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GTA 6 – What’s Possibly Going on With it?

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Rockstar’s infamous IP is due for its sixth installment, and after Red Dead Redemption 2’s PC launch, it’s logical to assume developers are hard at work on GTA 6. There’s been little information announced, however, Rockstar’s AAA titles usually release four or five years apart, meaning a likely entry in 2022 or 2023. Amidst spreading rumors and gossip, one fact holds true— GTA VI is in development.

Juicy Gossip

A report from Kotaku hints that GTA 6 is early in development. Interviewing Rockstar regarding work culture after an investigation into crunch, they reported a plan to avoid employee stress has been laid out for the company’s next title— a new entry to the GTA series. Rockstar plans to launch a moderately sized game while adding expansions over time, thus reducing worker fatigue and crunch. This is confirmation from the horse’s mouth that GTA VI is in development, though that fact was already a given.

Rumours have spread regarding GTA 6 launching as a PS5 timed-exclusive According to an anonymous post last year on PasteBin. Current information along with the date of the post suggest this rumour is false, as there’s little to no chance the game will be ready this year. A launch with some PlayStation exclusive content is possible but it’s unlikely Rockstar would release GTA 6 exclusively for one console, though not unheard of. Rockstar will probably want to capitalize on a multi-platform release for their online market.

Rockstar lead writer Dan Houser officially left the company in March, while his brother Sam remained as president. Having worked as a writer, producer, and voice actor for Rockstar, Dan’s valuable input to the series may be sorely missed. It’s unknown what effect this will have with regard to GTA 6’s final iteration, but hopefully he’s left the project in capable hands. The script was initiated before Houser’s exit, so the story may turn out to be what fans have come to expect from Rockstar’s titles.

GTA 6’s story may actually already be finished according to Chris ‘Liberty93’ (French fan-site Rockstar Mag), who claims it was finalized before Dan Houser’s departure. This doesn’t mean the game is close to release, as he also notes that Red Dead Redemption 2’s story changed multiple times after its “completion” in 2012. “They still made changes in late 2017, early 2018, and many little details were modified,” he explains. He adds this entry will have the classic GTA feeling the series is known for.

Flights of Fancy

11 months ago a Redditor named JackOLantern1982 posted a list of 23 now deleted details about the game reading:

  • The next GTA title has been in development since 2012, but production didn’t begin properly until 2015, but even then the team was focusing more on Red Dead Redemption 2. 
  • It’s another Rockstar Worldwide Production.
  • Codename is PROJECT AMERICAS.
  • Set in both Vice City and a new fictional location based on Rio de Janeiro.
  • Some linear missions take place in Liberty City, but it isn’t an open world (think Ludendorff in GTA 5).
  • Game will balance realism and arcade and it won’t be as realistic as Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • One playable protagonist: male, not female, despite supposed leaks.
  • Set in 1970s-1980s.
  • You play as an up and coming drug lord-wannabe named “Ricardo”. Another key character called “Kacey” is a part of the narrative. You start off as a grunt doing runs as a cocaine smuggler from Vice City to the new large South American area before making connections with big time drug lords and making your way up. Multiple cities.
  • There will also be a giant prison which will play a part in the game.
  • Will feature a ‘chapter’ system similar to a Tarantino flick or Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • Weather is a heavy focus (hurricanes, floods, etc).
  • Buildings change over the eras, vehicles too. So older, rare classic cars get more expensive as time progresses etc. Full economy.
  • Heavily inspired by Netflix’s Narcos.
  • They want to have an incredible 70s/80s soundtrack.
  • A younger Martin Madrazo will make an appearance as will his father who is a big drug lord at the time. You do some missions for the Madrazo family involving hits on other gangs.
  • Drug empire building is a mechanic similar to Vice City Stories but bigger. Think the GTA Online system and dial it up to 10.
  • You can only have weapons on your person. No arsenal in your back pocket, like Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • Your personal vehicle will be like your horse saddle in Red Dead Redemption 2. All your equipment is stored in the trunk. You also store your body armour in the car. If you wear it, it appears, no longer just an invisible thing.
  • There will be tons of subtitle reading. Think Max Payne 3 amounts, very immersive, like watching an episode of Narcos. Whenever you’re in South America, don’t expect to hear much English. Vice City however is a mix of everything, but mostly English.
  • Last bit of narrative info, it will discuss topics such as HIV and the immigration crisis of the time. A fictional version of Fidel Castro etc.
  • Next-gen only, not PS4 or Xbox One [aka PS5 and Xbox Project Scarlett].
  • GTA 6 is now their primary focus, alongside another title (which might be Bully 2).
  • Game is still in Pre-Alpha so names, locations, details could and probably will change.
  • No ETA on a release date.

The list is consistent with previous rumours but implied to be false by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier. Then again, if a Kotaku employee had leaked rumors, a tweet like this is expected to keep backlash at bay.

Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar’s parent company, recently reported a spike in advertising expenses close to $90 million for fiscal 2024 in their 10-K SEC filing. The budget increase, originally scheduled for fiscal 2023, was pushed back to 2024, suggesting delays; possibly from Covid-19. The filing begs one question: what Rockstar game warrants such a large advertising campaign? The answer: GTA. There’s no chance of Red Dead Redemption 3 anytime soon, and a next gen Table Tennis wouldn’t be eating $90 million in marketing costs. It’s not confirmation, but it’s close.

Industry analyst Jeff Cohen believes GTA 6 will release within this time frame, mentioning that prior marketing budgets have similarly predicted big releases from Take-Two. “We would note that this disclosure accurately predicted the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 prior to that game’s announcement,” he says. “Management has spoken very confidently about the pipeline over the next five years and existing live services execution has been excellent. However, the timing of the next Grand Theft Auto remains top-of-mind for investors, particularly with the stock near all-time-highs.”

Based on this information, a holiday 2023 release for GTA 6 is far from conjecture. Though, it’s important to note this is speculation and marketing budget increases could be unrelated to Grand Theft Auto, however unlikely that may be. Until Rockstar makes an announcement, no official word can be given as to the status of any future Grand Theft Auto game, other than assurance that one is in the works.

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