UPDATE 10-06-2017: Of all video games, GTA 6 is arguably the biggest in the entire history of the medium, despite the fact that it doesn’t exist yet! It is safe to say that the phenomenally successful GTA series will undoubtedly become an almost incalculably monstrous title when the next game hits the PlayStation 5 and next-generation Xbox consoles. But there is still considerable debate over precisely when this will occur.
There is no doubt that Rockstar is still absolutely engaged with the business of producing Red Dead Redemption 2, and this will be an extremely critical title in its own right. The Wild West shooter follows on from the successful game on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and much is expected from what looks to be a rather dynamic title.
Although a firm release date has now been set for Red Dead Redemption 2, it is well known that the Rockstar studio has yet to enter into a GTA 6 development mode. This is understandable considering the level of work required to produce Red Dead 2, and there will not to be a significant focus on GTA 6 until this game is thoroughly wrapped up.
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Those awaiting the release of GTA 6 should also be aware that the existing in GTA Online game is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, this aspect of the GTA 5 universe has kept the existing game alive for much longer than previous titles. However, conversely, its overwhelming success and significant profitability means that Rockstar is considerably less motivated to produce the next GTA 6 title.
No company wishes to kill a golden egg laying goose, and this means that any sequel to GTA 5 will be timed diligently by the huge publishing house. While GTA Online will undoubtedly have a shelf life, this doesn’t seem to have been reached yet, and this suggests that the release of GTA 6 will be later rather than sooner.
Considering the massive development costs and processes involved in producing a title as huge as GTA 6, we should also expect the release date of the game to be pushed backwards. Indeed, Rockstar has previously delayed the release of GTA titles owing to its diligent perfectionism in seeking the ideal game. As GTA 6 has been linked with some incredible technology and content, it seems certain that the development cycle for this title will be more intense than any game ever produced previously, not merely by Rockstar but any software house whatsoever.
Nonetheless, the phenomenal success of GTA 5 means that a GTA 6 release is completely guaranteed, even if the game may be delayed further than fans would wish. With total revenue of $3 billion generated from PC and console gamers for the last generation GTA title, GTA 6 may smash through this figure and break all existing records. Analysts already believe that GTA 6 could generate as much as $6 billion worth of revenue when it is released, and Rockstar will obviously wish to ensure that such a massive game impresses critics and fans alike when it emerges.
Over the years, the trailers for GTA games have been particularly impressive and notable, and this is absolutely bound to be the case once more with the GTA 6 generation. These will tease the game well ahead of its release date, meaning that we could possibly see a trailer as early as 2019. This will certainly whet the appetite ahead of the final game, and will answer many of the questions that people inevitably have about location, content and other game details.
Leaked images have already provided an insight into the map that could be included in GTA 6, and this is expected to be a vast and unrivalled playing area. It is already been suggested that it may be possible to visit every previous location from GTA games in the GTA 6 title, and this this is certainly a mouth-watering proposition.
Elsewhere, aside from the suggestion that all GTA characters could appear in this next-generation title, is the almost unbelievable suggestion that every single previous character could be playable. This poses all sorts of logistical problems, and would make writing a story for the game almost inconceivable.
However, it is possible that these characters could be playable in an online format, which would simplify the task of embracing all previous GTA protagonists. Nonetheless, although Rockstar likes to include little snippets from previous GTA titles in each one of its games, it is unlikely that it would go to this extreme in GTA 6.
Another particularly unlikely suggestion that has emerged recently is the idea that the game could be set in the Wild West. Presumably someone has got drunk while viewing a Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer, and become somewhat confused, as this idea makes absolutely no sense whatsoever after Rockstar has invested several years into developing the Western shooter.
However, possibly a more viable idea is that the game could be set in the 1970s. This is an era that has yet to be explored by the GTA universe, and would follow on naturally from the GTA: Vice City title, which is so redolent of the 1970s. With Vice City being set only a short period into the future, this suggests that there could be some intertextuality between the two titles. Many gamers have wanted an updated, next-generation version of Vice City to emerge, and a 1970s setting would encourage Rockstar to deliver this.
There is still lots of room for speculation regarding GTA 6, but some solid evidence of what to expect could be on the horizon.
UPDATE 07-27-2017: The latest news on GTA 6 has caused some controversy, with there being considerable debate over whether or not the game is already in production. With Rockstar currently working on Red Dead Redemption 2, the developer certainly has a lot on his plate. But new evidence suggests that the software house could be working on GTA 6 as well.
This latest rumor emanated from the popular Neogaf, with forum dwellers from the site apparently identifying an important document. A CV seemingly belonging to LA-based actor Tim Neff indicated that he may already be working on the hugely anticipated GTA 6.
