North of Shoreside Vale lies Cedar Ridge, which is completely out of bounds for GTA 3 players.
Unlike most games in the series, the GTA 3 map is connected to a mainland. However, players cannot get past the tunnels in Cedar Ridge. The entrance is blocked by construction signs. Beyond the invisible wall is a solvable mystery. There is more to the GTA 3 map than meets the eye.
Cedar Ridge is a gigantic land mass that is normally inaccessible. With a few tricks, players can bypass the barriers altogether. Rockstar Games left a ton of interesting content. While there isn't much to do, GTA 3 players can truly explore the overworld map.
Is there anything beyond the GTA 3 map?
Cedar Ridge mainly serves as a background for Liberty City. It's a hillside area with several trees. Upstate Liberty is located right around the corner. Of course, GTA 3 players aren't supposed to be here. To get what they want, they will have to resort to glitches, cheats, and mods.
The unused northern map
Rockstar Games did not intend for players to go beyond the map boundaries. As a result, most of the floors lack a solid foundation. They will need to use a flying cheat to stay above ground. Beyond the forested background, most of it is empty space. There is a ghost town at the end of the tunnels.
The most prominent feature in Cedar Ridge is the observatory and radio tower. It uses low-polygonal models, since it's meant to be decorative. Predictably, there is no solid foundation so players will fall right through.
GTA 3 players can explore the area and find some interesting tidbits. They will notice town names on the map radar. It suggests Upstate Liberty is meant to be rural. Below are the town names and the development team it references:
- Aaronsville (art director Aaron Garbut)
- Adamton (this refers to either Adam Fowler or Adam Cochrane)
- Chris'sTown (designer Chris Rothwell)
- Garystown (3D artist Gary McAdam)
- Les County (producer Leslie Benzies)
- Obbeburgh (technical director Obbe Vermeij)
- Woodcunty (team member Alisdair Wood)
Map changes between games
Not much has changed in Liberty City Stories (LCS), the prequel to GTA 3. Upstate Liberty remains mostly the same. The LCS map is slightly more trimmed in the northern areas, but that's about it.
Notably, there is an observatory in the background. For whatever reason, GTA Advance replaces it with a warehouse belonging to King Courtney. What makes it strange is that the observatory was present in 1998 (LCS) and 2001 (GTA 3). Remember, GTA Advance takes place in 2000.
How to get there
GTA 3 players should use the flying tank glitch. They need to start at the beginning of the bridge to give them enough distance. Players should hit the gas and repeatedly shoot the turret backwards. Eventually, the tank will gain enough speed to start levitating. As long as players keep shooting, it will remain in the air.
The flying tank allows players to go beyond the boundaries. If nothing else, it's for the sake of novelty and GTA 3 rewards players for exploiting their physics.
Alternatively, players can also use specific mods. Several of them are available online. This is not surprising, given how popular the game is and almost two decades later, GTA 3 fans still want to explore every nook and cranny.
What the GTA 3 beta map can tell players
According to beta maps from earlier websites, Shoreside Vale was designed late in development. The island is barely sketched on the beta map. This is relevant since there was no mainland at the time. Rockstar Games could've added it later.
Shoreside Vale also lacked an airport at this time as, originally, it was in Staunton Island. Eventually, the development team moved it to Shoreside Vale.
GTA 3 players may notice how there isn't much detail in the residential areas. Perhaps it's because Shoreside Vale didn't get much work done until near the deadline. For this reason, Cedar Ridge seems rather lonely.
The use of a mainland in a GTA title
The above video is a mod showcase for reaching the mainland. However, Rockstar Games had no plans for it beyond a natural backdrop. They simply wanted Liberty City to feel more alive.
GTA 3 and its related games attach themselves to a mainland. They remain the only games in the series to do so. Instead, future installments will have players explore islands. For example, GTA 4 is not connected to any land mass.
It's only fitting that players would love to see what lies beyond the Cedar Ridge tunnels. GTA 3 redefined open world exploration as it allowed players to truly get out of their comfort zone and look around.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.