Numerous GTA fan sites are reporting that development on GTA 6 is already underway. This information has allegedly been confirmed by the President of Rockstar North, Leslie Benzies. The GTA franchise remains the most profitable and important video game series in the world, and the latest instalment of GTA will be a massive event for the industry later this decade.
The development process for a title as rich and complex as GTA 6 is becoming increasingly involved, so we can reasonably expect this process to take several years. It was reported that the development cost for GTA 5 was in the region of $265 million, thus we can expect GTA 6 to be the world’s first $300 million video game.
Of course, considering that GTA 5 generated revenue of over $1 billion in the first three days after its release, and went on to sell 54 million copies by August of this year, one can be fairly confident that developer Rockstar will make its money back!
Naturally, Rockstar is under no pressure to release any explicit details about this title, and thus concrete information on GTA 6 is rather thin on the ground. What we do know about this phenomenally successful video game series is that Rockstar typically defines the cityscape in which the game will take place before considering any other aspect of the development process. It is already predicted that the GTA 6 map will be significantly bigger than any which has appeared in previous titles.
Missions and characters will follow this initial setting, which does raise the question marks about early reports on the game. But more on that later.
United States setting
Possible destinations for GTA 6 that have been floated include Los Angeles, New York and Florida. There have also be calls from fans for a version of GTA set in an updated Vice City. In some quarters, it has been suggested that Rockstar could take the radical step of setting a GTA game outside of the United States; Tokyo was thought to be a particular possibility. But Rockstar supremo Dan Houser was dubious about this idea in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, essentially suggesting that GTA will remain a US-based series. One does wonder how plausible it would be to walk into a gun shop in Japan and purchase weaponry…
Considering the expected development schedule of GTA 6, it is unrealistic to expect the game to emerge before 2018. This would be the earliest possible date for the title, and would actually fit in pretty neatly with rumors regarding the PlayStation 5. With the next generation Sony console increasingly tipped for a release date towards the end of 2018, this would fit in with the release schedule of GTA 6.
The previous GTA title emerged shortly before the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One reached the public domain, with Rockstar supremely confident that the emergence of the new console would have minimal impact on the success of the game. This viewpoint was completely correct, so this will give Rockstar the confidence to repeat this process when GTA 6 is developed. GTA 6 could well launch on the PS4 and Xbox One, while Rockstar works on converting them to the forthcoming PS5 and Xbox Two.
However, delays are also possible for this title, not merely because of its sheer scope, but also because Rockstar is expected to release a sequel to Red Dead Redemption before it commences physical work on GTA 6. So 2018 could be considered an optimistic release date for this blockbuster video game, and it may even lapse into 2019 depending on the efficiency of development.
Another significant aspect for Rockstar to deal with will be deciding on how to present the game to consumers, and how its business model will operate. There have been a few extreme reports that suggest that GTA 6 may exclude single-player gameplay completely, and instead rely on a multiplayer model, essentially making GTA 6 a subscription-based game. This is an increasingly popular way for video game manufacturers to release their titles, but it seems unlikely for Rockstar considering the emphasis that the corporation has always placed on narrative.
What is certain is that GTA 6 will provide a massive multiplayer universe, and that Rockstar will view this world as a significant source of revenue. It remains to be seen what impact the technology of the next generation consoles will have on GTA 6, but in the event of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two completely eliminating discs – which seems pretty unlikely at this juncture – then a subscription model would be more likely.
But Rockstar has always wanted to tell stories with its games, and considering the popularity of titles such as The Last of Us, it seems extremely unlikely that the company would move away from including a single-player mode in GTA 6.
There have been at some other wild rumors circulating about this video game behemoth. The first of these is that GTA 6 could include some form of teleportation, which would reduce the amount of time that players required to travel from one location to another. This would be an interesting innovation, and one that could possibly upset purists, considering the importance of driving in the GTA universe. Naturally vehicles wouldn’t be taken out of the game completely; teleportation would simply be an accessible option.
It is also suggested that the gameplay of GTA 6 could include natural disasters. Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and typhoons are all possible, as Rockstar attempts to further develop the GTA universe. Rockstar has already indicated in interviews that it has about 45 years worth of ideas that it could incorporate within the next GTA title, so it is certainly likely that we will see some extremely diverse material in GTA 6.
Finally, some big names are already being linked with voice roles in this era-defining title. Both Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes have been linked with acting roles in GTA 6, as Rockstar looks to spice up this title. This certainly looks to be a red herring at this point in time, as Rockstar will be a long way away from even deciding the characters included in the game. It seems unlikely that the company would agree such a deal with prominent actors years ahead of its completion, particularly as the aforementioned Houser had previously indicated that Rockstar was ambivalent towards the idea of working with huge stars. Perhaps the rather mixed relationship that Rockstar experienced with Goodfellas star Ray Liotta could have contributed to this.
Regardless of this, it looks as if GTA 6 is under development, and no doubt many more rumors and leaks will emerge in the coming months and years.