But Neff has already denied this rumor via his Twitter account, asserting that the CV does not belong to him in the first place, and further reiterating that he is not currently working on the forthcoming game.
Of course, this could be a red herring from the actor, as it is common for voice talent to be contractually obliged to deny working on key video game titles. This has recently been the case with the upcoming sequel to The Last of Us.
TechRadar previously reported earlier this year that Rockstar is already working on GTA 6, but there has been no official confirmation of this suggestion as of yet.
Meanwhile, Take-Two CEO Straus Zelnick has been speaking on the way that GTA 6 may turn out. The publisher is one of the very biggest wigs in the video games industry, not to mention critical to the GTA series, and thus his opinions on GTA 6 must be taken seriously. It is notable that Zelnick previously stated that the GTA series is ‘under-monetizing’ its players, so not all of his views will necessarily be popular.
Zelnick suggested that the activities of Rockstar have been fundamentally transformed by the success of GTA Online. This new aspect of the GTA universe has unquestionably gained massive traction, and it therefore seems likely that there will be even more emphasis on this element of the game in the GTA 6 release.
Thus, Zelnick’s comments have been interpreted as evidence that Rockstar will ensure that GTA 6 is a full-blown multiplayer title. It is extremely unlikely that this would be at the expense of the single-player game, as Rockstar has always placed an emphasis on plot lines and character development in its titles.
But it could mean a highly expanded multiplayer game will be part of the GTA 6 release out of the box. It is easy to forget that GTA Online was an ad-on, which was unveiled months after the original title had been released.
GTA 6 debut
There is also currently some debate on whether GTA 6 will appear on next generation machines, or instead debut on the existing console niche. Certainly the approach to GTA 5 would suggest that a current gen release is more likely, providing Rockstar with some leeway to upgrade the game to forthcoming machines.
The latest rumors are that GTA 6 is already under development, although this must be pretty tentative at this stage. Rockstar is surely devoting most of its resources to finishing Red Dead Redemption 2, with this game due for release in Spring 2018.
Another intriguing suggestions for GTA 6 is that the game could be compatible with virtual reality systems for the first time. This would pose technical challenges, but it is possible that the PS4 Pro could deal with this eventuality. It is also possible that Rockstar could produce a separate version of GTA 6 intended for virtual reality use, or simply produce a few sections of the game that are compatible with the VR headset.
The release of the next generation consoles will also thicken the broth for Rockstar, providing it with more power in order to deliver virtual reality. It is already anticipated that the PlayStation 5 will place a significant focus on VR, as Sony attempts to develop this technology.
It has also been suggested that Rockstar will include a female protagonist in the GTA 6 universe; a first for the gaming series. The developer has always resisted this in the past, despite accusations of sexism being occasionally levelled at it, as it has stated that the game simply doesn’t suit a female central character. But there have been many rumors about such a protagonist of being included in GTA 6, with Eva Mendes supposedly having been enlisted to provide her voice.
Another rumor has suggested that Rockstar will look to release the game on PC at the same time as its console rivals. PC gaming is undoubtedly becoming more popular, and Rockstar reportedly intends to acknowledge this by ensuring that PC gamers do not have two wait to get their hands on the GTA 6 title.
This would contrast with the approach to GTA 5, in which there was a wait of over 18 months for PC owners to purchase the game, after it initially dropped on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Even the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game took 14 months to produce.
Another, perhaps unlikely, rumor related to GTA 6 is that the game will be an online only title. This seems an extremely far-fetched suggestion, though, considering that the single-player element of the GTA series has always been so popular. Rockstar has also displayed an admired penchant for storytelling in its games, with this process set to continue with the forthcoming Red Dead Redemption title. It therefore seems unlikely that they would abandon the single-player GTA, but a further investment in online gaming does seem almost inevitable.
Rockstar must also consider the PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One S and Xbox Scorpio consoles when producing this game. The console marketplace has become far more complex and diverse since GTA 3, the revolutionary 3D title, was released back in 2001. Development of this game will undoubtedly be hugely complicated, and thus the delay in introducing GTA 6 becomes understandable.
What can be said with some certainty is that Rockstar is likely to produce enhanced versions of this game, even if it initially launches on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One alone. It is becoming common for developers to produce enhanced versions of their games for both the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One S, and the arrival of Project Scorpio later this year will only expand this process.
Considering the extra power available to developers ahead of the release of GTA 6, there are already some incredible rumors regarding this game. Probably the most notable suggestion is that GTA 6 will ultimately feature a map of the entire United States. Although massive games are becoming more feasible in the current video games generation, this suggestion is surely likely to be wide of the mark. But we should see a truly mammoth game area involved in GTA 6 when the title launches.