place where Carcer City Police Department and Carcer City SWAT patrol.
Carcer City references in Grand Theft Auto
- In a news segment on Lips 106 (after the song "Bump to the Music" by Fatamarse) Andee reports that "Carcer City police chief Gary Schaffer was cleared of corruption charges in a controversial decision by the courts". This suggests that the CCPD 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.
- A few mailboxes contain letters with Carcer City return addresses.
- A mattress store has a poster that reads, "Joe's Beds: The Best Mattresses in Carcer" in Little Havana. The same sign can be found in the first mission of Manhunt.
- There is a store in Vice City called Ryton Aide. The same store can also be seen in Manhunt during the first scene of the game and in the opening movie. However, it cannot be entered.
- In Ammu-Nation stores, ammunition used by James Earl Cash in Manhunt (like Morrice Ammunition and Brian's Nails) can be seen for sale.
- 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 named Geraldine 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 RC, there are action figures of the Manhunt characters James Earl Cash and Piggsy.
- After witnessing Carl Johnson kill somebody, some pedestrians may say "I'm moving to Carcer City".
- In the first cutscene at the airport, the arrivals board shows one flight incoming from Carcer City, though it is quite hard to see.
- Pedestrians in the street can be overheard saying "I studied in Carcer City".
- A man named Ken calls "The Electron Zone" on LCFR and states that he is "calling from Carcer City."
- Various pedestrians claim to have previous occupations in Carcer City; some say, "I was a plumber in Carcer City!", and others say "I was a bank teller up Carcer before I retired".
- While searching the police database, some of the characters listed were born in Carcer City.
- Pedestrians may say "You drive like you're from Carcer City" if Niko Bellic 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 that 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.
- Based on the architecture, positioning and a couple similar landmarks, this would further suggest that the closest to Carcer City would be based somewhere in the vicinity of Hartford (which is about 100 miles from New York City. New York City to Washington, DC is about 226 miles).
- Some pedestrians can be seen wearing Carcer City Unicorns clothing.
- Blogsnobs.org user DarkSoulLock claims to live in Carcer City.
- When walking in Little Italy, an Italian mobster is talking on his cell phone and he mentions that his cousin had recently flown in from Carcer City.
- In The Ballad of Gay Tony, a topless, blonde haired dancer can be heard saying that he once lived in Carcer City, and that he acted in films for The Director.
- While in Middle Park and surrounding areas, you can hear one of the pedestrians say "Oh shit, this is Liberty, not fucking Carcer!" when you're shooting at people.
- During the mission The Paleto Score, Trevor Philips decides to have everyone share their story of a first score. Michael De Santa states that he took a small franchise worth $10,000 in 1988 in the outskirts of Carcer City.
- Ads for Carcer Storage can be found around the Grand Senora Desert.
- There is a street called Carcer Way, which goes through Burton.
- There are a few GTA vehicles seen in Carcer City in Manhunt. 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 3D Universe 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. A version of the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City police cruiser except with black paint is also present.
- Manhunt website -> Info
- “...This is what the heartland is all about.”— "Carcer City Vacations" advertisement in GTA San Andreas.
- Lips 106 radio segment in Grand Theft Auto III.
In Grand Theft Auto IV, "Liberty City to Carcer City" is a distance that the game can indicate in the 'Distance Traveled' statistic. It suggests that the distance between the two cities is 100 miles in the HD Universe.