There used to be a time when Rockstar would publish a new Grand Theft Auto game nearly every year. That’s a far cry from the current release schedule, which consists of multiple Grand Theft Auto V rereleases, but that hasn’t stopped us from thinking about the next installment, which was just officially unveiled.
Grand Theft Auto 6 is officially on its way. After years of leaks and rumors (and completely fabricated leaks and rumors), Rockstar has officially acknowledged the game’s development and stated that an announcement trailer will be released before the end of the year.
With that in mind, what do we know about GTA 6? When can we expect to play it? How will it compare to previous entries? Which platforms will it come to? Here, we’ll break down everything we know about Grand Theft Auto 6.
In mid-September 2022, the biggest leak in Rockstar Games history showed off early footage of GTA 6. A user by the name of teapotuberhacker shared around 90 video clips on a GTA message board, which included in-development footage of gameplay.
While the gameplay footage was unfinished, it’s likely an accurate representation of the final product, at least in some capacity. The footage showed off an armed robbery, along with various animations and even sections that contained voice acting. Even though this footage was not intended to be seen by the public, some fans expressed disappointment with the way the game looks. This sparked discourse about leaks in general, leading to many developers sharing early footage of critically acclaimed games.
Following the leaks, Rockstar Games confirmed their authenticity but stated the hack shouldn’t have an impact on development. “We are extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you in this way,” Rockstar Games said.
“Our work on the next Grand Theft Auto game will continue as planned, and we remain as committed as ever to delivering an experience to you, our players, that truly exceeds your expectations.”
The alleged hacker is currently being investigated by the FBI.
Afterward, an ad for Goat Simulator 3 utilized some of the leaked footage, in an attempt at making a cheeky joke. Take-Two promptly issued a DMCA notice to have the ad removed.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many GTA 6 “leaks” are fake or downright wrong. It’s important to take note of the leak’s source before trusting any information. As reported by Dexerto, it’s easy to create a fake leak to generate traffic.
Grand Theft Auto 6‘s release date hasn’t been officially announced by Rockstar yet, so it’s unclear when it will launch. However, numerous leakers and reporters have claimed it will launch sometime in 2024 or even later.
This was seemingly corroborated by Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two. In May 2023, the company shared financial projections for fiscal year 2025 (which runs from April 2024 to March 31, 2025), in which Take-Two expects to earn over $8 billion in net bookings. For context, the company’s highest net bookings of $5.3 billion were earned this past year. With that in mind, you can infer that the company would have to release something monumental to generate that much revenue — something like GTA 6. If true, this means the game could launch between 2024 and 2025.
Leaker Tom Henderson, who has a good track record and covers Call of Duty, Battlefield, and GTA, seems confident the game won’t launch for at least a couple of more years.
“We’re pleased to confirm that active development for the next entry in the series is underway,” Rockstar said in February 2022. We can’t say for certain how long it’s been in the works, but it’s likely development didn’t just start.
A Bloomberg report from July 27, 2022, indicated that multiple Rockstar employees estimate the game won’t ship until 2024 at the earliest, despite being in the works for so long. Duw to a greater emphasis on healthier workplace practices with less required overtime, the game’s development has been prolonged.
One thing to note is that a report from Rockstar Mag’ (as relayed by DSO Gaming) states that GTA 6 is “in development hell.” Following the departure of Dan Houser — who co-founded Rockstar — GTA 6‘s development went sideways, the report said. Rockstar Mag’ explains that GTA 6 is the “most chaotic project Rockstar has ever developed.” This could severely impact the game’s production schedule, pushing it out past the 2024 to 2025 release window.
Release dates are a hard thing to predict. Some games are announced and released in a short time period, while others get teaser trailers and are never talked about again (yes, we’re talking about you, Elder Scrolls 6).
Unfortunately, there isn’t a GTA 6 trailer just yet, but it looks like we’ll see one in 2023.
The first trailer for Grand Theft Auto V was published on November 2, 2011, which could give us an indication of the marketing timeline for the next game. GTA V didn’t launch until two years later in 2013. The first trailer for GTA IV was published in March 2007, a year ahead of the game’s release date.
Given the supposed release window, it’s likely GTA 6 will launch for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC (though PC launches are typically after the console release). Each console generation since the original PlayStation has received at least one GTA game, and we don’t anticipate that trend to stop any time soon.
While we don’t know much about this game, it’ll be an ambitious project, meaning Rockstar will probably skip the previous generation since the PS4 and Xbox One likely wouldn’t be able to handle it (at least not without some serious compromises). Likewise, it probably won’t come to Nintendo Switch, though it could launch for whatever Nintendo’s next platform is (but we wouldn’t count on it). A cloud version for Nintendo Switch is also possible, just like Hitman 3, Control, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
The heart of GTA has always been its open-world exploration, fast cars, and action-packed gameplay. The series evolved in 2001 with the release of GTA III, marking the first installment to be presented in 3D (instead of the 2D, top-down perspective). Then, GTA Online expanded on the formula again, focusing on multiplayer connectivity while retaining all the things that make GTA so much fun.
