Grand Theft Auto 5 will be coming to Xbox Series X/S and PS5 in November and rumors of a remastered trilogy that includes Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas persist. But the key question remains – what’s going on with Grand Theft Auto 6? Rockstar hasn’t said anything but there have been a fair number of rumors over the years, each having some reason or another to be skeptical. Let’s take a look at some of them here.
GTA Online Updates Will Stop Because GTA 6, Red Dead Redemption 2
One of the stranger rumors that circulated before Red Dead Redemption 2’s release was about how updates for GTA Online would be slowing down. Yan 2295, who also leaked a remaster for LA Noire being in the works, reported in January 2017 that updates for the online mode would stop by the time that RDR2 released. Not because of Red Dead Online potentially replacing it but because, “Some people are helping San Diego with RDR2, some people started working on the next GTA, and some people are working on another game,” as per the leaker. “So you’re left with only a few people to work on GTA Online. You can’t have updates as big as we had in the past when you have 4x less devs working on GTA Online, that’s just impossible.” Which is funny because numerous big updates continue to be released for Grand Theft Auto Online, the latest being Los Santos Tuners which attracted more players than any previous update, and it remains a key focus for the company.
“Early Production” Status in April 2020
Given the source for this rumor, namely journalist Jason Schreier during his stint at Kotaku, there is a fair bit that sounds legitimate. Essentially, Schreier reported in April 2020 that Rockstar’s internal culture had changed after the controversy surrounding crunch on Red Dead Redemption 2. Instead of a massively overwhelming game like RDR 2 or even Grand Theft Auto 5, Grand Theft Auto 6 was apparently going to be a “moderately-sized” title. While it would still be pretty big by the developer’s standards, the plan was to add numerous post-launch updates to expand it further. It’s all very plausible…except for the part about the game being in early production by that point. Even with the focus on GTA Online since GTA 5’s initial release in September 2012 and RDR 2 being in development for several years, it’s somewhat hard to believe that production on GTA 6 would be at an early stage. Exactly how early is unknown but it segues into another rumor…
Releasing in 2025
Another well-known source, insider Tom Henderson, released a video in June 2021 about how GTA 6 would be set in modern day Vice City. He further corroborated reports of multiple protagonists, including one being a woman, and also added that the map would change over time like Fortnite. The latter also sounds plausible given the rumored plan about significant post-launch updates (though it’s doubtful whether it will have the same frequency or audacity of changes as Fortnite has undergone). However, Henderson believes that we won’t see the title released until 2025, which is somewhat hard to believe. Perhaps by 2024 at the latest, especially if Rockstar doesn’t want to wait too long into the console generation for the same. Recent events may have also impacted development significantly so it’s hard to say, but 2025 just feels too far off. Plans and estimates could change but for this, along with Schreier’s report, have a good amount of legitimacy at this point.
Releasing in 2022 and Features South Florida, South America
Though it didn’t have the best track record for rumors, The Know revealed in March 2018 – way before reports from Schreier and Henderson – that GTA 6 would take place in Vice City and also have the series’ first playable female protagonist. However, it noted that the title would release in 2022, which isn’t looking likely at this point (perhaps that was the original plan but, as often happens in game development, plans change). Another questionable part was that South Florida and South America would feature as locations, though how was not revealed. The Know itself classified the whole thing as a rumor instead of an abject fact but it is interesting how some parts have held up over time.
SEC Filing Hinting at Release Window
Back in May 2020, an SEC filing by Take-Two Interactive was discovered where the company expected to spend $89 million in marketing for the 12 months ending March 31st 2024. Initially, this was meant to be in fiscal year 2023 but had changed. Stephens analyst Jeff Cohen said, as per VentureBeat, that such a disclosure also helped to predict Red Dead Redemption 2’s launch prior to its announcement. “[Take-Two 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.”
A Take-Two representative would later tell GamesIndustry.biz that the marketing budget actually corresponded to the company’s third party partners instead of Rockstar (which is an internal studio), which meant it supposedly had nothing to do with Grand Theft Auto 6. Of course, what could be lined up in terms of third party deals that’s worth so much in terms of marketing budget is still yet to be revealed so there’s still some skepticism.
Coordinates for the “VI” Road
Just how far could one go to believe that something, anything is a tease for GTA 6? In November 2020, Rockstar tweeted a short clip ahead of the next big update and location for GTA Online. Coordinates were spotted in the clip so naturally, fans located exactly what they pointed to. The answer? A road – yes, a road – that looks vaguely like the Roman numeral for 6. Of course, it could also be a reverse Z or N, or just a road, but teasing the possible announcement of GTA 6? It feels like a stretch but stranger things have happened.
No Female Protagonist, “Surprisingly Good” Load Times
Leaks are fairly common on 4chan, though the validity of them is always up for debate. One such leaker held an AMA on Reddit for GTA 6 – which was taken down – and claimed details like the map covering Miami/Florida (along with the presence of a smaller map akin to Guarma in RDR 2) and Rockstar targeting an October 2023 release window. There are a fair amount of discrepancies though. One male protagonist was noted and though it doesn’t explicitly say that this is the only playable character, it does seem odd to have no mention of multiple protagonists (despite other reports stating such). No female protagonist, which was again noted in numerous reports; load times being “surprisingly good”, even though the game is still supposedly a ways off; and Red Dead Redemption 1 being remastered, despite recent reports claiming that it depends on the success of the rumored GTA Remastered Trilogy also cast doubt on the whole deal.
Best GTA Story Evar, Limited Missions in Liberty City
To be fair, the 4chan leaker did hint at a remaster coming up for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (just the one game though with no mention of a remastered trilogy). But some other details – like this being the best story ever in a GTA title which would last 60 hours – still felt off. Perhaps the strangest bit is that Liberty City will be featured and also have some limited missions. This just feels more like wishful thinking (because who doesn’t want to go back to Liberty City?) on the part of the leaker than something that’s actually happening. Grain of salt and all that jazz but it doesn’t seem super likely, especially if Grand Theft Auto 6 is also supposed to have two chapters set in the 1970s on top of being set in Miami, traveling to a small island and so on.
Rockstar’s Changing Office Banner
As ridiculous as it sounds, Rockstar North has had a history of removing its current banner when a new game is in development. It did this for Grand Theft Auto 5 and would subsequently go on to announce Red Dead Redemption 2. In August 2019, it did the same for RDR2 and was thus expected to announce, well, GTA 6 as its next major project (or Bully 2 because why not). Two years later aaannnddd that hasn’t happened. This isn’t to say it couldn’t ever happen but the odds of a GTA Remastered Trilogy banner being displayed – even though Rockstar North isn’t the lead developer on the title – seem more possible at this point.