- This article is about building an empire. For the GTA-based Empire State Building in Grand Theft Auto IV, see Rotterdam Tower
Empire Building is one of the new features added to the Grand Theft Auto series in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. This feature is a mix of the properties from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and gang territories in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
In Vice City circa 1984, Vice City was a growing city. Economic opportunities were available to anyone who could afford them. Victor Vance, after killing Marty Jay Williams, gains access to these sites.
Since his organization, the Vance Crime Family, was a criminal organization. These sites were used as bases of operations for his various activities. Each site was disguised as a front business. There are three levels that each business can go through: Small-time, Medium Venture and High Roller. The larger the business, the larger the profit. The daily income is paid every day at 16:00, unless you're on a mission (in which case it's paid after the mission ends).
The empire sites come under constant attack from rival gangs, because to gain new sites, the player must seize them from other gangs and they will try the same in return. However, empires will only come under attack if Vance starts a war with the rival gang, which is activated when taking over one of their empire businesses. If the rival gang succeeds in damaging the site, its daily income will drop, or rarely, it can even be seized by the other gang. In order to return a damaged site to full capacity, Vic will need to pay a repair fee (this fee also has to be paid before a site can be further developed).
These sites, when entered, have members of Vic's gang inside. Some will start missions when spoken to. These missions are based around the operation's business, so Smuggling businesses yield smuggling missions. Additional gang members can be found on the street outside; these gang members can be recruited to assist Victor in taking over other gang businesses, and will also immediately attack any enemy gang members that come close to a Vance property.
As an added bonus, sites controlled by Victor also act as safehouses, with a save point somewhere within the premises. No garage, health or wardrobe services are available, however most business sites spawn some sort of vehicle outside.
Upon creating a High Roller empire site for a business, Vic unlocks a new clothing item, again, something related to the business that unlocked that particular item. Each business also has a vehicle that is either not found anywhere other than that particular business, or a vehicle with increased statistics.
Once all thirty empire sites are taken over by the player, the vehicles that spawn outside of them will become bulletproof. In addition, much like gang warfare in GTA: San Andreas, attacks on properties and random attacks on Vic will also cease (for the most part; occasional random attacks by Cholos members on foot may happen, but they will not attack businesses once all 30 are purchased).
Attacking a business
To make profit throughout the game, conquering enemy businesses is necessary to progress. The player must first destroy the rival's car/bike parked outside the building. Next, gang members will come out to defend their turf. Once defeated, the player must eliminate the remaining members and destroy business assets inside the building. After attacking and seizing an enemy business, the gang that previously owned it will send even more enemies after you, making it hard to get to the next site you want to attack. The Cholos will send two members in a Cholo Sabre armed with Baseball Bats, Micro SMGs, and Pistols. The Bikers will send two members on a bike armed with Micro SMGs and Scorpions. The Sharks are the deadliest, as they send four members in a Gang Rancher armed with MAC-10s, MP5s, Micro SMGs, and AK-47s.
Once that is completed, the business is put up for sale, and can be turned into any business venture.
There are six available businesses to construct, with each one being a different size ranging from Small-Time, Medium Venture, and High-Roller. They are identified as:
Legal business: Are operated by weak goons, who uses Baseball Bats and Pistols.
Illegal business: Are operated by strong goons, they use Mac-10s and AK-47s. These businesses are locked at first, and become unlocked by attacking and successfully taking over a business that has one of the three illegal businesses.
- The more businesses you own, the more frequently you'll need to cross town to defend a business, and also endure random attacks on the street from enemy gangs (often with the requirement of repairing the property in order to regain its earning potential afterwards). Unlike gang warfare in GTA SA, these attacks do not end if you hold all the enemy gang properties in a region. For this reason, taking over empire properties other than the ones required to complete story missions should be saved until either after Victor completes side missions such as popping balloons, firefighter, etc., as these are made more difficult by the player having to deal with the frequent attacks, or all 30 businesses should be taken before attempting the side-missions, as attacks will stop.
- Random attacks on properties do not occur if Victor retains only the properties given to him by the end of To Victor, the Spoils, and purchases the properties available for sale.
- When approaching an Empire property that's available for takeover, an on-screen message will advise the player to destroy a vehicle parked out front. Approaching the vehicle will spawn enemy gang members who will attack (this in addition to those who will attack once the vehicle is destroyed and the actual battle begins). Players seeking to avoid Empire Building confrontations at the time should not linger near these sites (which can become difficult if a side-mission takes Victor close to one of these sites).
- If a property is for sale buy it immediately before another gang does so you don't have to fight for it.
- If the player would cross the bridge before the mission From Zero To Hero there will be businesses belonging to the Sharks and the Bikers and the Bikers would constantly attack all of the Sharks Empire sites until it is put up for sale and the player can buy them. The player will not gain any hate from the Sharks unless they attack the Empire site and not wait until it is put up for sale. The only businesses the player can do are Protection Racket, Loan Shark and Prostitution and they must wait until after the mission From Zero To Hero to do the other Empire missions.
- Occasionally a glitch will occur resulting in no vehicle out front to destroy. Eventually after multiple loads and restarts of your system it will appear. Some sites will not have cars in front because they must be taken over in a mission for example a medium venture biker drug business is taken over in Hostile Takeover.
- Also sometimes there will seem as if no one is coming out to defend the business but actually they are invisible. You can try to lock on which will sometimes work, if it doesn't use splash type weaponry and heavy machine guns randomly until the enter the building message appears. If you still have no luck just leave and come back another time.
- When you have recruited gang members with you and you enter an empire site then exit, your recruits will disappear.
- Oddly, due to a possible bug or AI misplacement, when your gang members defend a business, your gang will not give damage when firing at enemy gangs, but will take damage from the attackers, meaning that the enemies are "invincible", in terms of AI. Even your recruits won't give damage, but will take damage from enemy gang attackers.
- The interior of the empire buildings are actually floating high above Vice City, much like GTA: San Andreas's interiors. When you free aim, pan the camera to the wall (left or right side of the screen) and you will see either Washington Beach or Hyman Memorial Stadium.
- Unlike other gangs, the Vance Crime Family will not spawn if you don't have any businesses.
- Although gang members continue to spawn outside the businesses during missions, Vic cannot recruit them at that point (i.e. during missions like Light My Pyre).
- Strangely, when you activate missions, empire icons do not appear on radar.