by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 1st July, 2019
Potential Release Date, Setting, Multiple Cities, Huge Interconnected Online World are just some of the rumors regarding GTA 6.
GTA 5 sold more than 100 million copies making it the third best-selling video game of all time, trumped only by Minecraft and Tetris. This is a stellar achievement for Rockstar and if we take into account the massive popularity of GTA Online (and massive monetization system behind the online mod) it can be said that Rockstar and Take-Two made billions upon billions of dollars on GTA 5 alone.
The only common conclusion is that the companies want to continue racking billions, making GTA 6 inevitable. There's no chance in hell that Rockstar isn't currently working on the game and chances are GTA 6 development began the moment GTA V shipped. But when we can expect GTA 6? In which town the action will take place? How large will the map be? We will try to answer those questions today.
Ever since GTA IV Rockstar always announced their games at least one year in advance. And since we got Red Dead Redemption less than a year ago there's a slim chance GTA 6 will be announced this year.
The chances are GTA 6 is developed as a next-gen title for Xbox Scarlett and PlayStation 5 so we wouldn't expect for Rockstar to announce the game before 2020, putting the actual release date into the 2021-22 window. This makes sense for a couple of reasons:
- GTA 6 releasing in 2022 would give Rockstar enough time to create a huge open world that will be larger than we've seen in GTA 5.
- It would put some space between Red Dead Redemption 2 and GTA 6. RDR 2 Online is an ambitious live service product and it's only logical to assume Rockstar wants for it to evolve and thrive for at least a couple of years before they replace with a new GTA Online experience.
- Let's not forget that both Xbox Scarlett and PlayStation 5 will arrive with backward compatibility meaning lots of RDR 2 Online players will carry on with the game on new systems and you can bet people who get new consoles will buy RDR 2 because the game will most certainly receive some next-gen improvement (like 4K 60fps mode, which would be a massive upgrade over last gen).
- Rockstar will get lots of money from RDR 2 next-gen sales and it will probably wait for a year or two for next-gen console sales to reach a critical point before launching GTA 6. Since both consoles are rumored to support backward compatibility the migration from PS4 and Xbox One will probably take less than what we had during the current gen when it took about three years before PS4 and Xbox One reached tens of millions of units sold.
If we take all those variables into consideration our conclusion would be the late 2020 announcement and late 2021/early-mid 2022 release. This coincides with what Gaming analyst Michael Pachter stated in his interview with Gaming Bolt.
Rockstar is known for their three iconic cities found in various GTA games: Liberty City, Los Santos, and Vice City. And in a 2013 interview with Digital Trends Rockstar's Leslie Benzies, when asked about Vice City's return in a future GTA game, said that "it is always a possibility. There are a few references to the city in our current-gen GTAs so it is part of that HD universe, and it is certainly somewhere we would love to revisit. However, Vice City, perhaps more than any other GTA game, was as much about the era as the setting. Miami in the 1980s is so iconic it would feel strange to revisit the city in a different time period."
That sounds like Rockstar doesn't plan on going again to Liberty City but wait. In the same interview, Benzies also stated "Of course at some point we would like to have one big world containing all our cities and let the player fly between them and revisit their favorite areas," explaining that "In that context re-imagining Vice City would be very interesting." So, reimagining, like the company did with Liberty City (the one we saw in GTA 4 is huge compared to GTA 3) and Los Santos between GTA San Andreas and GTA 5.
Just imagine, a huge Vice City divided by waterways and surrounded by a huge swampy area where boats make better sense for transportation than cars. That sounds interesting and would certainly be pretty cool to see Vice City in next-gen robe.
But what about Benzies statement about a huge big world containing all cities? The interview came out in 2012 but that statement is starting to make sense with the rumored power of next-gen consoles.
Both Xbox Scarlett and PS5 will come with powerful SSDs that will make loading obsolete. SSD used is next-gen consoles is much tighter integrated with the rest of the system than what we have in our PCs, allowing it to be some sort of auxiliary RAM storage.
Combination of insane loading times with an SSD capable of taking some load off main RAM modules would also enable seamless asset streaming. In other words, new SSD technology that will be one of the major improvements in next-gen consoles allows developers to create huge open worlds, with insane view distances, and photorealistic models that load seamlessly while you cruise the map thanks to the SSD.
This perfectly coincides with Rockstar's ambition to bring all their cities into one game. And when we see the huge world or RDR 2 working perfectly on current gen consoles a vast, interconnected world made of multiple cities becomes an actual possibility to see in GTA 6.
Further, an interesting Pastebin appeared on Reddit (and was taken immediately by Rockstar) that confirms massive world and multiple cities. The text goes as follows:
- GTA 6 is going to feature multiple big cities which players can travel across.
- In the title which will make you a kind of a drug lord. You will start as a small time guy in Liberty City doing odd chores and small-time thefts and eventually work your way to Vice City where you will join a famous gang. You will be tasked to look after business in liberty city until you are brought back to Vice City and soon become the drug lord.
- Rockstar Games has an idea about when they want to release the game but the corporates want to analyze the sales of PS5 and the Xbox 2. This game can't come [out] for ps4 because of memory restrictions. We have 2 major cities along with a vast stretch of highways and Blaine County like countrysides in the middle of it all. There will also be some kind of timed era between the missions with flashbacks.
- Certain shops will sell different types of items in different eras. RDR2 type stranger dialogues will be implemented.
