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We need to see these 3 things in Grand Theft Auto 6’s first trailer

It’s almost time. After over a decade of waiting, we’ll finally get our first look at the next Grand Theft Auto game sometime this December. When it arrives, the Grand Theft Auto 6 reveal will be one of the biggest video game industry announcements of the year, regardless of what Rockstar Games shows. Despite that, there are specific things that the GTA 6 reveal trailer needs to tell us to live up to its hype.

Although Rockstar has said little about the project before now, GTA 6 might be one of the most anticipated games ever, and it’s following up one of the most successful individual video games of all time. Speculation on where this game will be set, what it will be about, and what innovations it will bring to the medium have been rampant for years. I know this because I’ve played a part in this hype cycle myself — and this very article is adding to it right now.

Because the expectations, hype, and rumor cycles around the game are so intense, the first trailer for GTA 6 needs to be substantial. In particular, a focus on three specific elements is what I’ll be on the lookout for whenever the long-awaited reveal trailer drops.

The setting

Tommy from Vice City on bike.
Rockstar Games

Since almost right after GTA V released, it’s felt inevitable that the next game in the series would return to Vice City. The leaks from last year indicate that this is the case, but having official confirmation of the primary setting is something that the reveal trailer needs to establish. Better yet, it should not just confirm the city it takes place in, but also give us a deeper look at the modern take on Vice City and its neon-lit, sleazy vibes.

There have also been some less trustworthy rumors that GTA 6 will take place in more areas than just Vice City, so if that’s true, it would be nice to get confirmation about that as well. The trailer will need to establish the tone and vibe Rockstar Games’ next title is going for, and introducing the game’s city and highlighting how the people within it live and interact with one another is one way it can do that.

The protagonists

Another major rumor about GTA 6, which was emboldened by 2022’s leaks, is that the game will feature multiple protagonists again. Instead of three men, it seems like the game will follow a Bonnie and Clyde-like man and woman on their criminal venture. While I doubt this reveal will give too much away about the story, I hope to have an understanding of who at least one of these characters are.

Whether that’s done through narration, by showing cutscenes from the game, or with a unique cinematic made just for this reveal, GTA 6’s first trailer needs to have some substantial narrative weight that can help fans discern which leaks were accurate, set expectations more clearly, and even give something more concrete to discuss and theorize about ahead of the game’s release.

In-engine gameplay

Trevor firing an assault rifle in GTA 5.

My final hope for GTA 6’s first trailer is that it features in-engine game footage. All too often in the game industry, reveal trailers are little more than logo reveals with narration or stylish cinematic clips that don’t actually tell viewers much about the game they’re supposed to promote. We’ve waited so long for GTA 6 that it’ll be utterly disappointing if its reveal trailer is just that. Plus, I think it’s about time we all got to see some part of the game in action after such a long wait.

Right now, most people’s only frame of reference for the game is leaked gameplay from an in-development build, so the reveal should help establish more accurate expectations as to what GTA 6 will look and play like whenever it finally comes out. Of course, there will likely be plenty of trailers between this upcoming reveal and the game’s release that can also do this, but I ultimately want a true taste of what GTA 6 is from its reveal trailer because of how long we’ve officially known almost nothing about it outside of content obtained from an illegal hack of Rockstar.

Rockstar has done it before

This all might seem like a lot to demand from the first trailer for the game, especially when a title like GTA 6 will surely have a massive marketing campaign ahead of its release. Rockstar Games has done it before, though. I rewatched GTA 5’s first trailer following Rockstar’s announcement last week, and it’s still one of the best game reveal trailers I’ve ever seen. Most of the core elements that made GTA 5’s single-player mode the fantastic adventure it is are in that teaser.

Grand Theft Auto V Trailer

It’s narrated by Michael, with Ned Luke showing an early glimpse of his standout performance while establishing some core themes of the game’s story. As cliché as it might sound, the true star of the trailer is Los Santos, as most of the trailer is spent showing different parts of the city and the people who live within it. After watching GTA V’s first trailer, it’s easy to understand GTA V’s tone, seedy faux-Los Angeles setting, and the troubled individuals taking center stage in it all.

What’s featured in the trailer also looks close to what players got in the full release, so it didn’t align with the smoke-and-mirrors style of reveals that could be quite common in that era. If GTA 5, one of the best games of all time, could do that in its reveal trailer, then GTA 6 should as well. And if nothing else, a trailer hitting my three major points would be gratifying after years of tiring speculation and leaks of varying degrees of believability.

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Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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