While there’s been no official confirmation from Rockstar, it’s safe to assume Grand Theft Auto 6 is in development. But behind closed doors...
It’s now been seven years since Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5) first released. And while not yet overdue, we are now entering sequel territory.
With its upcoming release on PS5 and Xbox Series X, GTA 5 has now spanned over 3 console generations. This alone is a testament to its enduring appeal.
GTA 5 has been a mega hit for Rockstar, so has GTA Online which alone has pulled in over $1 billion in the past four years. Bearing this in mind Rockstar would be crazy to not be planning a follow up.
With a new console generation now a matter of weeks away, the countdown to a GTA 6 announcement truly begins. But until then, questions remain about what the game will entail.
Below we’ve gathered what we know, expect and hope to see from GTA 6 when it does eventually roll around.
We expect to see GTA 6 on PS5, Xbox Series X and PC (one day).
Setting of GTA 6 – Why It’s So Important
The setting of any GTA game is of vital importance. The location of each chapter dictates the tone, themes and gameplay styles employed by each iteration.
Each city in the GTA universe is a character in its own right, one which is then reflected throughout the game world. But the era of each game is also important, as trends, politics and culture all play a role too.
GTA San Andreas gave us a Boyz n the Hood inspired view of 1990s Los Angeles, with Los Santos being this universes’ version of the city. Rap music, gang culture and what lies beyond this drove the game’s story.
GTA 4 provided a fresh take on Liberty City, GTA’s version of New York, a location that had already been used twice before. Once in the original GTA and again in the first fully 3D game GTA 3.
After the sprawling sandbox experience that was GTA San Andreas, GTA took a back-to-basics approach with GTA 4. Niko Bellic’s adventure saw a darker Liberty City, ravaged by recession, poverty and crime.
Immigration, morality and family were important themes, as Liberty City itself became a satire of The American Dream. GTA has often dabbled with humour and satire, but GTA 4 was the first game to take such a serious tone.
GTA 5, the most recent game, saw us return to San Andreas in present day, although this time the game’s focus was primarily in Los Santos. Dropping San Fierro (San Francisco) and Las Venturas (Las Vegas) respectively.
This time however, the 90s themes of gang culture, rap, etc had been replaced by an exaggerated and post-modern interpretation of vapid new-age Hollywood. Smartphones, social media and yoga had replaced drive-bys and BMXs, showing that the millennial could be so much worse than the gangbanger!
Setting is everything in Grand Theft Auto, but the question remains; where to next?
Potential Settings For GTA 6
Here’s where we think we could be driving someone else’s car in GTA 6:
There have also been reports of Rockstar representatives scouting areas in Florida for research. Could this be an indicator of their intentions?
It certainly seems likely and lends weight to some of the rumors (see below).
Players have visited Liberty City and Los Santos twice now in 3D and Vice City is due another trip. But the era the original Vice City was set in was a intregal part of its identity.
So what would a modern Vice City look like? And would the location still even work in a more modern game?
GTA Vice City was based on 1980s Miami and was a glamorous Hawaiian shirt wearing crime caper. One that took inspiration from Miami Vice, Scarface, Starskey + Hutch and a range of other 80s media.
It also borrowed from other hot-button topics of the era such as the Miami cocaine trade, immigration from Cuba and the rise of radio. Finally, it added some Cold War era paranoia into the mix for added drama.
None of these things would still be relevant today. Miami has moved on and therefore so would have Vice City. The game would need to be a complete reinvention.
GTA 5 managed this by making modernity part of its theme – then pointing and laughing at the ridiculousness of today’s society.
While we imagine some form of this will cross over into GTA 6 – as things have got even crazier in recent times – the game can’t rely on it a second time.
If GTA 6 is set in Vice City, it will need to do more to differentiate itself from our previous visit, as well as GTA 5. Could the modern crystal meth trade and the greed of big Theme Park owners be possible ideas?
San Fierro and Las Venturas
Like Vice City, players have only visited these locations once. Each is a potential location for GTA 6 and if Rockstar wanted to, they could include both cities.
After all, the GTA universe (despite its soft reboot in GTA 4) has already established both cities are near to one another.
Again though, the game would need a new theme. Something that’s not only synonymous with the era, but the geography.
Other Possible Locations
Is it time for Grand Theft Auto to visit pastures new instead of revisiting old favourites? There’s certainly an argument to support this.
Could Chicago or New Orleans offer rich new opportunities for storytelling and exploration? Today’s political climate could lend itself well to a game set in Washington DC.
We know there are other cities in the GTA universe, and these could make new and exciting settings for the next game.
Carcer city, the setting from Rockstar’s Manhunt games (based on Detroit) also exists in the GTA universe. This could provide a setting where criminals battle vigilantes and take the series down a very dark path.
GTA could even be set abroad. For instance GTA London existed on the PS1, imagine what a modern reimagining of this would look like on next gen consoles.
Rumors About Grand Theft Auto 6 Setting/Story
Here’s a collection of rumors and ‘leaks’ that have been doing the rounds online. Some are more likely to be true than others, but none are confirmed by Rockstar:
- The game is set in Vice City but will also be based in a new location in Central or South America.
- The codename is Project Americas – implying a bigger map than seen before, potentially spanning states or even countries.
- The setting will go back in time to the 1970s or 1980s.
- Tarantino movies and Netflix’s Narcos series have served as inspiration.
- Liberty City will also return.
- Your character will be called Ricardo aiming to be a drug lord. Could it be a young Ricardo Diaz from Vice City?
- Your character will be a drug mule travelling between Vice City and the source of the drugs.
Yet other rumors and leaks contradict this claiming:
- The game is inspired by The Wire, Ozark and Breaking Bad.
- It’s set back in modern Liberty City. (We find this unlikely)
- It will contain more RPG elements of the Sims and Fallout.
- A 3 playable characters system will be used again. One will be a police officer.
- The story will feature early plot twists to rival “Would You Kindly.”
GTA 6 Online
GTA Online has been a moneymaking juggernaut for Rockstar. It’s first incarnation debuted in GTA 4, but it wasn’t until GTA 5 that it really kicked off.
We expect GTA 6 to incorporate more elements of GTA Online than GTA 5. It will have a single player campaign to be sure, but we think there will be more overlap.
Some GTA players may have skipped the campaign and jumped straight into the online world. While others will have ignored GTA Online and just played the campaign.
GTA 5 introduced heists during its campaign to encourage online play. But we think GTA 6 will do so much more, making both feel interwined.
PS5 and Xbox Series X offer a range of possibilities for gameplay features such as VR. There’s a strong possibility that GTA 6 will feature more VR options.
This will make traversing the world and existing within Grand Theft Auto more enthralling. Just imagine being able to interact with the world instead of just ‘playing it’.
4K and 8K Environments
One of the main advantages of next generation hardware is the visual upgrades it will deliver. This new technology will allow Rockstar to craft new 3D environments that are closer to real life than what we’ve seen before.
When Is Grand Theft Auto 6 Expected?
No time soon sadly. There’s still life left in GTA 5 now it’s getting a next gen release. It’s also unlikely that GTA 6 is finished either. We think 2022 is the earliest we’ll see the game – although our money is on 2023 after seeing Take-Two’s financial plans.
The departure of Dan Houser from Rockstar and the COVID-19 pandemic will also have slowed things down.
Click here a full breakdown of games coming to the PS5 and Xbox Series X.