- There are big plans in online and with major content like newer towns. They are working closely with Microsoft and Sony on cloud gaming which will help them enable online to be a continuous process.
This leak talks about Liberty City and Vice city being connected in one huge map. Cities will have vast countryside area and highways connecting them (and maybe swamplands, who knows) and the reason for not doing this in the past is, according to the leak, memory limitations of current gen consoles.
But with SSDs coming with Xbox Scarlett and PlayStation 5 memory limitations will simply disappear. And this sounds legit even though the source is anonymous. Two cities and huge space between them will be used for single player campaign and later on, once it gets finished, the game will receive the third city (a next-gen version of Los Santos?) to be used just in Online mode.
Which isn't surprising given the fact Rockstar dropped planned single-player expansions in favor of creating new content for GTA 5's Online mode. Also, another rumor also points towards interconnected cities in GTA 6. In a Glassdoor review post, one former Rockstar employee left a mysterious message that reads "GTA6LSVCLC," which points out to the next GTA game taking place in Los Santos, Vice City, and Liberty City. But that's not all.
The latest leak, posted on r/GamingLeaksAndRumours by u/JackOLantern1982 reads about GTA 6 taking place in two cities with the game taking place in the 1970s and 1980s. The leaker stated the following:
- I have two friends who are very reliable and have worked for places such as Kotaku and PC Gamer. They relayed this information to me. I also have a very dear friend who works for Rockstar, he won't confirm the details, but he won't deny them either. Normally, if something is not true, he'll flat out deny, but here he just laughed and said "you know I can't talk about that stuff bro."
The full post reads (Major spoilers for RDR 2 ending included, proceed with caution):
- The next GTA title has been in development since 2012 (1 year before GTA 5 launched). Production didn't actually pick up properly until mid 2015. Even then it was on ice while the teams focused on RDR2.
- It's another Rockstar Worldwide Production, not just one or two studios, but all.
- Codename is PROJECT AMERICAS.
- Set in both Vice City and a new fictional location based on Rio de Janeiro, with some linear missions taking place in Liberty City (not open world), think Ludendorff in GTAV. Also been recently hearing about Cuba but I ain't sure?
- Game will balance realism and arcade. WON'T be as realistic as RDR2.
- One playable protagonist this time. 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 RDR2.
- Weather is a heavy focus. Hurricanes, floods, etc.
- Buildings change over the eras, vehicles too. This causes headaches apparently but they managed to nail a pipeline and get it working. So older, rare classic cars get more expensive as time progresses etc. Full economy. Next level.
- HEAVILY inspired by Netflix's Narcos.
- They want to have an incredible 70s/80s soundtrack, but jury is still out on that one.
- 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. MUCH bigger. Think the GTAOnline system and dial it up to 10. There you have it.
- You can only have weapons on your person. No arsenal in your back pocket. Think RDR2 and Max Payne 3.
- Your personal vehicle (similar to GTA5 but can now change it) will be like your horse saddle in RDR2. All your equipment is stored in the trunk. Similar to LA Noire. You also store your body armour in the car. If you wear it, it appears, no longer just an invisible thing lol.
- There will be tons of subtitle reading. Think Max Payne 3 amounts. Because the characters speak the language they're native to. 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. Mostly English though.
- 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. Though I'll be PISSED if our protagonist dies from AIDS or some shit like Arthur died of TB
- Next Gen only. Not PS4/XB1.
- Game is now their primary focus, alongside another title (which I believe to be Bully 2).
- Game is still in Pre-Alpha so names, locations, details could and probably will change.
- No ETA on a release date.
This leak, if true, makes GTA 6 the most ambitious game ever. Just look at those details. Gradual changes in architecture and car models over time, a real economy that evolves over time, dynamic weather with full-on hurricanes and floods, the story spanning multiple decades, two huge cities, expansive strategic features (like building your drug empire across multiple cities), focus or realism, etc.
And it makes sense that the game is massively influenced by Narcos; that series is like GTA without its massive loads of satire.
This sounds even more expansive than the previous leak and while the two disagree about cities the game takes place in both line up in a few key areas:
- The focus on drug lord campaign story taking place across multiple cities (also mentioned in Rockstar's employee leak) and multiple time eras (70s and 80s, and Leslie Benzies's mentioned in his interview that "[Vice City] in the 1980s is so iconic it would feel strange to revisit the city in a different time period")
- Both rumors state the game will allow you to build your own drug empire
- The game takes place in Vice City (along with one more city at the least)
- Both rumors talk about portion of the game taking place in Liberty City
- Adding new playable areas post-release
- An interconnected map containing both cities
- Different eras will bring different cars (and possibly buildings that change over time)
Instead of three playable characters, we'll get just one but we might get two or even three cities interconnected in a massive open world map, which certainly sounds pretty darn cool. And it looks like the single player campaign will be focused on building a massive drug empire taking place across multiple decades, which sounds amazingly ambitious.
Of course, these are all rumors but they read the same about many critical features. It seems the only debate between the two rumors is whether GTA 6 will take place in Liberty City and Vice City or in South America (Rio De Janeiro) and Vice City. Whatever the case might be this game will be massive in scale and massive in content.
Expect the biggest GTA of all time and the biggest GTA Online experience ever created. Now we only have to wait until 2022 and experience this next-gen wonder first hand.
Also check this GTA article about "How To Earn More GTA Dollars Quickly" here.