Carcer City is the setting of Manhunt, a non-GTA Rockstar game which features mass murderer/vigilante James Earl Cash as its protagonist. Carcer City is a decayed and high-crime city located in close proximity to Liberty City. It is depicted as having a dysfunctional and corrupt police force and large swaths 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 Camden, NJ; Flint, MI; East St Louis, IL; Gary, IN; and Detroit, MI. 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 world, and GTA car models are seen in the Manhunt games, confirming that Carcer City exists within the same continuity as GTA, with the events of Manhunt likely being part of the 3D Universe. A news segment from Grand Theft Auto III describes Carcer City as being "nearby" Liberty City.
Carcer City is located several miles away from Liberty City, possibly in Liberty State, Alderney State or another state from Midwest or North East Coast. 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. Also, Carcer City isn't specified in which part of the east coast it could be, but might be in the northern part of Liberty State due to the existence of the Shoreside Vale's tunnels that leads somewhere in the northern part of Liberty State or it could a be a mocking of the seady side of Philadelphia similar to Camden, NJ.
"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.
"Carcer" (in Latin: Carcere) was also the name of a prison in Rome in the ancient Roman empire.
- 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 (AKA The Director) - A powerful and wealthy snuff porn director and Vinewood 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 as being cleared of charges of corruption, an event that occurs after the end of the Manhunt storyline.
- 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.
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.
- Denton's 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 patrolling here.
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 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 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 CJ 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.
- There are several cars that are from Carcer City. By the registration number seen on registration plates, it sometimes says Carcer instead of Los Santos, San Fierro or Las Venturas.
- 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 are 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 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.
- 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 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 Senora Desert.
- 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 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.