It’s unclear if GTA 6 will revolutionize the formula once again, but considering just how long it’s been in the works, expectations are immense. One possibility is that GTA 6 will take place in a familiar setting — possibly a modern version of Vice City. Henderson seems to believe so, anyway. In addition, the map itself might evolve over time, according to Schreier, as we’ve seen in GTA Online.
Others think GTA 6 will be comprised of the entire U.S., which is a lofty claim but one that makes sense.
“With every new project, our goal is always to significantly move beyond what we’ve previously delivered,” Rockstar said in 2022.
The July 2022 Bloomberg report also notes that GTA 6 will feature the series’ first female protagonist, a Latina working alongside another character. Apparently, this duo will be similar to bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde. Likewise, the company is reportedly aiming to be more sensitive toward marginalized groups. Historically, no group was safe from being poked fun of in the GTA games, but it seems like GTA 6 will be much more thoughtful in how it handles its satire.
In 2013, Rockstar’s then-president Leslie Benzies told Develop magazine about the future of the series. “We don’t know what GTA 6 will be, but we’ve got some ideas,” Benzies said. “We’ve got about 45 years’ worth of ideas we want to do. We’ll pick the right ones. It comes from the idea first. Where it is going to be set is the first question. That then defines the missions; you’re doing different things in LA than in New York or Miami. The map and story get worked up together, and the story is a basic flow of how it works out so you can layer the mission in.”
Ultimately, this isn’t much information to go on, and considering the statement was made so long ago, a lot has probably changed at this point. But the team was already thinking about GTA 6 in 2013, which means it has had years to iterate upon ideas.
In 2022, it was reported that the game will take place across numerous cities and countries including Cuba, Colombia, and Vice City, along with Carcer City (which you may remember from Rockstar’s Manhunt series).
In addition, customization, player choice, and explosive gameplay will likely be at the forefront once again. We’d be thrilled if GTA 6 would feature sandbox-style missions, giving players numerous ways to tackle objectives similar to Hitman 3. This would be tricky to pull off, especially in an open-world game, but if any studio could do it, it’s Rockstar. Now that the technology has improved so drastically, Rockstar will have much more freedom to add ideas that make sense. We’d also love to see returning characters from past GTA games like Claude from GTA III, Tommy Vercetti from Vice City, and Carl Johnson from San Andreas.
Finally, it’s a safe bet GTA 6 will be playable in first-person as well as third-person. This mechanic has been in GTA V and Red Dead Redemption 2, and considering how popular the feature is, it’s likely to return in the next Grand Theft Auto game.
Based on the leaked footage from September 2022, armed robberies will likely make an appearance in the game, though, since the footage was unfinished, it’s unclear how this will appear in the final product.
Arguably the most prominent change that came with GTA V was the implementation of GTA Online. This mode became the backbone of the game, roping in millions of players (and dollars) for a shared experience. The base game is excellent, but GTA Online is what has kept GTA V relevant nearly a decade after launch.
The point is that we’ll almost certainly get some sort of multiplayer functionality with GTA 6. Whether that means the entire game is online-only or if there’s a dedicated multiplayer mode like the previous installment remains to be seen — but we can almost guarantee it will have an online mode.
Considering just how successful GTA Online became, it’s unlikely Rockstar will drop multiplayer functionality from the next installment.
Oddly enough, GTA 6’s version of GTA Online apparently won’t include dedicated servers. This comes by way of insider Tez, who said “Take-Two rejected a proposal for dedicated servers a few years ago. They considered it cost-prohibitive for them.”
Grand Theft Auto IV is known for its two DLC expansions, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. These single-player add-ons fleshed out the story and gave players a reason to return. Many had assumed GTA V would get the same treatment, but all of the game’s post-launch support was poured into GTA Online instead. Since then, the online mode has continued to receive major expansions such as The Diamond Casino Heist and The Cayo Perico Heist, along with a slew of others.
The point is that GTA 6 will probably receive DLC after launch, but it’s unclear if it will be tailored around multiplayer, single-player, or both. We’ll likely have a better idea of its post-launch DLC rollout after the game is officially unveiled.
It’s worth noting that GTA insider Tez is confident GTA 6 will get story DLC akin to the expansions from GTA IV.
As expected, GTA 6 preorders aren’t available yet. Judging by the rollout of GTA V, you may be able to preorder the next game around 10 months before its launch date. Players were able to preorder GTA V in November 2012.
Now, it’s far more common for games to be announced and released within a short period, so it’s possible Rockstar will use this method when marketing GTA 6. Either way, don’t expect to be able to preorder for quite some time.
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